About the Foundation

Jackson Hole is known for its natural beauty and world-class outdoor sports. However, there is a large population of children living in poverty who are not included in the outdoor activities that the children of other economic groups enjoy.  In an effort to create an integrated community where all our children thrive, the Doug Coombs Foundation provides an opportunity for children to join their peers on the ski slopes and in year round outdoor activities in Jackson Hole.

This past winter the Doug Coombs Foundation enrolled 180 children in winter long ski instruction programs. This was made possible thanks to the amazing support we receive from our sponsors, grants, and our generous individual donors. We all care about these children and believe that a diverse and integrated community where all children play together is important to everyone.

It is clear that what we are doing is working and that Jackson is on the path to becoming a more integrated community. Please join us and help us in going forward with this important mission.

We Are Committed To:

  • Breaking down cultural and economic barriers
  • Early intervention
  • Encouraging children to believe that anything is possible
  • Building friendships through shared adventures
  • The importance of experiencing profound joy
  • Improved academic performance through increased self confidence
  • Cultivating a healthy lifestyle and a passion for nature and the outdoors

The Coombs Path

An illustrated guide to how we use skiing to break down the barriers of class and race

hover over each image to learn more

Our History

While raising her son, David, in Jackson, Emily Coombs noticed a major issue facing the community:

Children from low-income families were almost entirely absent from the outdoor activities that define the small mountain town of Jackson Hole.

Emily observed that there was a growing population of working class families that lacked the resources to participate in Jackson’s signature sport of skiing.

 

Troubled by the realization that Jackson was evolving into a segregated community, and fearing the negative situations that would inevitably develop in the near future, Emily began to seek solutions. Her idea was simple: By providing opportunities for children of low income families to get into skiing the community would become a more integrated, healthy and happy place for everyone. Through skiing, Emily hoped to provide the tools these children needed to lift themselves out of poverty and achieve their maximum potential.

 

In September 2012, Emily launched the Doug Coombs Foundation. In the first year, Emily enrolled 28 children in the Snow King Winter Sports School, providing ski rentals, ski instruction and lift tickets out of her own savings. Hearing about the fledgling project, Doug Coombs’ devoted sponsors K2, Marmot, and Smith offered their support. The pilot program was so successful that stories of the happy kids on skis began to attract attention locally and nationwide. An influx of donations allowed the program to double in size the following year and to expand into activities outside the ski season.

 

In an effort to keep the children active and engaged in the community year-round, the Foundation began providing support for other activities such as soccer, rock climbing, and hiking. In 2014/15, with an operating budget of $180,000, the Doug Coombs Foundation enrolled 123 children and 25 of their parents in the Snow King Winter Sports School program. The Foundation also provided ski equipment for 10 low-income students in the Colter Elementary School Alpine Skiing Program and launched a pilot program providing a day of skiing for 15 children of the Wind River Indian Reservation.

 

Thanks to the support of the Doug Coombs Foundation, a total of 180 children skied this past winter.

 

The growing success of the Doug Coombs Foundation is 100% reliant on grants and corporate sponsorship, as well as the generous financial support from Jackson locals and people all around the United States who believe in our mission.

Program Growth

2013 28 Kids
2014 75 Kids
2015 153 Kids
2016 180 Kids

The Doug Coombs Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) Non-Profit in Wyoming.

Click on the names below to learn more about the awesome people that make the DCF possible.

Staff

While living and raising her son in Jackson Hole, Emily noticed that, though there was a large and vibrant population of Latino children, very few of them were skiing, unlike most of the other local children. Nor were they participating in other, off-season, sports organizations. Emily found this disparity inexcusable, especially in a town with so much wealth, natural resources and opportunity for all. The solution seemed simple: find a way to provide under-served children the opportunity to ski. After 25 years skiing with her late husband, Doug Coombs, and via their shared ski businesses, Emily possesses a wealth of knowledge and the skills required that have enable her to offer better lives for these children by developing The Doug Coombs Foundation, which targets children from low income families and offers them the opportunity to ski.

 

Since childhood, Emily has dreamed that someday she could help, in her own way, make the world a better place for those who are victims of racial segregation and poverty.  She had also wanted to do something to preserve the memory of her late husband. Now was the ideal time to both create a legacy for Doug Coombs, while providing children of limited resources the opportunity to learn to ski in a town where skiing is a pastime for the majority of our youth. In this way Emily hopes to help improve the lives of all children living in Jackson by integrating children from all economic classes and ethnicities through empowerment provided by fun, active outdoor activities.

