I walked into the legendary Hotel Portillo bar after a long day out shooting photos. The year was 2000 and it was my first trip to Portillo. Although I was a seasoned pro skier, I was new to the Chilean Andes, a Portillo rookie. In the bar, by the old, wrought-iron framed windows, sat a skier, surrounded by others, looking as comfortable as if he were sitting in his own living room. This skier was magnetic, and he certainly caught my attention. Large in stature, with a voice to match, it looked like he was celebrating a day in the mountains with friends, perhaps even clients, something I would come to do over the coming 20 years in this very bar. In walked a ski patroller friend from Crested Butte. He sat down with us and I leaned over, “Who is the big guy over there?” “Oh you mean Harms? Yeah, that’s Greg Harms.”

We have all heard the cliché, “The man, the myth, the legend.” In my opinion Harms, as everyone called him, exemplified the tag more than anyone I have met or worked with. A “Type-A” skier and guide, Harms’ reputation usually preceded him. He was a BOSS, and people were drawn to him. Although Harms often presented a tough-to-get-to-know personality and even an air of arrogance, once you cracked the code and got to know him he was anything but. Harms was a serious person, but also serious about having fun, and he made a career out of sharing that passion for fun with everyone around him. As a heli-ski guide, he delivered dreams to hundreds of thrill-seeking skiers from the Andes to Alaska. As an instructor and coach, he helped countless skiers improve their skills and gain entire new levels of confidence, ultimately leading them to sign up for exotic heli-ski missions with the master.

Greg Harms could sniff out a first descent better than anyone, and was responsible for hundreds, maybe thousands. He was willing to take his clients deeper and further and set them up on lines they never imagined they could ski. Many a client sat, scared shitless, in the helicopter with Harms, wondering what he had in store for them. Ultimately, he would sway theirs fears, delivering ski memories that were as mind-blowing as they were eternal.

Alaska Heli Skiing Guide Greg HarmsCelebration was always a part of the Harms experience. Whether it be a, “Booyah” at the bottom of an epic Alaskan powder run, an après-ski session laced with drinks, photo shares, and stories of epic proportions, or an Instagram post tagged with his signature, “#F**kYeah”, Harms knew the power of stoke better than anyone. He consistently delivered the best ski experience possible, leaving his clients’ souls changed forever, and then celebrated the heck out of it. This was his secret sauce, and people loved it.

To know the man was to understand why his personality was mythical and his stature legendary. Just like that day I first encountered him over 20 years ago in the Portillo bar, holding court, Harms remains larger-than-life in our hearts and minds. This past season, Harms and I were locker neighbors in the Aspen Ski School locker room. We sat beside each other in the mornings, putting our boots on, and chatting about conditions and clients. And then we’d head out, with a high-five and a “F**k Yeah”, which always put a smile on my face. So thanks for the memories Harms. Thanks for the stoke, the passion, the love, the guidance, and the toasts. Thanks for being you, and for making skiing awesome, every day. You’re the MAN! Ski in peace.

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