Originally Posted by ecimmortal
The notion that movies aren't showing full lines being skied is ludicrous. Most of the featured athletes are looking for the most aesthetic lines they can find. Not just for the camera, but for their own personal goals. I own just about every major release in the past 3 years as well as a ton of lesser known. All these movies contain lots of diverse skiing. From tree's to pillows to big mountain lines. I even have most of the more jib oriented films. They all bring their own value to the table, and all have great skiing.
The people that are dying aren't dying filming. For the most part they are succumbing to small factors that have big consequences. Stuff that the mountains are full of.
Stuff that most of us don't encounter in our daily skiing. Anyone who spends a lot of time in alpine sports performing on the cutting edge is going to encounter dangers, and will have lost friends. And it's not because Sean Pettit is hucking his meat off a 60 ft cliff into soft snow.
Doug Coombs died when he slipped on some rocks trying to get a view of Chad VanderHam, who had just fallen off a cliff approximately 50m high, (163ft). He was not actually "skiing" at the time, not hucking, doing 50mph, or dropping anything. Basically, he was sidestepping. He had called for a rope, but slipped before anything was set up.
They were skiing the Le Polichinelle Couloir at La Grave. Coombs guided there and had his Steep and Deep camps there often. Except for a couple of marked trails, it is guide only skiing as the exposure can get serious quickly. In the movie Steep, he talks about "getting complacent" in Alaska and taking risks, (avalanche), that he wouldn't have when he started. Moving to La Grave was part of breaking that. He talked about how you could go from sipping a cappucino to the most extreme skiing in minutes there.
You can read a report on the accident here by Matt Farmer, one of the four in the party. It is the basis for most stories on the event.
Supposedly, this picture is Coombs and VanderHam skiing on the run they were killed. I've never seen it before, there's no attribution, description, or context for the page other than "Doug Coombs and Chad VanderHam, extreme skiers on their last run at La Grave, France"
It appears on a Christian UK website called Grace. Why it's there is a mystery. If it is what it says, it would've been taken by Matt F. or Christina B on April 3, 2006.
Based on descriptions of the route, I would think that's the town of Les Freaux below. That based on description of the possible route on the Skiers Lodge website. They run guided trips out of their hotel in La Grave: http://www.skierslodge.com/legend/# They list that run as "serious". There is a "very serious", and an "extremely serious" designation also.
How deceptive photos are. It does not convey the danger of the situation.
from: http://www.freshworship.org/node/292 (photo not attributed)
An article on VanderHam, 31, underscores ecimmortal's point in this thread. He grew up in Minnesota, went to CO State, and spent some time at A Basin. He was a resident of Keystone, CO at the time of his death.
VanderHam was the rare extreme skier. He did not enter contests, did not flaunt his talents and was not after a video segment. All he ever wanted was to be one of the elite — without the attention that comes with it.
There are more photos of the run on which they were killed in this blog for the Denver Post. The photos were taken by Joe Vallone, a friend of Coombs and VanderHam and who went up there on the recovery mission.
"Coombs-VanderHam accident report"
Posted April 10, 2006, 9:19 pm MT
Photo by Joe Vallone
This photo from a different angle gives a better idea and shows the mandatory left turn. That's the cliff on the left of the photo they fell off. Again, the picture doesn't convey the danger.
Photo by Joe Vallone
VanderHam's ski stuck in the snow. Beyond that point, they both were killed by the fall:
Photo by Joe Vallone
This quote from Joe Vallone on VanderHam further illustrates the guy's approach.
When it came to partners, hands down there was no discussion: Chad was the man and the best partner in crime you could ever ask for. Never said much about his skiing or what he did; didn’t seem to care either because he was too busy thinking of the next adventure. He loved life and the mountains like no one else. His composure in the mountains was unmatched. Attention to detail in such a calm demeanor even when things were going up the river. He had the head and the skills to solve any mountain situation.
"A memorial to Chad VanderHam"
Filming may push people, but I agree with ecimmortal, it's not a direct cause of a lot of the deaths.
A lot of the most dangerous places are rarely filmed, because they just don't show up that way, and you certainly can't go fast on them.
Dangerous is dangerous.