Park City’s own Jeremy Nobis, big mountain extreme skiing pioneer and former Olympian, dies
Fearless, intense, kind and intellectual are words people who knew Jeremy Nobis are using to describe him. By all accounts his life was extraordinary, and took many turns.
Jeremy Nobis was born in Wisconsin but moved to Park City in his youth. He was a racing prodigy who made the U.S. Ski Team at 16 years old and skied in 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics.
After he retired from Alpine racing in 1996, he turned to big mountain freeride extreme skiing and pioneered the sport. He appeared in several Warren Miller films as well as ski films by Teton Gravity Research. Nobis had his own special edition ski designed by Dynastar.
Nobis passed away Wednesday at 52 years old in a jail cell in Cedar City. He was being held while awaiting sentencing in a DUI case. He had been incarcerated since February 11th.
Bob Marsh coached Nobis on the Park City Ski Team. He said Nobis was one of the very early athletes in the program.
“Well, Jeremy was a very gifted and talented, hardworking athlete. And one of the things that I remember most was his spirit.”
Andrea Terwillegar grew up on the Park City Ski Team with Nobis and his sister Shannon who also made the U.S. Ski Team. The Nobises were raised by a single mom. Terwillegar said many in the town rallied around the family to help keep their ski dreams on track.
“But you know, he had all the talent in the world and grew up in you know, an amazing time and a town that totally supported them,” she said. “My dad was Jan of ‘Jan's’ and, he started The Winter Welcome for kids like him. And you know, everybody kind of took care of the kids that needed the extra care because their moms were working.”
Marsh said everybody loved Nobis. He said he was a remarkable athlete who dealt with some mental health issues.
“Definitely had a lot in is head. And he tried his best to take some of these things that were bothering him out on the ski hill and out on the mountain bike,” Marsh said. “And, and I would say that, you know, he managed it as well as he could.”
Kristen Ulmer is a former professional extreme skier who helped pioneer the sport alongside Nobis. She said (QUOTE) “Whenever you have a group of people who are starting a new trend in athletics, it’s going to be a cast of characters because we’re all breaking the rules and doing things that have never been done before.”
“I've traveled all over the world to ski with Jeremy and I call him Nobis everybody calls him Nobis. And I've had some of the best times of my life, with him being part of the scene. And I'm really sad.”
Ulmer said beyond the Olympics, Nobis’ career in big mountain is what he will be remembered for. He helped pioneer the Alaska range by skiing down mountains that were death-defying.
“He had the ability to do one thing better than anybody else in the world, which is go really, really fast on super, super steep sketchy terrain. That was what he was known for,” she said. “He wasn't known for big cliff jumps. Doug Coombs, was considered the best skier in the world, he would ski a line in 300 turns and Nobis would come down and do it in four turns. At high speed. Like we'd never seen anything like it. It was just incredible to be around.”
After his skiing career ended, friends say Nobis became lost and had several DUIs. Ulmer said many of his friends were concerned and tried to help.
“And it was really sad to know over the years that Jeremy was disintegrating into alcoholism, and a lot of DUIs and a lot of us tried to reach out to help him and be a support system. But slowly, we realized that we couldn't help him only he could help himself. And now this has happened.”
Marsh remembered Nobis’ kind heart and untamable spirit.
“He had a lot of friends. People who cared about him, and I just I just hope in the end that he knew that he was loved by many. And a lot of people tried to help by but there's just some things that he couldn't overcome.”
According to the Iron County Correctional Facility Nobis was found alone and unresponsive in his cell early Wednesday morning. Life-saving efforts were attempted by Iron County jail staff. No foul play is suspected, but the incident is under investigation.
Nobis is survived by his mother, sister and other relatives.