Ask anyone from Jackson Hole, Wyoming who their childhood hero was, and they’ll likely tell you “Doug Coombs.”
Doug was an accomplished skier known worldwide for his daring skills and role model attributes. In 2006, he tragically passed away after slipping from a mountain drop off, trying to save a fellow skier. But his memory lives on through the Doug Coombs Foundation.
The Beginning of the Doug Coombs Foundation
His wife, Emily, noticed a need for low income kids to have the opportunity to be involved in Jackson Hole’s most dominant outdoor sport; skiing. Costs of skis, lift tickets, day passes and other necessities often mean some families can’t participate. First beginning with her own dime, she enrolled several kids into Snow King Mountain’s Winter Sports School in 2012.
Her efforts quickly
became well known, and the sponsors started stepping forward. Today, 180 kids are a part of the program, which also extends into the summer, where kids participate in soccer, rock climbing and hiking.
In Jackson Hole this past March, we were lucky enough to spend time with people from Snow King Mountain, that are involved with the foundation’s efforts. While an instructor helped us wobble through our first ski lesson ever, he shared his excitement about Snow King Mountain’s relationship with the foundation. He spoke about the children that flood the mountain on Saturdays, and the rewarding feeling of teaching them, bonding with them and being a part of changing their lives.
Yes, this program is changing lives. Children who otherwise couldn’t be interacting on the mountain are making friends, gaining confidence and making memories. A beautiful depiction of integration is happening here. A community is being united, further solidifying Jackson Hole as an iconic ski haven.
Our guide talked about Doug Coombs, and how he was his childhood hero. Now he’s a part of his hero’s legacy, and you could see how genuinely honored he was. You can tell everyone’s heart at Snow King Mountain is 100% in this, and it was really cool to see.
Snow King Mountain
Snow King Mountain is the underpraised ski resort of Jackson Hole. Top of the line lifts, adventurous slopes, a beginner’s course, restaurants, and a sense of friendship that immediately floods over newcomers will be what brings me back here every time I’m in Jackson Hole. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and Snow King Mountain differ in good ways and each offer their own perks. Snow King has that cozy, family environment.
While the “Magic Carpet” beginner’s course eased us into the world of skiing with its gentle slope and
conveyer belt lift (yes, a conveyer belt which you gently glide onto carries you back to the top), we also enjoyed the other activities that took a bit less skill; snow tubing and the Cowboy Coaster.
The tubing course was fast, exciting and pretty leisurely as a clip system pulls you to the top, and the Cowboy Coaster was a simplistic metal track with a cart for two that used gravity to whip you down the mountain; both were phenomenal.
Lifting Us Up
Snow King Mountain and the Doug Coombs Foundation are working together to change the lives and paths of these young, deserving children. Their phrase “Lifting Us Up” is truly displayed through their
efforts. You can donate to the cause, so even more children can hit the slopes, and you can also support Snow King Mountain by visiting their hospitable, metaphorically warm facilities this coming winter. What a beautiful way to honor one of the world’s greatest ski legends.