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Ten years ago this past April, legendary extreme skier and mountain guide Doug Coombs perished on the slopes of La Grave, France. In honor of Coombs, whose contributions to the sport include breathtaking first descents (such as the Grand Teton’s hyperexposed Otter Body route) and pioneering heli-skiing in Alaska, a new book, Tracking the Wild Coomba: The Life of Legendary Skier Doug Coombs, hit bookstores in August.
In researching Coombs’s life, author Robert Cocuz- zo spent three years following in Coombs’s ski tracks, which took him across the globe to places like Valdez, Alaska, and La Grave, France. Along the way, Cocuzzo scored countless dream lines—think AK’s Stairway to Heaven—and unparalleled access to Coombs’s friends, colleagues, and widow, Emily, as well as to some of skiing’s most influential players, like Seth Morrison.
The result is a rich slice of ski history and culture as well as an intimate glimpse into the life of a man who changed the sport forever. As inspiring as it is tragic, Tracking the Wild Coomba is not only a tribute to Coombs but also a guide to living well. As Coombs often said, “You don’t know if you don’t go.”
Tracking the Wild Coomba can be purchased here.
This Front Side piece was originally published in the October 2016 Volume 69/Number 1 Issue of Skiing Magazine.