Alps avalanche kills skiers Ronnie Berlack and Bryce Astle

Ronnie Berlack and Bryce Astle from the US Ski Team Image copyright AP
Image caption Ronnie Berlack (left) and Bryce Astle were part of the US team preparing for a World Cup race on Tuesday

Two American skiers have been killed in an avalanche in the Austrian Alps while skiing near their training base.

Ronnie Berlack, 20, and Bryce Astle, 19, were junior members of the US team.

They were part of a group of six who were descending from a mountain near the Rettenbach glacier, the venue for the races that will open the 2015 Alpine Skiing World Cup.

Officials in Tyrol say avalanche alerts had been declared following days of heavy snowfall and mild temperatures.

The four other skiers with Mr Berlack and Mr Astle managed to escape the avalanche unhurt.

It is believed that they triggered the avalanche on the 3,000m (10,000 feet) Gaislachkogel mountain near Solden, and were buried under the snow.

The president of the US Ski and Snowboard Association Tiger Shaw said, the two victims were "outstanding ski racers who were passionate about their sport".

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