Coombs Foundation has Rebranded!

Welcome to Coombs Outdoors!
Everything you need to know about the Coombs rebrand. 

Coombs Outdoors takes the Coombs Mission a level deeper, not just providing opportunities for access in the outdoors, but turning the outdoors into a tool for youth empowerment. 

The Coombs Foundation has grown exponentially since our founding in 2012. When we began with just 28 kids in lessons at Snow King, we had no idea that by 2019 we would be serving more than 250 kids and families in year-round outdoor activities. As our programs and organization have grown, we felt ready for a new name that better reflects the work we do as an organization, and a new look that breaks away from the organizations previously ski-centric logo.

“The Doug Coombs Foundation has always been primarily associated with skiing, but we do so much more than that,” said Mary Erickson, Executive Director. “Since outdoor recreation is our primary tool for impacting kids lives, Coombs Outdoors resonated with us. We are excited about a new name and fresh look that will grow and evolve with us for many years to come.”

Mission: The mission of  Coombs Outdoors is to empower children and youth to reach their full potential through the life-changing power of outdoor recreation. 

So what does this mean for donors and families? Donations to Coombs Outdoors will now support a more robust, year-round outdoor youth empowerment program. Rather than just supporting the cost of a season of skiing, your generous donations will help us develop Coombs-grown programs, allowing low-income kids to build confidence in the outdoors through skiing, hiking, rafting, biking, climbing, and more. 

Year-round programming allows us to provide more consistent support to the families that we serve in Teton County. Through weekly outdoor activities and mentoring programs in the summer and winter, Coombs participants have the opportunity to build valuable relationships and develop skills in the outdoors and life. At every stage, outdoors remains at the center of the work of Coombs Outdoors, whether a hike with a Forest Ranger, a ropes course with a mentoring cohort, or an internship working at our local ski hill. 

The Coombs Outdoors Vision: Activate. Engage. Empower.

  • ACTIVATE! Introduce children and youth to a variety of outdoor activities year-round to get them off the couch and their cell phones and active in nature.

  • ENGAGE! Connect with youth to build deeper interpersonal peer relationships and provide strong role models.

  • EMPOWER! Provide youth with the tools and confidence to pursue their dreams in life beyond high school.

NewsletterMary Erickson
Coombs Cup Golf Club Challenge

Join us for our first ever summer fundraiser!

The first annual Coombs Cup Golf Club Challenge Tournament and Fundraiser will take place on August 22, 2019 at the Snake River Sporting Club. 

Teams from Snake River Sporting Club, Shooting Star, Jackson Hole Tennis and Golf, 3 Creek, and Teton Pines will face off in a golf scramble to benefit the Coombs Foundation followed by a cocktail reception and live auction. Amateur teams will play alongside Club Pros in a team scramble, with additional contests throughout the day. 

Everyone is encouraged to come the cocktail celebration at SRSC at 4 p.m. to enjoy hors d’ouevres and a live auction supporting the Coombs Foundation. This will be an exciting evening as the Coombs Foundation reveals a few exciting announcements regarding the future of the organization!

 Contact Mary Erickson, Executive Director for tickets and questions - [email protected]

EventsMary Erickson
July 2019 Newsletter

Meet Our Forest Friends Hiking Group!

The Forest Friends hiking club is our introductory summer outdoor program, where kids in Kindergarten through 5th grade get started hiking in the Tetons. Forest Friends meets once each week to explore trails in Grand Teton National Park and Bridger-Teton National Forest, learning about wildlife and basic trail practices while having fun outside with their friends.

In the first few weeks of summer, Forest Friends learned how to read trail maps from a Wilderness Ranger, journaled in their nature notebooks in Game Creek, hiked up Snow King, and splashed around alpine lakes in Grand Teton National Park. Summer is off to a great start at the Coombs Foundation!

Annie, 6
Favorite part about summer hiking club: "That I get to run on the trail wherever I want!"

Gael, 8
Favorite part about summer hiking club: "When I get to take off my shoes and play in the mud because it's fun to be allowed to get dirty."

Sebastian, 7
Favorite part about summer hiking club: "Drawing my own map outside so I can find my way home."


Find us on the Trails!
2019 Summer Program Overview

Forest Friends (Elementary School)
Hiking groups meet Tuesdays and Wednesdays for activities in Grand Teton National Park and Bridger Teton National Forest.

Be REAL Outdoor Adventures (Middle School and High School)
Kids and mentors meet Wednesday evenings for skill-building workshops, with activity days on Thursday and Saturday. Activities include hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, rafting, and more!

We're proud to partner with    Community Soccer Camp   ! This summer over 50 kids are playing soccer with CSC. Teams practice Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with games on Saturdays.

We're proud to partner with Community Soccer Camp! This summer over 50 kids are playing soccer with CSC. Teams practice Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with games on Saturdays.

A Note from our Executive Director

The Fourth of July always brings about a little bit of childhood nostalgia for me. I grew up in a mid-sized city on the west coast, in a close-knit neighborhood filled with young families. The Fourth of July parade was always a highlight of the summer—we would decorate our bikes with red, white and blue streamers and parade to the “round park” where the entire neighborhood would gather for hot dogs, corn on the cob, and watermelon. For that one day, we carved out our own small town in the midst of the city.

