Two US skiers dead in Austrian avalanche

Two skiers, believed to be US nationals, were killed in an avalanche while skiing in the western Austrian resort of Soelden, rescuers said Monday.

The avalanche was apparently started by the two skiers as they left the prepared slopes to go off piste.

A level-three avalanche risk warning -- out of five -- had been declared in the area after warmer temperatures followed heavy snowfall in recent days.

A spokesman for the local rescue service told AFP the skiers were two young men with US passports.

Soelden, a popular ski resort in Austria's Tyrol region, is the European base for the US alpine ski team. The rescue services could not say however if the two skiers were linked to the team.

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