Matt Heffernan airs it out on a better day. Jonathan Lykins photo via Facebook.
While the winter months present us with the unfortunate responsibility of reporting on avalanche fatalities, the summers usually give us reprieve from writing about those who died in the mountains before their time came. But a few weeks ago, we wrote about Wil Olson, an experienced and respected Colorado mountain biker, who died from a fall on a fairly innocuous section of the Enduro World Series course in Crested Butte, rocking a community that is never familiar from seeing a passing in their ranks.
And today, it gives us great pause to be reporting on the death of professional skier Matt Heffernan, who died this past Friday evening while attempting a double backflip from 60 feet above a Utah reservoir, where he'd been jumping with friends before landing on his face and sinking to the bottom. According to the Deseret News, a kayaker, who witnessed Heffernan's friends jump into the water after his crash, paddled to a spot where they could get cell service and called the sheriff's office. Divers with Weber County searched the reservoir until they couldn't see anymore, then resumed their search Saturday morning. They found Heffernan's body underneath 50 feet of water.
Matt Heffernan's being remembered as an especially giving, gracious, and talented athlete this week. Photo via Facebook.
Across the skiing community, Heffernan is being remembered as a gracious, gifted skier who was more than willing to share his experience, knowledge, and even the gear he got from sponsors–one Facebook comment from a grieving fellow University of Utah student shared how, after being in desperate need of new clothes but flat broke following his tuition payment, Heffernan came over with a box of brand new clothes from his sponsors and offered him whatever he wanted from it.
We are currently soliciting remembrances from friends and family today, and will be updating this page with information about public remembrances this week, so stay tuned. Rest in peace, Matt.