 In Jackson, we sometimes get lost in our sophistication and our extraordinarity, but at the Fourth of July parade, we are small town America at its finest. People lined the parade route last Thursday morning—often three or four deep—waving American flags and cheering at the passing floats. Local businesses, non-profits, and political candidates came out in force, with decorated floats, flags and banners, tossing candy to kids on the side of the road. What struck me was how genuinely joyful everyone seemed. In that moment, we were one community.

 When we turn on the news, all we hear about are the polarizing topics that drive us apart. But on this one sunny morning last week, no one asked the person next to them what they thought about Trump. No one argued over the border wall or Obamacare. Everyone was there to celebrate the best of America, where we still believe that every child should have the opportunity to strive for greatness and create their own future, in spite of the obstacles society may put in their way.

This was most poignant for me parading along with 50 kids and parents from the Coombs Foundation. A large percentage of our families are Latino, some immigrants, others born right here in Jackson. It’s easy to feel like an outsider when you aren’t a part of the majority culture and your family doesn’t have the same resources as your classmates. But as I watched our kids march with the same pride and joy that I saw in their peers around us, what struck me was the sense of belonging, of community. My hope is that every child in Jackson grows up believing in the increasingly elusive “American Dream” – that every child believes they can achieve their dreams.

 May your life be filled with that Fourth of July sense of joy, belonging, and hope all year long.

Mary Erickson, Executive Director

June 2019 Newsletter

Get to Know a Coombs Family!

Tristan (12) and Aldric (13) were some of the Coombs Foundation’s first participants. They learned to ski through our programs at Snow King when they were just five and six, and now are ripping skiers in the Jackson Hole Ski and Snowboard Club. A few years later, their dad, Hugo, learned to ski in our Padres Program and became a certified ski instructor last year. “Skiing was something that we’d always seen everyone doing, but we never thought we’d have the opportunity to actually do it,” says Hugo. “When we found out we could participate, there was no question - we were doing it.” Hugo says when Tristan and Aldric first learned to ski they would count down to ski lessons all throughout the week. “They just loved it. And they still love it. It’s really no different today,” he says. “It’s just so fun. And I love trying to follow them down the hill, too.”

“When we found out we could participate, there was no question - we were doing it.”

Last summer, Tristan and Aldric learned to rock climb for the first time with Coombs on an instructional day with Exum Mountain Guides. “It’s really great to see how they are together when they’re outside,” Hugo comments. “Instead of hanging out inside and playing video games like kids do at that age, they’re more social and talkative. They want to go outside and have fun with their friends and try new things.” Hugo says that this spring, after skiing with the JHSSC Shredders all season, Tristan decided he dreams of skiing in the X-Games. “He wants to do back flips and compete...I don’t know how we feel about the backflips yet, but we love to see him so excited about these things.”


Be REAL - Outdoor Adventures 

Be REAL is the summer component to our winter Powder Pals Program, an opportunity for our middle and high school participants to develop leadership skills and learn how to spend time in the mountains independently. “The kids and volunteers were so excited and engaged this winter, and we’re really looking forward to keeping that momentum going,” says Maggie Shipley, Program Manager. “Last winter, Powder Pals had the greatest success (and fun) in the groups with the most consistent mentors. Our goal this summer is to maintain that kind of consistency to keep that momentum going.”

This summer, Coombs kids will rock climb with Exum, hike in Grand Teton National Park, Kayak with Rendezvous River Sports, and even learn to mountain bike at the Village. Groups will meet twice a week for one full activity day outside and one evening workshop. “Group mentorship has been a proven way to make a positive impact on the lives of youth,” says Shipley. “Our mentors focus on helping our youth successfully navigate their time outside and life in the community at large.”


A Note from our Executive Director

Our summer programming starts next week - let the adventures begin! This summer we will take kids hiking, biking, rock climbing, rafting and more through our Forest Friends program for elementary school kids and our BE Real Outdoor Adventures for middle and high school kids. We are also partnering with Community Soccer Camp of Jackson Hole to offer the very popular summer soccer program for kids from 1-8 grades.

This summer we are also working with Wilderness Adventures, a locally-based outdoor adventure company, to provide full scholarships to three Coombs kids to participate in one of two 14-day adventures. We invited active middle and high school members in good standing in our program to submit a paragraph explaining why they wanted to participate. Two of the selected students are headed to Denver at the end of June for Colorado Explorer - two full weeks of rafting, climbing a 14er, and backpacking in the Rockies. The third student will participate in Yellowstone Teton Discovery. Kids on these trips are coming from all over the world, so the Coombs participants will have the opportunity to step out of their comfort zone socially and connect with people from very different backgrounds. The three youths attending have never spent time away from home, better yet 14 nights under the stars, and this will be a life changing trip for each of them!

Finally, congratulations to all of the Jackson Hole seniors who graduated this past weekend – and their parents! What an exciting time in a young person’s life. This got me thinking about all of the young people in the Coombs’ programs. My hope is that we are able to positively impact these kids’ lives so when their graduation day comes, they also have big dreams and big plans and the confidence to pursue them.

Now get outside and enjoy summer!

Mary Erickson, Executive Director