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NH Skier Killed In Avalanche In Austrian Alps

BOSTON (CBS) – A member of the U.S. Ski Team from New Hampshire was killed in an avalanche Monday in the Austrian Alps.

Ronnie Berlack, 20, of Franconia, New Hampshire and Bryce Astle, 19, of Sandy, Utah were part of a group of six skiers who were caught in the slide, according to the U.S. team. The other four survived and skied out.

Berlack grew up racing in New Hampshire and had been a student-athlete at Vermont's Burke Mountain Academy.

Burke Mountain Academy Headmaster Kirk Dwyer says Berlack was a great skier, but even more importantly, he was a great person.

"He had an exceptional work ethic, but more than that, he was a really nice guy who was very kind and was humble, in spite of his accomplishments," Dwyer said. "He didn't see that that made him any better.

He was named to the U.S. Ski Team's Development Team following two top-20s at the 2013 U.S. Alpine Championships and a spring tryout camp.

"Ronnie embodied a love of the mountains and boundless positive energy. He was always upbeat and he was super connected to people in the ski racing world," Jory Macomber, Berlack's coach at Franconia Ski Club, said in a statement Monday.

"Whenever I brought up his name, people would smile and share wonderful stories. We will really miss him."

"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," Burke Mountain Academy's Headmaster Kirk Dwyer said in a statement.

"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."

Friends and fans can leave messages on the U.S. team's Facebook page.

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