While Chris Benchetler might be best known for making the mountains his canvas, he's equally talented with a paintbrush in hand.
On March 27, 2021 our mountain communities awoke to news of devastating loss to our ski tribes. A helicopter crashed in the Northern Chugach Range of Alaska taking the lives of two of our favorite guides, Greg Harms and Sean McManamy. Along with our legendary friends and their pilot Zachary Russell, two of their clients, Petr Kellner and Benjamin Larochaix, also perished. There was only one survivor. The tragic accident in Alaska sent a ripple of grief through mountain communities and ski adventurers worldwide. The 2020/21 season had struck early and often with backcountry avalanche fatalities and the Alaska crash sent us reeling towards the end. Healing hearts and supporting community loss is a collective effort. We grieve these losses, present and past.
The painting Paradisal Transcendence was created by Chris Benchetler for Greg Harms’ infant daughter, Freja. The design honors our friends and heroes and seeks to transcend grief and commune with spirit. Former IFSA Co-Founder Lhotse Merriam Hawk reached out to Chris hoping to console, heal, and memorialize our bygone buddies though this original keepsake for Freja Harms. The faces in the mountain of Paradisal Transcendence are symbolic of all friends lost in the mountains. Lookers right, you will see Harms’ ski tracks. Listen closely and you’ll hear him shout, “Fuck Yeah!” We hope this design reminds you to hear the laughter of bygone legends sharing your adventures from another realm.
Paradisal Transcendence by Chris Benchetler.
100 percent of proceeds of Paradisal Transcendence merch will be donated to the families of the victims of the crash. Stay tuned for more info on the fundraiser.
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