Aspen ski pro Greg Harms dies in helicopter crash near Anchorage

Harms, 52, was one of five people who died on Saturday

Staff and wire reports
Greg Harms
Courtesy Tordrillo Mountain Lodge

Greg Harms, a longtime ski pro at Aspen Mountain and world-renowned heli-ski guide, was one of five people who died Saturday in a helicopter accident near Anchorage. He was 52.

According to the Alaska State Patrol, the crash happened about 6:30 p.m. Saturday near the Knik Glacier in the Tordrillo Mountains, which is northwest of Anchorage. There were six people on the helicopter and one remains in the hospital, according to the state patrol report. Harms was the owner of Third Edge Heli.

The Aspen Skiing Co. sent out an email Sunday that said in part: “… all of us who experienced Greg’s incredible ability to inspire us and make every person he connected with feel valued and important. Together we will embrace our sadness and move forward as Greg would want us to.”

Harms was a pioneering heli-ski guide in Alaska and worked for many years at the Tordrillo Mountain Lodge, spokesperson Mary Ann Pruitt told The Associated Press.

“Greg was one of the most experienced guides in the business,” she said. He also founded a heli-ski company that led trips across the world.

The Alaska State Patrol said the Alaska Army National Guard and volunteers from the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group were able to recover the deceased from the helicopter crash site near Knik Glacier.

In addition to Harms, the others who died include: Czech Republic residents Petr Kellner, 56, and Benjamin Larochaix, 50; Girdwood, Alaska resident Sean McMannany, 38; and Anchorage resident Zach Russel, 33, who was the pilot.

According to the Associated Press, the survivor, identified as David Horvath, 48, of the Czech Republic, was listed in serious condition Monday, said Mike Canfield, a spokesman at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage.

The chartered helicopter, an Airbus AS350 B3, was “conducting heli-ski operations in an area of steep and remote terrain within the Chugach Mountains near Knik Glacier,” National Transportation Safety Board member Tom Chapman said Monday during a briefing with reporters.

Alaska State Patrol said the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash.

Clint Johnson, the NTSB’s chief in the Alaska division, was also able to document the crash site with photos from the air “before the snowfall could obscure the site,” Chapman said.

Recovery of the wreckage is now the main focus for investigators, but that timing is uncertain given the terrain and forecast of additional snow.

According to a report from the Washington Post, Kellner was the richest man in the Czech Republic with a net worth over $17 billion, according to the Forbes 2020 list of the world’s richest people.

“This news is devastating to our staff, the community in which we operate and the families of the deceased,” Pruitt said in the statement. “In 17 years of operations this is the first time we’ve had to face an event of this measure.”

The lodge is about 60 miles northwest of Anchorage, on Judd Lake.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


See more