Two American ski racers killed in avalanche in Austria

American skiers Ronnie Berlack and Bryce Astle die in an avalanche in Austria

Two promising American ski racers died in an avalanche at an Austrian resort on Monday.

Ronnie Berlack, 20, and Bryce Astle, 19, were free-skiing in Soelden, Austria, with four others who were able to make their way clear of the slide, officials said.

Berlack and Astle were part of the U.S. national team's developmental program.

"Ronnie and Bryce were both outstanding ski racers who were passionate about their sport -- both on the race course and skiing the mountain," said Tiger Shaw, president of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Assn. "Both of them loved what they did and conveyed that to those around them."

Astle had two top-10 finishes in NorAm Cup races last month.

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