4 Big Stars in the Ski Industry


If you obtain an affinity for that cold, white powdery stuff on the mountains in the wintertime, you probably get an itch to head to the slopes once it flies. And, if you’re “in the know” in the industry, you’ll likely recognize some of the folks highlighted in this particular post. While they are each known for various things, the main thing unites them: their enthusiasm for snow sports!

Doug Coombs
A “steep” in skiing refers to any slope with a pitch greater than 45 degrees, and Doug Coombs loved them. He is among the greats in skiing steeps and is quoted as saying, “There is no such thing as too much snow.” He married Emily Coombs and together they opened the Doug Coombs Steep Skiing Camps Worldwide in the United States. They later moved their business to Europe because there were fewer “red tape” safety regulations that they had to fulfill on the slopes. He worked to lead others down steeps, mentoring and growing their ski experiences. In April of 2006, while skiing with friends in France, one of them fell off a cliff. Doug also fell to his death while attempting to locate and help him. Even if he’s been gone for more than 10 years now, his legacy lives on. Created in 2013, the Doug Coombs Foundation emphasizes blending social classes by offering children who can’t pay for it the possibility to enjoy excursion in the outdoors. Coombs was a man of discipline, grit and determination. To find out more about his story and his legacy that goes on today, take a look at dougcoombsfoundation.com or look into the biography of his life, Tracking the Wild Coomba by Robert Cocuzzo.

Jake Burton Carpenter
This guy is kind of the father of modern snowboarding He founded Burton snowboards in 1977, and named the company after his middle name. The design of his snowboard began as a spoof on what was known as the “Snurfer,” a single board with a rope attached. In the beginning he built each board by hand, with the first board sporting aluminum fins at the back (which were later replaced by refining the board edges).


Alf Engen
Born in Norway, Alf was named a ski jumper when he came to the United States at the age of 19. After only a short time, he settled in Utah, where he lived for the next 66 years until his death in 1997. Once here, he turned into an alpine skier, and is considered as a pioneer in powder skiing. He eventually became involved at Alta Ski Resort, and was involved with the ski school there. At the same time, he was also in charge of helping to open several other ski resorts in the United States. Alf won several ski awards, coached the 1948 United States Olympic team in Switzerland, and dealt with the Deseret News Free Ski School. If you want some more information about this great man, check out these three YouTube clips.


Kim Reichhelm
A woman who has made a name for herself in adventure skiing, Kim founded Women’s Ski Adventures in 1989 to help women have a good time on skis and improve their technique, and later started Steep Skiing Camps geared toward offering exciting opportunities for expert skiers who want to take it to the next level. She was a winner of the World Extreme Skiing Championship twice, and is also known for dominating the North American, South American, and World Extreme Skiing titles all within the same year. She has worked in the industry for all of her professional life, and she organizes heliskiing adventures for groups in Chile, Japan, Iceland, and Alaska. She’s strong, independent, and dedicated, and you can find out more about her (or ski with her!) at www.skiwithkim.com/.

Most of us don’t ski with the same level of intensity, life dedication, and passion as these four folks, but it’s still something we love and enjoy doing solo or with family and friends. If you’ve organized a group ski trip, let us come along for the ride and provide transportation.

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