Snowboarder killed at Spirit Mountain was Winona State University student

Derek Harms died in an accident at the resort's Big Air Terrain Park.
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The man who died in a snowboarding accident at Duluth's Spirit Mountain was a 20-year-old Winona State University student.

The Anoka County Medical Examiner confirmed on Tuesday that Derek Harms, whose family hails from Barrington, Illinois, died from multiple blunt force injuries in the tragedy on Sunday.

Winona State paid tribute to Harms, who enrolled at WSU in fall 2015 and was studying recreation, tourism and therapeutic recreation.

He was snowboarding with friends at Spirit Mountain's Big Air Terrain Park when he failed to reach the bottom of the hill, with friends finding him injured a short time later.


– Young snowboarder dies in Spirit Mountain accident

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Denise McDowell, vice president for enrollment management and student life at WSU, asked students 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," she said. "We 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."

Among others paying tribute is Camp Deerhorn in Wisconsin, where Harms was previously a counselor.

It described him as an "amazing friend, whose heart was as big as his hair."

His funeral will be held in Barrington this coming Sunday.

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