Prior to the Doug Coombs Foundation, Mary served as Executive Director of the Community Resource Center, which provides a variety of short and long-term financial assistance programs, education, and advocacy encouraging financial stability and self-sufficiency. In this role, Erickson oversaw the merger of the Community Resource Center, The Latino Resource Center, and El Puente Interpretation Services, to form One22, a single organization created to support members of the Teton County community facing health, financial and cultural challenges. Erickson is an ordained Episcopal priest, and prior to One22, served as the Associate Priest at St. John’s Episcopal Church, where, in addition to her ministerial duties, she managed outreach, communications, and fundraising. She became known as a leader in our community for founding Jackson Hole United and the Civility, Compassion, Love campaign. Erickson received her Masters of Divinity from Harvard, and her BA from the University of California at Berkeley. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Erickson moved to Jackson in 2006 with her husband and two children.

Board of Directors

Sam grew up ski racing in Vermont, graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in English & Spanish literatures, and has called Wyoming home for the past 10 years.  Sam & his wife recently welcomed a baby girl to their family.  The Doug Coombs Foundation combines Sam’s loves of the outdoors, community, languages & skiing.  Sam will help the DCF prosper with his years of experience managing a dynamic guest services team at Spring Creek Ranch, and his current business development experience managing finances & operations for a growing software development company.

For the last twenty years Jonathan Selkowitz has been creating striking photographs of the best skiers in the world for international editorial, and commercial, clients. Covering World Cup, National Championships, World Championships, and three Winter Olympics. Selkowitz served as the official photographer of the U.S. Ski Team from 2000-2007. His success has come from the ability to understand the nuanced needs of his clients, and an amiable, determined work ethic – skills he brings to the Board of the Doug Coombs Foundation. Selkowitz spent nearly a decade teaching skiing in Jackson Hole and coaching with the Jackson Hole Ski and Snowboard Club. Selkowitz has a degree in Art History from Colby College.

Amy Patel moved to Jackson, WY in 2014 with her husband and three children after living in Washington, DC for over 20 years. She earned her BA at Trinity College, CT and her MBA at the University of MD. She worked at the Smithsonian Institution, US Auto Manufacturing Trade Association and US Airways, where she helped develop the first generation web sites to book travel and airport kiosks. Currently, she takes care of her three school age children. In her free time, Amy enjoys hiking and skiing. Amy also serves on the board of the City Kids Wilderness Project in Jackson, WY.

Keith Fleischman is the Principal in the Fleischman Law Firm, based in New York, with a satellite office opening this summer in Jackson, WY. Fleischman is a nationally recognized litigator and trial lawyer, having successfully investigated, litigated and tried to verdict some of the largest and most complex civil and criminal cases in the country. Keith began his legal career with the Bronx District Attorney’s Office. In 1988, Keith joined the United States Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Fraud Section as a trial lawyer. In 1990, Keith accepted a position as an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Connecticut. Fleischman founded the Fleischman Law Firm in 2011. Fleischman is an avid skier, and has great memories of skiing with Emily and Doug Coombs.

Frank Forelle is a Principal at Teton Equity Advisors, a Financial Consulting and Real Estate Private Equity Firm. He has excelled in the real estate and private equity industry for more than two decades, working for firms such as Zeller Realty Group, Deutsche Bank, ABN AMRO, Inc., and Citicorp Securities. Frank is a graduate of Syracuse University, where he earned a BS with a major in finance, and he earned a JD from Syracuse University College of Law. He holds a graduate degree in real estate from New York University. Forelle is an avid skier and lives in Jackson, WY.

Maggie Gibson moved to Jackson after graduating from the University of Vermont in 1983. She and her husband opened Pearl Street Bagels in Jackson in 1990 and it took off immediately. They worked hard for 18 years to keep pace with a successful business in a booming economy. They built a house, started a family, and opened a second Pearl Street location in Wilson. In 2008 they sold the business to three of their employees. Before the Coombs Foundation, Maggie served as a board member of the Friends of Pathways for six years and was president for two. Maggie’s love of the mountains changed her life and she is passionate about sharing the natural beauty of our world with children from the community.

Laurie Hunter worked at various financial institutions in London for twenty years before branching out on his own. After a spell in Paris, where he co-founded a managed futures firm and another spell in London, he moved his family to California in 1996, where he remained until settling in Jackson in 2011. His last gigs were as Chairman and CEO of London listed Madagascar Oil and board member of Australian listed Living Cell Technology.

