Loss of a Legend – Doug Coombs
Somber news spread quickly around the ski industry earlier this week – we've lost a legend. Legendary ski mountaineer and guide Doug Coombs of Jackson Hole, Wyoming died earlier this week on April 3rd while skiing in La Grave, France along with Thomas VanderHam, 31, of Colorado.
Various online reports explain that Doug was skiing the Couloir de Polichinelle (a steep couloir that requires a traverse at the end to avoid a 60m cliff below) with three other Americans, Chad VanderHam, Matt Farmer and Christina Bloomquist. Reportedly, VanderHam slipped on an icy section, falling over the 60m cliff. In an effort to help, Doug skied to the edge of the same cliff to look for VanderHam, and likely lost an edge on snow covered rock, resulting in a fall down the same cliff. Both skiers fell over 450 meters down cliffs and rocks – Coombs was reportedly found by search and rescue with no breathing or pulse, and although VanderHam was found breathing with a pulse, he could not be revived.
We at Doglotion did not know Doug Coombs personally, but like so many other skiers out there we won't forget the unrivaled impact Doug had on the sport of skiing, and the inspiration he provided for us all as we grew up on skis. Doug Coombs, the man, the myth, the legend, has been rousing our stoke for skiing since we were kids – on posters, in magazine stories, and in TGR films – always charging with his super smooth style. If you're between the age of 25 – 35 and know what skis are, you also likely know who Doug Coombs was and how accomplished he was as a skier. While he wasn't in the lime light he was busy pioneering ski mountaineering routes around the globe, ski guiding, founding Valdez Heli-Ski Guides, and sharing his big-mountain passion first-hand with hundreds of skiers through his Doug Coombs Steep Camps.
Rather than spreading any false info or rumours about the details of Doug's death, we encourage you to read the Powder Magazine article, and please visit his memorial fund website at www.dougcoombsmemorialfund.com. Coombs leaves behind his wife Emily and David Douglas.