Blazing a trail :Pioneer in local cross country skiing to help out 2002 Olympics
Far West Nordic Coach Glenn Jobe is no stranger to Olympic dreams. As a native of Alturas, Calif., Jobe caught his first glimpse of the games at Squaw Valley in 1960.
Twenty years later, he was competing for the United States Olympics Biathlon team in Lake Placid.
The 2002 games in Salt Lake City will present a new Olympic opportunity for Jobe, when he will take on the Nordic course at Soldier Hollow before a single Olympian has graced the snow.
Jobe, along with Washington state resident Laura McCabe, will serve as a coordinator of the Olympic forerunners. This position, which involves organizing and assisting the skiers prior to and following the races, is a considerable accomplishment for a man who had never stepped into a pair of cross country skis until he was in his twenties.
Spending his youth on a cattle farm in Alturas taught Jobe many valuable life skills including shooting a rifle, which he would later use in Biathlon competition. An avid Alpine skier, Jobe watched his first Nordic event at the Squaw Valley Olympic games and admits he was intrigued by this foreign sport.
Skiing for the University of Nevada-Reno’s Alpine team provided the setting for Jobe to realize his cross country talent, as he replaced an injured Nordic team member in a race.
“Luckily we wore the same size and I was able to jump in and ski for him,” said Jobe. While cross country skiing for the first time is a challenging and often humiliating task, doing so in a collegiate level race is virtually unheard of.
“It was not really that bad,” laughed Jobe, “I fell a dozen times or so, but made it to the finish in one piece.”
After this initial race, Jobe ended his downhill career and turned his attention to a new form of skiing. He finished his last year of college on the Nordic team and continued to compete and travel after graduation. In 1975, Jobe met up with a Biathlon coach and his life changed completely.
Combining his shooting skills and new-found love for Nordic skiing, Jobe tried out for the World Cup Biathlon team two times before making the squad in 1978. He followed this feat in 1979 with another year on the team, before making the U.S. Olympic team in 1980.
The young skier traveled the world through skiing, culminating his competitive career with a National Championship in 1981. Propelling himself to the forefront of the cross country skiing world, Jobe remained close to home, moving to Kirkwood and starting the Kirkwood Cross Country area with his wife in 1973.
When that area had reached its maximum capacity, Jobe moved to Truckee and founded the Tahoe Donner Cross Country Center, which continues to host numerous races as well as Nordic loving locals and visitors.
With all of the spare time that Jobe had in between national competitions, running a successful Nordic center and family life, he also dedicated many hours to coaching and leading Junior Olympic trips. His connection to youth was sealed five years ago when he adopted some budding Far West skiers and began to transform the program into what it is today.
Currently, the Truckee/North Tahoe area boasts a hugely successful turnout of young Nordic skiers, thanks to the hard work of men like Jobe and Bill Sterling.
“When I first started with Far West, we would have to look at the back page of the results to see how we did, now we can look at the top of the list – that is a great feeling,” said Jobe.
His dedication to young people and love of the sport has won him the honor of playing an integral role in the 2002 Olympic games. The competition for the two forerunner coordinator positions is fierce. Jobe’s qualifications, such as former Olympian, coach and leader, are hardly small accomplishments.
Jobe will lead the pack of 30 forerunners through the course prior to the start of each event, thus grooming the snow for the first skiers off the line. He has just returned from Soldier Hollow, where he had the privilege of skiing the course in preparation for next year’s games.
“Standing at the start and finish and witnessing some of the best skiers in the sport, skiing through the course before the race – this is more exciting for me than competing myself,” said Jobe.
As the games draw closer, Jobe will continue to work with local Far West skiers in the hopes that some of his own team may join him as forerunners in the greatest event the sport offers.
“Having our skiers there with me, and Truckee fans cheering me on is the most thrilling part of it all,” Jobe added.
As the 2002 games are only a day’s drive away, area Nordic enthusiasts can watch the best skiers in the world, old and young.
Glenn Jobe will be at the front of it all, clearing the way for young racers to take the course: something he is no stranger to.
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As seniors from North Tahoe collected diplomas this week, a group of Lakers continued another local tradition — capturing first place at the boys’ regional golf championship.