Spirit Mountain Accident Victim Remembered As ‘Vibrant’

Medical Examiner: Derek Harms Suffered "Multiple Blunt Force Injuries"

DULUTH, Minn.- Derek Harms, a 20-year-old Winona State University student, has been identified as the victim in a fatal snowboarding accident at Spirit Mountain on Sunday, according to the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office.

The incident happened at about 1:15 p.m. At that time, emergency crews were called to the bottom of the Big Air Terrain Park where the snowboarder was located.

Harms, who is originally from Barrington, Illinois, was transported to a Duluth hospital where he later died.

Harms “died as a result of multiple blunt force injuries due to a snowboarding accident,” according to the medical examiner.

Spirit Mountain said Monday they were conducting an accident investigation and could not release further details.

“This is a terrible tragedy, our condolences to the family and friends at this time,” said Spirit Mountain Executive Director Brandy Ream in a statement.

Harms’ family is from Illinois.

“[He] was a wonderful, vibrant man who was an avid outdoorsman and accomplished athlete,” said mother Georgianne Harms.

Harms also taught mountain climbing in Winona, played ultimate Frisbee and was a kind, outgoing and “extraordinary friend” who everyone could depend on, according to Georgianne.

The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office says the Duluth Police Department is continuing its investigation, and the city of Duluth says Brady Ream, the executive director of Spirit Mountain, is also assisting.

Statement from Winona State University:

“The Winona State University community learned today of the untimely death of Derek A. Harms, who passed away as a result of injuries suffered in a snowboarding accident Sunday in Duluth, Minn. Harms, 20, was from Barrington, Ill. He enrolled at WSU in fall 2015 and was studying Recreation, Tourism and Therapeutic Recreation.

In a campus message, Denise McDowell, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Life, asked the campus community to keep Harms’ family and friends in their thoughts and prayers.

“Losing a member of our community is a very difficult thing, and I know Derek will be missed by many. I encourage you to gently connect with those among us who may be struggling with this loss. May we find peace and the strength to endure as we hold on to the memories of Derek’s life here at WSU.”

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