Unfortunate loss of potential U.S. Olympic skiers

Unfortunate loss of potential U.S. Olympic skiers

This Monday, a terrible tragedy took the lives of two incredible young boys as they scrambled up the side of a mountain in Austria. A deadly avalanche buried two potential Olympic skiers, Ronnie Berlack and Bryce Astle, leaving nothing but deep snow in its wake.

Berlack was 20 years old, and Astle was 19 when the avalanche hit. They were found under almost 15 feet of hardened snow and ice. Only weeks before the Alpine world championships, the U.S. Ski Team is in for a tough season as they must put aside their grieving for their chance for the gold in the most important race this year.

The U.S. Ambassador to Austria, Alexa Wesner, supported the survivors in their loss. “It sounds like she was like this mother figure for them,” commented T.J. Lanning, a U.S. Ski Team coach and former racer.

Other close associates of the boys came forward to share their memories of the skiers, and their passion.

Steve Bounous, the program director of the Snowbird Sports Education Foundation, talked about his reaction to learning the news of Astle’s death.“It was like getting hit in the face with a two-by-four,” Bounous said. “That was (Astle’s) first trip to Europe. He was on an unbelievable high. Just over the moon, and so confident. He just knew that he was going to take off from there. His confidence was soaring.”

Steve Porino, the NBC and Universal Sports commentator, described Berlack as someone who radiated what all parents hope their kids discover, a completely unfettered enthusiasm and passion for what they are doing,”

The survivors will honor their fallen teammates by skiing their best at the championships.

 

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