Sölden Ski Resort in Austria has posted new avalanche warning signs written in English featuring pictures of Bryce Astle and Ronnie Berlack, two U.S. ski team development members who were killed in an avalanche near the area on Jan. 5, 2015.
Recently a detailed accident report was recently released by the Bryce and Ronnie Athlete Snow Safety Foundation, or BRASS, about what transpired that day. The report was produced by avalanche safety expert Bruce Tremper, the retired director of the Utah Avalanche Center.
Jackson Hole News & Guide reports on the morning of January 5th 2015 a group of six athletes, five from the U.S. team and another from Britain had a day off from training due to heavy snowfall. The group entered an ungroomed and uncontrolled slope with a pathway to another groomed trail below. It was determined the fatal avalanche was most likely triggered by the whole group.
Importantly the report states that the skiers didn’t know they were going through an uncontrolled area of the resort. The avalanche warning was at a level three, out of five, that indicated the danger was “considerable.” They also weren’t carrying avalanche gear such as beacons or shovels. Astle and Berlack were found about 40 or 50 minutes after the slide buried under more than 10 feet of snow and they were pronounced dead on the scene.
“If this accident was just bad luck, if it was just some really random act of God, that would be one thing. We could probably move on and just reflect on how unfortunate it was. That’s not what happened. We want people to see the pictures of these boys, know that their dreams died right there in Soelden. But the dream lives on for others, and that’s why we move forward.” -Ronnie’s father Steve Berlack
To learn more about the BRASS Foundation and their mission to create educational programs, and best safety practices for snow sports athletes to further their physical and psychological well-being PLEASE GO HERE. images from BRASS Foundation and jhnewsandguide.com