Burke Mountain Academy Grad Dies In Avalanche In Austria
Burke Mountain Academy is mourning the loss of one of its most promising ski racing alumni.
Ronnie Berlack, 20, grew up in Franconia, New Hampshire and graduated from the Northeast Kingdom academy in 2012. He was killed by an avalanche Monday in Soelden, Austria, along with another member of the U.S. Ski Team’s Development Team, Bryce Astle, of Utah. The two were among a group of six athletes free-skiing at the Austrian resort that is the opening venue for the World Cup races.
According to the Huffington Post, an avalanche alert had been issued following heavy snowfalls and warm temperatures.
Four other skiers skied out of the avalanche, according to this release from the U.S. Ski Team:
Ronnie and Bryce were both outstanding ski racers who were passionate about their sport – both on the race course and skiing the mountain,” said U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association President and CEO Tiger Shaw. “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.
Burke Academy Headmaster Kirk Dwyer says the school for aspiring ski racers is “devastated” by the loss of one of its brightest stars. This is his statement posted on the school’s website:
Ronnie has been a vital part of BMA since he was a young boy, from his father Steve’s long involvement at Burke, skiing with us from when he was a J4, attending BMA through his post-graduate year, and remaining part of BMA until this tragic accident. Only last week Ronnie was here at BMA training with us. Ronnie was someone we all loved and deeply respected. He had a huge spirit. There is no one who better represents our core values than Ronnie. Our hearts go out to his parents Steve and Cindy, and his sister Carolyn.
Information on services is pending.