Doug Coombs (deceased)
Year Inducted: 2010
Doug Coombs was arguably one of the most important skiers of his generation. In the wake of his death in April 2006, literally every skiing publication in the world, along with almost every major newspaper in the United States, ran a story on Coombs and his contributions to the sport. The New York Times published a front-page story detailing the accident 5 weeks after his death.
The movie Steep, the first mainstream film about the history of big mountain skiing virtually became an epitaph for the life of Doug Coombs. The worldwide coverage and reaction to his death within the skiing community was a function of the person he was. Coombs was an exceptionally honest, humble, hard working, decent human being.
As a skier, Doug Coombs almost single-handedly popularized the concept of adventure skiing. Although there were others who skied the extreme, Doug was the first to develop a systematic approach to safely guiding recreational skiers in big mountains. To this end, Coombs conceived of and operated the first commercial helicopter skiing business in the Alaska's Chugach Mountains near Valdez, became a full certified IFMGA guide (International Federation of Mountain Guides Association), guided the first clients off the Grand Teton for Exum in Jackson, WY, and ran his Steep Skiing Camps in Switzerland, France and Greenland.
During the course of his lifetime he helped open up controlled access to Jackson Hole, Wyoming's backcountry, won the World Extreme Skiing Championships twice, and was a member of several US Powder 8 Championship teams. Coombs was the consummate expert skier, technically proficient, physically efficient and beautiful to watch. Most importantly, he loved to share his passion for skiing with others and helped thousands of skiers have the best day of their lives on the snow.