france has had a record number of avalanche deaths this year..the numbers
are staggering.

             "John Crowley,                                                
             <jcrowleyjr@GMAIL                                          To 
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             <[log in to unmask]         [SKIVT-L] Coombs dies in avalanche  
             .EDU>                     in La Grave                         
             04/04/2006 01:10                                              
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From Ski Racing Magazine's website


"Extreme legend Doug Coombs dies in La Grave avalanche

April 03, 2006

Extreme skiing legend Doug Coombs was killed in an avalanche in La
Grave, France, early Monday.

The news was originally reported on the Web site for Valdez Heli-Ski
Guides, the company Coombs founded in 1993.

Coombs also founded Steep Skiing Camps Worldwide, and was a two-time
winner of the Valdez Extreme Skiing Championships.

"Words can't describe the loss his friends feel now," read a statement
on "His impact on Alaska heli-skiing,
alpine guiding and just plan fun-hogging is immeasurable."

A former racer for Montana State, Coombs moved to Jackson, Wyoming,
and worked as a geologist before embarking on the big-mountain
freeskiing scene.

An internationally certified (IFMGA/UIAGM) mountain guide, Coombs
spent his seasons guiding in the Tetons, Alaska, Greenland and France.
He had guided everything from first descents down steep powder runs to
technical testpieces such as the Grand Teton's Ford Coulior.

On his Web site,, he relayed some thoughts on the
spectacular setting of La Grave: "When I first arrived at La Grave and
stared at the majestic glaciated peak of La Meije (13,065 ft.), I
imagined endless ski runs that would last a lifetime! After 5 seasons
in La Grave, I am still discovering new descents off the lift served

Coombs leaves behind his wife, Emily, and young son, David Douglas."

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