COOMBS DEFINES WESC “It’s hard to call it a slope”
Doug Coombs (1957-2006) of Jackson Hole, Wyoming dominated the early years of WESC winning a number of championships and totally humbling many of the local skiers who thought we knew about skiing. I was lucky enough to see him ski many venues with fascination and awe. To see him and some of the best skiers in the world ski lines in Thompson Pass that locals just did not contemplate as remotely possible was just astonishing. It was truly redeeming to watch them finish run after run in our “backyard” and then proclaim Valdez as simply the best skiing in the world. Coombs’ arrival on scene and his growing icon status quickly elevated Valdez from a simple rope tow at Salmonberry Hill to the best skiing in the world. The “Valdezease” was born and continued to draw the best skiers in the world.
Those of us who had been skiing the mountains of Valdez were flattered and it helped affirm the work many of us had done in the decades previous to WESC to support and promote skiing in Valdez in anyway we could. Coomb’s presence made it so and the Valdez mountains confirmed Coombs as the best skier of his generation and perhaps any generation since.
This interview by the Valdez Vanguard captures Coombs in Valdez as he returns to defend the title he won in the first WESC in 1991. That first title in a tiny remote area in Alaska called Valdez, thrust him into international fame. He missed the repeat but returned in 1993 and won his second title. Caught in his element, he speaks frankly and openly about WESC and “extreme” skiing. I hope you enjoy reading the article. ( by Matt Kinney Mar 2, 2011)