Bill Maloney has had a long and distinguished career in the financial management industry. He graduated from Holy Cross College in 1959 and attended business school at McGill University and Duquesne University. He is an Advisory Board Member to the Holy Cross Business Program, and he has mentored many young low-income athletes who have become successful Holy Cross graduates. Maloney has served on many for-profit and non-profit boards. He and his wife, Carol, live in Jackson, WY. Maloney is a long-term friend and supporter of Emily and Doug’s.

McDearman is a Vice President of Commercial Banking at Zions Bank in Jackson, WY. He has been in Jackson since 2007. McDearman graduated from Southern Methodist University, where he studied Finance and Spanish.  He lives in Jackson with his wife and young son.

Katherine Michiels is the founder of the Katherine Michiels School (KMS) in San Francisco, providing active, child-centered learning in multiple locations for infants through 5th grade. In 1995 a group of KMS parents established Open Mind, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the KMS philosophy, assisting middle and low income Bay Area families obtain quality child care, and improving and enriching educational opportunities for infants and young children in the Bay Area. She sees the mission of the Doug Coombs Foundation well in line with her lifelong commitment to empowering kids through active, child-centered learning and play. Michiels has homes in San Francisco and Jackson, WY. Michiels is a long-term friend of Emily’s, and skied back in the day with Emily and Doug.

Mr. Winder serves as CEO of Polygon Investment Management, a fund management firm which he founded in 2002. Previously, he led the Middle East team at Schroder Investment Management, where he oversaw in excess of $3 billion of client assets. Mr. Winder lived in London for 14years, where he was Head of Global Sales and Marketing for Credit Suisse AssetManagement. Previously, he led business development in Europe and the MiddleEast at Bankers Trust Investment Management. Mr. Winder started his career as an economist in the Foreign Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of NY, focusing on energy, the Middle East and central bank relations. He later worked as an analyst for Brown Brothers Harriman. Mr. Winder has written and spoken extensively about fund management and asset allocation for various publications including: Institutional Investor Magazine, the Middle East Economic Digest, Les Echos, and Pensions World. He has appeared on Television numerous times for Bloomberg, and MBC among others. He is a Senior Advisor to the Albright Stonebridge Group and serves as Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees, and Chair of the Investment Committee, of the American University of Beirut. He is also a member of Renaissance, is on the Board of Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, and is a member of the Bretton Woods Committee. Additionally, he is a founder and former director of Zawya and has acted as a consultant to Kissinger Associates and The Chase Bank. He earned an M.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a B.A. from Haverford College. Mr. Winder speaks French and conversational Arabic. He is based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Princeton, NJ.

Doug Coombs

Like so many children in Jackson today, Doug Coombs developed a passion for alpine skiing at an early age. That early drive turned into a lifelong obsession, enabling Doug to become one of the most respected pioneers of extreme skiing in the world.

 

Doug’s legendary passion for skiing has been captured in thousands of photos, hours of footage, and endless stories told and retold by skiers all around the world. Whether in the remote backcountry, or in ski resorts throughout the world, modern skiing is connected to the tracks Doug Coombs left behind.

Doug spent his free time perfecting his turns at the local ski hill of Nashoba valley outside of Boston, Massachusetts. That early passion evolved into a lifelong obsession that spurred Doug to become one of the most respected pioneers of adventure skiing in the world. This enabled him to have an impact on the many people he touched throughout his life.

Doug’s masterful skiing was matched with an innate gift to connect with others. His buzzing personality quickly earned the respect and trust of all those around him. In the mountains, his magnetism grew into something truly magical. Doug could impart a level of confidence in his fellow skiers that they could not source on their own, helping them achieve moments in the mountains that will reverberate for a lifetime.

Today, the Doug Coombs Foundation carries on the legacy of helping others achieve their highest potential. The passion of Doug Coombs is passed down to these children as they experience the thrill of skiing and grow to believe that anything is possible.

Thank you Doug,

We miss you

The official Doug Coombs Biography

By Robert Cocuzzo

Arguably the greatest adventure skier to ever live, Doug Coombs pioneered hundreds of first descents down the biggest, steepest, most dangerous mountains in the world. Order your copy today!

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Select proceeds go to support the Doug Coombs Foundation

Doug in the Media