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Doug Coombs killed today in avalanche....

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
Some of you know this already, but here are some more detailed links: http://tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php?t=50557

Very, very sad day for the sport.
post #2 of 46
post #3 of 46
A great loss for the world of skiing.
post #4 of 46
Just shocking. The announcement is on the Valdez skiing guides site http://valdezheliskiguides.com/whatsnew1.html .

Doug Coombs was killed in the mountains today.
This afternoon we learned of the tragic accident in La Grave, France.

We are still gathering details and will inform you as we learn more.
Words can't describe the loss his friends feel now. His impact on Alaska Heli Skiing, Alpine Guiding, and just plain fun-hogging is immeasurable.
Send you thoughts and prayers to Emily and David Douglas Coombs. They will need you support and love for a long time.

Don Sharaf, Doug Workman, Scott Raynor, Kirsten Kremer, Paul Turecki, Jeff Zell, Eric Henderson, and the many others who had the privelege to work, ski, and smile with Doug over the years.
post #5 of 46
Wow...sad to hear it. Awesome and influential skier...may he rest in peace.

post #6 of 46
Wow....first the JH tram retires from carrying up skiers and now this. RIP extreme skiing pioneer.
post #7 of 46
Oh, God.

That is so, so sad.

In addition to being one of the greatest skiers of all time, he's one of the nicest, most humble, most approachable people I ever had the honor to meet.

post #8 of 46
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by JHrefugee
Wow....first the JH tram retires from carrying up skiers and now this. RIP extreme skiing pioneer.
Yeah, both on the same day. Weird synchronicity.

post #9 of 46
DAMN!!!! That is horrible news!
I'm shocked and very very saddened to hear this. I thought about going to LaGrave last year and taking Doug's camp.

I was a little apprehensive about it and sent an email with some questions. His wife Emily called me a few days later and we talked for a little while, then she said she'd have Doug call me.

The next day I got a call from Doug and we talked about the camp for about 20 minutes. A hell of a nice guy. I ended up not making it to the camp in the end because it was just a bit to much.

This is so tragic. RIP Doug. God bless you Emily and family.
post #10 of 46

Best Ski Poster Of All Time

Doug could make the craziest line seem like a walk in the park...

Vaya con Dios, Doug.
post #11 of 46
post #12 of 46
Makes me sick to my stomach. Condolences to his family.
post #13 of 46
Very sad news indeed.

Condolences and prayers to his family and friends.
post #14 of 46
Bob, your sense of loss is more personal. Please accept our condolences. Doug was an icon of the current day and someone we could all look up to. His young family will be especially hard hit. Let us know if something is done to memorialize Doug in Jackson. I'm sure there will be something in the days to come.
post #15 of 46

post #16 of 46
Doug has inspired me more then any other skier. I met him a month in a half ago in line for the tram at La Grave. He was extremely approachable with a huge smile on his face and a great attitude.

post #17 of 46
RIP Doug.
post #18 of 46
post #19 of 46
Doug Coombs was simply the best.
post #20 of 46
Too sad, reminds me of the Buddy Werner tragedy.

post #21 of 46
Condolences and sympathy to the Coombs family.

Bob -- Thanks for sharing that photo of the poster. I had one for a long time. It brings back memories.
post #22 of 46
A tremendous tragedy. I skied with Doug in his steep camp at Jackson Hole and with him as my guide in Alaska.

I remember skiing with him at the noon time break During the JH Steep camp one day going down Bird in the Hand to Bernies Bowl. Doug turned around with that big grin of his and said, "Si, follow me." I followed him for two or three turns and then after faltering still believed I could stay in his tracks. He had a unique way of making you believe. It was my first memory of true downhill commitment in the steeps.

Another memory was at an entry to a 15 foot drop onto a 50-55 degree face in Alaska. I turned around to Doug and said that I thought it was too much for me. Doug responded with that big smile and something like "you've got it Si" at which point I jumped in and made it to my feet.

