The US Ski Team said Ronnie Berlack, 20, and Bryce Astle, 19, died in the incident near the Rettenbach glacier in the mountains above the Soelden venue for the annual season-opening World Cup races.
Berlack, from Franconia, New Hampshire, and Astle, from Sandy, Utah, were part of a group of six skiers who were skiing from the 3,056-meter Gaislachkogel when they left the piste and apparently set off the avalanche. The other four skied out of the slide and escaped unhurt.
Reports say the recovery of the young men took 45 minutes.
Officials in the Tyrolean region said an avalanche alert had been declared for the area after days of heavy snowfall and mild temperatures.
“Ronnie and Bryce were both outstanding ski racers who were passionate about their sport — both on the race course and skiing the mountain,” U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association president and CEO Tiger Shaw said. “Our hearts go out to the Berlack and Astle families, as well as to their extended sport family. Both of them loved what they did and conveyed that to those around them.”
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