Edith Thys Morgan
Nobis Teton Village Wyoming: photo Jonathan Selkowitz
The ski racing community is mourning the loss of Jeremy Nobis, 52, who passed away yesterday in Cedar City, UT. Nobis had been in jail there since his arrest in February, 2023.
Nobis is being remembered by teammates in texts, calls and on social media as an exceptionally talented ski racer and big mountain skier who knew one speed—all out. As his friend and US Ski teammate Heidi Voelker put it: “His red hair matched his personality. He was on fire all the time.”
Nobis’s storied skiing career began when he made the U.S. Ski Team at just 16 years old. He burst onto the international scene as a speed skier, winning the SG at the World Junior Championships in 1988 and finishing 3rd in the GS. The following year, in 1989, Nobis won the GS while Tommy Moe won gold in the downhill, heralding a bright future for US skiing. At the 1991 World Championships in Saalbach, Austria, Nobis was coming off what would be his best World Cup finish, a seventh place in Adelboden and was on his way to a breakout performance when he crashed just before the finish, breaking his ankle. This go-for-broke style would become Nobis’s trademark, in a career marked by stunning speed often followed by injury.
Having already qualified for the 1992 Olympics, Nobis felt he was in his peak form mentally and physically, but blew his knee out on New Year’s Day. He would later say he never fully recovered his winning streak after that injury.
In this 2022 podcast, Nobis recalled being in third place after the first run in Alta Badia and being advised to get a solid finish. “I got in the starting gate and saw red. I was in it to win. I wasn’t in it for 5th or 7th place.” He crashed and blew out his shoulder. Nobis would go on to compete alongside his younger sister Shannon at the 1994 Olympics, where he finished 9th in the GS and Shannon finished 10th in super-G.
In 1996, at age 26, Nobis retired from the World Cup circuit and transitioned to big-mountain freeriding, skiing the biggest, boldest lines in Alaska, among them his legendary descent of Pyramid Peak. He appeared in ski films from Warren Miller, Matchstick Productions, and TGR and became a legend in this new arena, trading his perfect turns for daring–and very straight–lines.
Daron Rahlves followed Nobis, both at GMVS and then onto the US Ski Team. He was first inspired by his GS skiing and then by his big mountain skiing. “He brought a downhill mentality, a downhill style to big mountain skiing,” said Rahlves, who at first took issue with Nobis’s claims that this type of skiing was gnarlier than World Cup downhill. “But when I first got to Alaska, I was like, whoa, Nobis is right! This has big consequences and it’s scary.”
Free skier Todd Ligare was a Dynastar teammate of Nobis on the big mountain circuit. Posting on Instagram, he said: “Jeremy Nobis is a hero of mine. He set the bar and opened minds in the world of fall line big mountain skiing. He showed me and countless others that skills earned skiing icy gates and could be translated to Alaska peaks, and also to the possibility of chasing that dream.”
Ligare was among many friends and colleagues who remembered Nobis’s extraordinary athletic talent in other sports like mountain biking and golf. That unquenchable thirst for action, however, came with a parallel pursuit of hard living. While bouncing around at ski jobs in the West, privately and publicly Nobis struggled, making the news for racking up four DUIs starting in 2006. As one friend said, “I just kept hoping that insanely motivated guy would reappear.”
Most recently, Nobis was arrested in Sun Valley for an outstanding warrant stemming from a vehicle crash while driving impaired in 2019. He is survived by his mother, Nancy Chartier and his sister, Shannon, and will be deeply missed by many friends, teammates, coaches and athletes around the world and throughout the sport. As Ligare closed in his post, “I will continue to be inspired by Nobis and want to say thank you for your contributions to the sport and your kindness towards me. RIP, brother.”
Amazing life lived
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More than a great friend and a fantastic skier
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