I enjoyed watching Doug ski more than any other skier I've ever seen. He had an infectious smile that influenced all those around him. From him I was able to expand my world of skiing and mountaineering and I know he helped numerous others to the same. Perhaps best of all, he afforded us the opportunity to share in his adventures and explorations doing things that we can only dream of.
post #23 of 46
Very sad. A tragedy.
He seemed like a great guy.
Some more info here: http://www.telemarktips.com/
post #24 of 46
post #25 of 46
Earlier reports that Doug was killed in an avalanche are being revised, and it appears now he may have fallen to his death, in a rescue attempt of a companion who fell before him. The following was posted at http://www.telemarktips.com/TeleNews.htm

[edit: I have no idea if the Telemarktips, or Pisthors information is correct. It is tragic either way.]
4/3-- 10:30 pm PDT--- Doug Coombs has been killed in a fall while skiing in or around La Grave, France. Details of Coomb's death are just starting to emerge, but earlier reports that the legendary guide and pioneering extreme skier was caught in an avalanche appear to have been erroneous. The most current information we are receiving, from a source in contact with people on the scene in La Grave, is that Doug Coombs was skiing at the end of the day with three friends. They were descending a steep couloir. One of the four, reportedly a man from Colorado who had been a regular in La Grave the past couple of seasons, began skiing first, while Coombs and the others watched from above. The friend from Colorado apparently hit a patch with an ice layer underneath and fell in what was described as a definite "no-fall" zone. The Coloradoan reportedly washed over a cliff and disappeared from view.

At this point the details become sketchy. Coombs is said to have wanted to get a rope in order to check on his fallen friend's condition. While assessing the situation, Coombs also fell. The remaining two skiers in the party then called for a heli rescue. When the helicopter arrived some 20 to 30 minutes later, Doug Coombs was already dead. The victim from Colorado was still breathing, but unfortunately died later in the hospital.
Once called the "Clark Kent of skiing" by Skiing Mag, the unassuming-looking Doug Coombs began his guiding career in 1986 as a heli guide in Jackson, Wyoming. He won the first ever World Extreme Skiing Championships in Valdez Alaska in 1991, and soon after returned with his wife Emily to start the first heli ski operation there, Valdez Heli-Ski Guides. Within a few years, Doug and Emily's operation employed a team of 12 guides using three A-star helicopters to serve clients from all over the world. In 1997 the Coombs' moved their other operation-- Doug Coombs Steep Skiing Camps Worldwide-- to the European alps, running camp sessions out of Verbier and La Grave.
Reaction to the news of the untimely and tragic death of Doug Coombs has been pouring in all evening. Russell Rainey called in to share stories of skiing with Coombs in and around Jackson Hole. "Doug Coombs was such a beautiful skier and human being," said Rainey. "The last time I skied with Doug was here at Snow King of all places. We ran bumps together over and over on the steepest run on the mountain. The bumps were so big we would lose sight of each other in the troughs, but Doug made it look easy and he was as relaxed as he would have been sipping espresso in the lodge." Rainey continued, "but the thing that made Doug such an outstanding person was his way with people. When he was instructing or coaching he had the ability to make everyone feel special, whether they were negotiating a steep and hairy chute, or making turns down a blue run. He would tell them how great they were doing and just be super supportive. I was sickened by the news tonight of Doug's passing. It's such a terrible loss to the skiing community, and a horrible tragedy for Emily and their young son. My heart goes out to them"

Others recalled Coombs' easy style, quick smile and warm personality. "He was just an incredibly good guy," said one, a sentiment that seems to be shared by all who knew him.
Stand by for more news from La Grave and Jackson, and more reaction from the worldwide skiing community to the death of Doug Coombs.
post #26 of 46
Sad, sad news.
post #27 of 46
Fittingly, concerned for another.

Clean winds
Light snow
post #28 of 46
I can hardly wrap my mind around this! Condolences to the family and friends.
post #29 of 46
What A Tragedy.

The ski world has just lost another one of it's great heros.

post #30 of 46
: Wow, this really sucks. I can't even imagine. My thoughts are for his wife and kids. Damn, I know a lot of us like the least traveled roads and the BC but this past year has just taught me that its most likely a matter of time for most us. Doug was experienced, knowledgable and surrounded himself with good people and if it can happen to him well . . . . . .

Be safe bears no more this season!!!!
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