It's an exciting time to be Robert Cocuzzo. After numerous trips between Alaska, Jackson Hole and La Grave, France, he's on the verge of releasing his book about free-skiing legend Doug Coombs, Tracking the Wild Coomba. The book is scheduled to be completed in April 2016, which will mark the 10th anniversary of Doug's death while skiing in La Grave.
We've profiled Rob before, but it's worth repeating: he's someone who embodies what Alps & Meters is all about and is someone we're truly honored to call a friend. We were fortunate enough to share some time and a few drinks with Rob last Thursday night at North River Outfitter Sport in Boston's Beacon Hill, as an intimate crowd of friends and family gathered to hear a few stories and an excerpt from the book.
The night started with Rob and Alps & Meters founder Lou Joseph trading stories about growing up skiing in New England, appreciation for their mothers who carted them to and from the ski hill, and Rob's journey from the tiny hill at Nashoba Valley to settling in Jackson Hole and infiltrating the infamous Jackson Hole Air Force.
Rob then shared some truly incredible stories about Doug and his journey to follow in his footsteps: Doug's early days ducking ropes and pushing for backcountry access in Jackson Hole. How Doug helped those who skied with him to conquer their fears of the terrain...frightening enough that it would paralyze folks in their tracks. How the faces of those who knew Doug would light up when Rob asked them about their memories of him. How Rob had to earn the respect of those who skied with Doug, and his emotional struggle with the decision of whether or not to ski the run that ultimately claimed Doug's life.
The evening ended with Rob reading an excerpt from the book for the first time. He recalled an early experience heli-skiing in Alaska with a grizzled Vietnam vet (narrowly avoiding a crash landing) and reflected on how influential Doug was on the heli-skiing industry.
Rob is putting the finishing touches on the book now, and will kick off a marketing tour in conjunction with the launch in April. Tracking the Wild Coomba should be widely available towards the end of Summer 2016.