Ronnie Berlack’s Obituary
Ronald Grover Berlack was born on April 21, 1994 in Winchester, Mass., and died in a skiing accident in Soelden, Austria, on January 5, 2015. He was a warm, kind, and caring young man, in addition to being an accomplished ski racer and a member of the U.S. Ski Team.
Ronnie was adopted at birth by his parents, Cindy Wright Berlack and Steve Berlack of Franconia, N.H. At the age of two (in 1996), Ronnie and his family embarked on a 18-month sailing trip from America to the British Islands, Norway, and Sweden.
Having already been exposed to skiing on Cannon Mountain, NH, Ronnie skied often that winter, as his family lived near Chamonix, France. By the time Ronnie was three, he had sailed in the North Atlantic, the North Sea, Norwegian Sea and Barents Sea, and the majority of the Norwegian coast.
This long trip taught him two important lessons: to make friends fast when you meet kids your age; and to be able to sleep anywhere. Both of these skills served him well in the ski racing world.
At the age of five, Ronnie moved with his family from Sudbury, Mass., to Franconia. He attended Lafayette Regional Elementary School and ski raced with the Franconia Ski Club. As a 10-year-old, his ski race training was moved to Burke Mountain Academy, where his father, Steve, was (and still is) an alpine ski coach.
In addition to his skiing accomplishments, Ronnie was an exceptional soccer goalie, good tennis player, a ferocious road and mountain biker, and a solid offshore sailor.
He graduated from Burke Mountain Academy with the class of 2012 and was a post-graduate student-athlete the next year, also at Burke. He was named to the U.S. Ski Team development squad in the spring of 2013, and was renamed again in the spring of 2014.
Ronnie knew he was fortunate to have many excellent coaches, teachers, and other adult role models who helped him shape his life and reach his goals.
The avalanche that took Ronnie’s life also took the life of his close friend and teammate, Bryce Astle, 19, of Sandy, Utah. The two skiers died together doing what they loved.
Ronnie was an extraordinarily intense, funny, and kind young man. He will always be remembered for his determination and his ability to see the “next right thing to do” to move his life in a positive direction.
Surviving Ronnie are his parents, his sister Carolyn, numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and his dog…all who loved him dearly.
A celebration of his life will be held on Tuesday, January 27, at 3:15 PM at the Lyndon Institute Auditorium, Lyndon Center, VT.
Memorial donations may be made in his name to the Friends of Mt. Eustis Fund, PO Box 29, Littleton, NH 03561. www.mteustis.org. Mount Eustis is a ski hill being reopened to offer “donation only” skiing and riding to local youth and their families in the greater Littleton, NH area.
Memorial donations may also be made to the Ronnie Berlack USSA Development Team Scholarship C/O Trisha Worthington , One Victory Lane, Park City, UT 84098 www.ussa.org. The USSA Development team is a fee based athletic program. This will help fund named athletes in need of financial support.