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Robert Cocuzzo


Robert Cocuzzo

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I was raised by storytellers. Grandfathers, uncles, teachers—the people whom I came to admire most were the ones with the stories. The ones who could tell you what the dirt smells like at a bull fight. The kind of people who measured their education not by the diplomas on their walls but by the stamps in their passports. So as a kid growing up in a suburb outside of Boston, I knew that I wanted to put a lot of miles on my tires—and I wanted to make each one of those miles something worth writing home about.

I’ve captained a fishing boat on the Atlantic. Backpacked for months around Patagonia. Attended black tie soirées in Scotland and been robbed in Amsterdam. Spent winters skiing choking powder in Jackson Hole. Sacked 4,000-footers in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Raced a Ferrari through Time Square and swam with sharks off the coast of Nantucket. Been bitten by a bat in Moab and stung by a scorpion in Uruguay. I’ve learned what it means to be truly terrified in one breath and wholly alive in another.

And then my life as a storyteller found the ultimate muse. His name was Doug Coombs. A big mountain pioneer from Jackson Hole, Coombs captivated my youth through the reels of ski films. He was Superman in my eyes. When I moved to Jackson Hole, I made a discovery about Coombs that would change the next five years of my life. I learned that this childhood hero of mine hadn’t grown up in the wilds of Wyoming as I had previously imagined, but rather he learned to ski on the same little molehill that I grew up skiing in Massachusetts.

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How was that possible? How did Doug Coombs go from a 240-foot slope in New England to becoming king of the big mountains, master of the steeps? That question led me on a four-year journey around the world, skiing some of the runs Coombs pioneered, living in the mountain towns he made his home, and spending time with his friends and family. When the dust settled, I had written my first book titled Tracking the Wild Coomba: The Life of Legendary Skier Doug Coombs.

Today, I’m in hot pursuit of my next muse, the next compass bearing, the next story to tell. Until inspiration strikes again, I’m going to continue saying yes, buying the ticket, taking the ride, and believing fully that if you seek adventure…it will find you.

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