Twenty-three-year-old Matt Heffernan, an avid skier and adventurist, passed away Friday, August 14, at Causey Reservoir—15 miles northeast of Ogden, Utah. Deseret News reports Heffernan performed a double backflip off a cliff, landed face first and never resurfaced. Search and rescue was conducted Friday, but was called off at 11:00 p.m. on account of darkness. The search resumed at 8:00 a.m. Saturday; divers located Heffernan’s body at 11:00 a.m.
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A Cleveland, Ohio native, Heffernan attended the University of Utah, where he regularly took advantage of the surrounding mountains. Heffernan was known to ski everything from the highest peaks, to deep powder and world-class terrain parks. Heffernan also spent the summertime months skiing at Mt. Hood, Oregon.
The skiing community has taken to social media this weekend to share remembrances of the man who was celebrated for his passion for skiing and thrill-seeking, in addition to his kind spirit; a handful of tributes have been pasted below. FREESKIER extends condolences to the Heffernan family, and to all those who were touched by Matt.
Remembering Matt Heffernan
“It’s hard to come up with the right way to portray the kind of person Heff was. They say a photo is worth 1,000 words and I think this one [above] is a spot on representation of how he lived his life. Here’s to the happiest, adventurous, and most genuinely stoked kid I have had the honor of calling my friend. Rest in peace brother. We love you Heffy.” – John Kutcher
“It’s hard to grasp what it means when a close friend passes away. Heffy lived life to the fullest and I know he would want all of us to do the same. Never forget camping in [Mammoth] for a month with you, grape blunts and chargin’ hard at whatever you were getting into. Heffy went hard in the fucking paint and I’m gonna miss the hell out of you. RIP brother.” – John Ware
“I can’t believe such a good, fun-loving, all around awesome person has passed away. I’m so sorry for you and your friends and family. So hard to comprehend. Rest in peace Matt Heffernan.” – LJ Strenio
“About four years ago I dedicated [a] run to my good friend Matt Heffernan when he had a broken femur… Tomorrow in Chile, I’ll be dedicating my first heli run of my life to you Heffy. As [well as] much more of my skiing and enjoyment of life. So devastated to hear you’ve passed away while I’m gone. You’re the first close friend I’ve had that has died, I’ll always hear your laughs and funny accents in my mind. Sadly no amount of likes or posts will bring you back but your friends will carry your spirit with them everywhere, and legends live forever! I hope JP [Auclair] and [Shane] McConkey are there for you with welcoming arms man.” – Giray Dadali
“RIP buddy. One of the nicest people I have ever met. Always missed but never forgotten. Ski in peace Heff.” – Tom Wallisch
“Such a sad day hearing the news of Matt Heffernan’s passing. You were a great person to be around, the stoke level was always 100%. Shred it up in the afterlife.” – Torin Yater-Wallace
“Unbelievably sad news to hear about the passing of Matt Heffernan this evening. Heff was an incredibly positive and upbeat guy, a fantastic skier, and most of all, a great friend to many in the ski community. My thoughts go out to his family and friends, especially those that spent time with him on the slopes in Utah and beyond. I had the honor of meeting Heff out at Mt. Hood a few times over the years, and I distinctly remember his enthusiasm at The West Coast Session in 2014. Not only was he motivated and driven to work with me to get photos, but he was incredibly appreciative as well, and couldn’t have been more excited with the end results. [A] photo of him from the sunset shoot ended up being one of my favorites from the entire event, thanks in part to his reaction when he first saw it. Ski in peace, Heff.” – Jamie Walter
“Whether he was lacing a sketchy backcountry line or stepping up to an even sketchier urban setup, Heff’s abilities on two planks were unbelievably diverse, and he surely had a bright future ahead of him. From a photographer’s perspective, his cork 720 blunt was a masterpiece on the same order as the Mona Lisa—spun just right, grabbed just right—but then again, just about everything that Heff did on skis looked good, at ease, totally natural. Heff’s ability as a skier was surpassed only by his abilities as a human being. He had amazing reserves of kindness, patience, sympathy and friendship; could always be counted on to lend a helping hand; was courteous, respectful, and quick to make friends with anyone he met. He had an honest and straightforward air about him that made him impossible not to like.” – Ethan Stone, for Downdays
“RIP Matt Heffernan. You were one of the best skiers and greatest people I have ever met. You will be missed.” – Jason Arens
“I only got to hang out with Matt Heffernan a couple of times but I’ll never forget the generosity he showed me within just meeting him and his always positive attitude. Here’s to an amazing person and skier, you’ll be missed.” – Brent Whipple
“Rest in peace Matt Heffernan. Your kindness, love, and compassion for others will never be forgotten. You were such an amazing person, and a positive influence to so many different people around the world. Everyone who ever met you, loved you deeply. It was impossible not to. No words can describe the amazing attitude that Heffy embodied on an everyday basis.” – 4BI9 Media
“I’m at a loss for thoughts. Words cannot describe how much I’ll miss your cork 7 blunts. I can’t say thank you enough for always bringing so much positivity and good energy with you to share with the homies. I’ve always looked up to you, and always will. See you soon Heff, have fun up there. Always in our hearts.” – Jonah Williams
“If age was measured in experiences rather than years, Matt would have been an old man. On and off the hill Heff had a drive that lead him to some amazing accomplishments; some of which I was blessed to see myself. Losing a person with such kindness, courage, and passion to see other people succeed is a heavy burden to bear. We will all be walking in the shadow of a great man and an even better friend. You left us a blueprint of how we can carry out the rest of our lives. If I live to be half the man you were, then I’ll have lived a great life. Mount Baldy now has a part of you Heff! Keep us safe.” – Steve Stepp