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Doug Coombs

Hall of Fame Class of 2009

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Doug Coombs was one of the most important skiers of his generation. Following his death in April 2006, every skiing publication in the world carried a story on Coombs and his contributions to the sport. The New York Times published a front-page story detailing the accident five weeks after his death. The movie STEEP, the first mainstream film on big mountain skiing, became an epitaph on his life.

This world-wide response to his passing was a function of the kind of person he was. Doug Coombs was seen as an exceptionally decent, honest, hardworking, and humble human being. He was a leader in popularizing the concept of adventure skiing. While there have been many who skied the extreme he was the first to develop a systematic approach to safely guiding recreational skiers in big mountains.

With his wife Emily, he established the first commercial helicopter skiing operation in Alaska’s Chugach Mountains, became a full certified guide with the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association, guided the first clients off the Grand Teton for Exum in Jackson, Wyoming and ran his steep skiing camps in Switzerland, France and Greenland. He helped open up controlled access to Jackson Hole’s backcountry.

As a competitor he twice won the World Extreme Skiing Championships and was a member of several U.S. Powder Eight Championship teams. Most will remember him from his many film appearances: the consummate expert skier, technically proficient, physically efficient and beautiful to watch. He loved to share his passion for skiing and helped thousands of skiers have the best day of their lives on snow.

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