Skiing: Step Up and Win a Stigma

Outside magazine, July 1994

Skiing: Step Up and Win a Stigma
By Todd Balf (with Derek Rielly)

With two-time winner Doug Coombs a mysterious last-minute scratch, last April's World Extreme Skiing Championships in Valdez, Alaska, was anybody's contest. In fact, the three-day extravaganza was decided on the final afternoon, when Dave Swanwick of Crested Butte, Colorado, stuck a 35-foot jump halfway down a steep peak called Python. "You can see my divot," said Swanwick, pointing to the hole he punched through hollow snow at the base of his jump. Swanwick, who also won the U.S. Extreme Skiing Championships in his hometown earlier in the season, edged out Shane McConkey and Pete Bowers, as well as Dean Cummings, the day-two leader who'd grabbed crowd-revving air at 27-Mile Glacier. As for Coombs, who won the Worlds in 1991 and 1993, one friend says he may have skipped the contest because he "doesn't want the stigma of being king."

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