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Britain’s Prince Harry still fondly remembers 1998 trip to resort

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Otto Kamstra was thrilled and a little amazed to learn that Britain’s, Prince Harry still had a poster he had given him during a ski trip to Whistler in March of 1998.

"I thought it was long forgotten," said Kamstra, mountain guide to the Royals during their four-day visit to the resort.

"I thought they would have forgotten about skiing here."

The poster shows Kamstra skiing and was featured in the resort’s vacation planner in 1995-96.

It was taken by Paul Morrison, senior photographer for the mountains, as well as Powder and Skiing magazines, and a long time local.

"To learn that a picture that we took has meant something to him is pretty neat," said Morrison.

"When you think of where those kids have been, really everywhere they wanted to go for their entire lives, then you think that skiing that day here in Whistler with Otto meant so much to (Prince Harry), it is kind of neat."

"To Harry," wrote Kamstra on the poster at the time. "Great skiing with you. Otto"

"I thought this is one of the many things he has done over the years and away the poster would go," said Kamstra, general manager of the adult ski school at Whistler-Blackcomb.

"Obviously he packed that with him because he wasn’t at Eton when he was here. He has taken that with him and said, ‘This is one of the things that I cherish.’"

Kamstra was clearly touched to learn that the poster adorned Prince Harry’s room at Eton. The poster can be seen clearly in one of several photographs featured last weekend by media outlets around the world to mark the end of his five years at Eton.

The visit to Whistler was the first major skiing holiday the Royal family took following the August 1997 death of Princess Diana.

Kamstra believes Prince Harry and big brother William found a sense of freedom in Whistler they had missed in the months after their mother’s tragic death.

As Whistler-Blackcomb’s celebrity guide Kamstra has skied with world leaders and Hollywood stars but, he said, the time he spent with the Royals is one of his most memorable experiences.

"It is definitely a highlight that you could talk about forever," said Kamstra.

"So to know that (Prince Harry) still has that poster is pretty special." "Harry was young at the time, he was 13. He was pretty wild, a bit of a daredevil, and very athletic.

"William was a better skier over all but he didn’t have quite the dare-devilishness that Harry did.

"Harry went off everything. It was like he was newly released on the world.

"I think they found it refreshing to get away and for the most part they were left alone."

For Kamstra learning about the poster in Prince Harry’s room makes him think he may have accomplished a goal he sets out with every time he skies with a guest.

"The whole goal of being a ski pro is that you always hope that you are going to change someone’s life in terms of them falling in love with the sport that you love.

"Maybe we accomplished a little of that here."

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