The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame plans to induct Doug Combs into its elite order in April 2010. The Jackson Hole skier, mountaineer, and guide will be honored for pioneering the sport of extreme skiing.
Combs, who died in a fall while attempting to rescue a friend in 2006 in La Grave, France, gained notoriety appearing in ski films in the 1990s. The Boston-born skier grew up on the slopes of New Hampshire and Vermont before attending Montana State University as a ski racer. But he is most credited with popularizing adventure skiing by winning the first two World Extreme Skiing Championships.
Combs worked in Jackson Hole as a guide for High Mountain Heli-Skiing and Exum. He and his wife Emily launched the first heliskiing operation in Alaska's Chugach Mountains-Valdez Heli-ski Guides. He also started a series of steep skiing camps in 1993 that moved to Switzerland, France, and Greenland. Both the Valdez and steep ski camps still operate today.
He pioneered several first descents, including the Otter Body Route on Grand Teton and routes in Tien Shan Range of Kyrgyzstan. He skied the CMC Route on Mount Moran in the Tetons. He also guided the first clients skiing off the Grand Teton.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort honored Combs in 2006 by naming a run on the upper mountain after him. Coombs Run, above the summit of the Bridger Gondola, peels off the Headwall after a short hike from Tensleep. Combs, who served as a ski ambassador at the ski area, was ousted from the resort in 1996 for skiing out of bounds. The brouhaha that ensued in the local paper and petitions to the U.S. Forest Service led to changing the boundary policy at Jackson. The resort even guides out of bounds trips now.
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame recognizes athletes and builders who shape the sports of skiing and snowboarding. Combs will be one of 368 honored members.