Doug Coombs, 48

Originally uploaded by drewbo.
The best skier you never saw died today in La Grave, France.

According to reports, he and a companion (Chad Vander Ham, 32) either slipped or were swept by snow over 200 meters of cliffs. Both men were dead by the time a rescue crew arrived.

At this point, it happens enough that you know the drill ... you get an email with name only in the subject line. Inside the message is a link, and that's it.

Doug's legacy is significant. A skier with passion and skill, he was a true driver of out-of-bounds and extreme skiing at Jackson Hole and throughout the world.

His unrepentant skiing of hidden lines and obscure cliff bands that he determined were safe -- by himself and for himself -- undoubtedly affected the decision making process of JHMR and other resorts.

While other factors were surely considered, Doug's constantly calm demeanor on some of the hairiest faces in the world made the media, the skiing public, and the skiing professionals stop ... and wonder if maybe "one go, all go" was a worthwhile OB policy after all.

Everybody's got a Doug story. I hope they get shared.

My personal favorite was seeing Doug whip through lower Green River bowl at JH on a nuclear powder day at about 4:19 pm. Even after climbing and skiing every face in the region, his skiing was flawless, light, and magical.

I wrote a column about the experience ... alluding to the fact that Doug's alpine prowess was unnatural, and had to be the result of some sort of genetic mutation. In the column, i alleged that Doug had a monkey tail that gave him the bonus of added balance. He called me at the paper that night and left a nasty message.

But he never said anything about the tail.

LINK: the news
LINK: the memorial fund

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