(FOXNEWS) — Two of America’s brightest young ski prospects were killed Monday when an avalanche struck the Austrian Alps slopes where they were training for an international competition.

Ronnie Berlack, 20, of Franconia, N.H., and Bryce Astle, 19, of Sandy, Utah, died in the incident near the Rettenbach glacier near Soelden, the venue for the annual season-opening World Cup races. Four other skiers who were practicing with them managed to ski out of the massive slide and emerged unscathed.

“Ronnie and Bryce were both outstanding ski racers who were passionate about their sport — both on the race course and skiing the mountain,” U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association President and CEO Tiger Shaw said. “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.”

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