2 snowboarders die in separate accidents in Flathead County

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The Two Bear Air rescue helicopter takes off from Whitefish Mountain Resort in this file photo. (Matt Baldwin/Whitefish Pilot file)

Two snowboarders died in separate incidents in Flathead County on Saturday, one near Blacktail Mountain and the other at Whitefish Mountain Resort.

According Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry, the first incident occurred off Blacktail Road in Lakeside, out of bounds and some distance from Blacktail Mountain Ski Area.

The victim was reportedly snowboarding with a friend when he intentionally attempted a jump off a cliff. Curry said he was pronounced dead on the scene from blunt force trauma.

His body was recovered Saturday afternoon by volunteers from Flathead Search and Rescue, Somers Lakeside Fire Department and Blacktail Ski Patrol.

He is identified as Conner Heidegger, 22, from Rollins.

In a second unrelated incident, a 28-year-old Alberta man died after falling into a tree well at Whitefish Mountain Resort. A tree well is a void or area of loose powder snow around the base of an evergreen tree.

The man had been snowboarding with friends in the Sling Shot area of Hellroaring Basin, within the resort boundaries, when they became separated from him.

A search was initiated by Whitefish Mountain Resort Ski Patrol, Flathead Search and Rescue, and the Two Bear Air rescue helicopter. Searchers from Flathead Search and Rescue located the victim at about 2 a.m. Sunday.

The victim was found upside down in a tree well. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

He is identified as Scott Robert Hornstra, 28, from Alberta.

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