The late Doug Coombs is one of the most iconic skiers to come out of Jackson Hole and locals came out in full force to celebrate his life on Sunday by way of the 8th Annual Marmot Coombs Classic. Part-celebration, part-adventure, the event was able to connect hundreds of skiers through epic skiing, live music, gear giveaways and ample hang-time on and around Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
“It’s not a race or competition, but a celebration of skiing,” said Bill Lewkowitz, a longtime friend of Coombs and business development director at the resort. “We didn’t want to have a competition or race, or an extreme contest. We thought, ‘Let’s just do something fun where everyone can get involved.’”
Throughout the day, skiers skinned and climbed their way up the resort in honor of Coombs, who was a pioneer in extreme skiing and completed first descents all over the world. Then, following the action, a concert and raffle rounded out the day with prizes from Marmot and K2—including tents, skis, outerwear and more. Attendees also took the time to reflect on Coombs’ life, and the effect he had on so many lives in the Jackson Hole area.
“He would take people to Alaska who didn’t think they could ski big faces and then they did,” Lewkowitz said. “But he would never put them in terrain that was over their head, generally.”
Emily Coombs, Doug’s wife, attends the event every year and brings with her a group of kids from the Doug Coombs Foundation, which provides ski instruction, passes and equipment to low-income youth and families in Jackson.
“It’s in memory of Doug, who just loved to ski,” Emily said. “And he loved to ski with everybody. He was all about inclusivity.”
Emily then joked about how wherever she goes, people tell her, “Doug’s my best friend!”
“He was everybody’s best friend,” she said.
As the sun peeked out for brief moments during the day the people closest to Doug and others who hardly knew his name skied together and had a whole lot of fun.
“It’s the spirit of skiing and the love of skiing,” Lewkowitz said. “And for us to remember Doug, and for the people who are participating to just go out and enjoy themselves in Doug’s name.”