When I heard about the tragic death of one of my best friends, Jerimiah James Pebley, I was spending time on the island of Kauai in Hawaii. It’s a very spiritual place which somehow gave me some comfort in a very difficult time and the strength I needed to write this. Most of Jerimiah’s friends knew him as “Miah” and as a person who had a larger than life personality, a priceless sense of humor and as someone who was just a good human being. He grew up in Big Bear and one of his best friends during those years was Janna Meyen Weatherby. “Miah was always there for me when I needed support,” says Janna. “It makes me smile when I think of how he’d tell stories of us growing up in Big Bear and terrorizing the neighborhood. I heard them all more than once but that’s a special bond you share with those who you grow up with and go through life together with.”
Miah was one of those people out there who have made significant contributions to the snowboard world without a lot of recognition for it⎯an unsung hero of our industry, if you will. I first met Miah the year that Snow Summit bought Bear Mountain and the two SoCal resorts merged. I was on the Bear side working in marketing and he was on the Summit side working in terrain park development. Despite each coming from the “other side,” we immediately hit it off and became really solid friends. He was an instrumental part of the development of the first-ever all-mountain terrain park. He began his career under the tutelage of Chris “Gunny” Gunnarson. “Miah started working for me when he was 16-years-old at Snow Summit,” says Gunny. “From there, we traveled the world working on all kinds of adventures in the snow. I remember how he always brought his New Era cap carrying case so his lids would stay clean and perfectly shaped.” Miah was a bit neurotic by nature but it was in a way that made people smile and laugh and a trait that truly helped him build his career as he would strive for perfection in his work. He was always willing to go the extra mile to get it done right even if it meant multiple all-nighters in his snowcat.
After a couple of years building some of the best parks in the world at Bear Mountain, Miah picked up and moved to Truckee where he, once again, began working directly under Gunny⎯this time as a part of Snow Park Technologies (SPT). “It’s kind of remarkable how far his reach extended in the snowboard world,” says Gunny. “Snow Summit in the early park days, Bear Mountain and SPT as well as building courses for events such as the X Games and US Opens and working with several resorts across the country and the world. He had a natural ability to make personal connections with people everywhere he went. He eventually became my right hand man at SPT and one of my tightest friends.” Miah was also, in part, responsible for countless unique park builds for some of the most infamous film and photo shoots in the history of snowboarding including work with Mack Dawg, Wildcats, Forum, Burton, Nixon, DC and dozens of others. Most recently, Miah had returned home to Big Bear to spend more time with his family and he took up building the terrain parks and special event setups for Mountain High Resort.
Miah has always wanted to go to Hawaii but never made it. So after a day of remembering him, I decided that it seemed only fitting to head to the western most part of the island of Kauai, and the literal end of the road, to a place known as Polihale. According to ancient Hawaiian mythology, Polihale is the gateway to the afterworld. I did a solo paddle out into the warm, aqua-blue tropical water and put a ring of flowers, known as a lei, out to sea in his honor. As the lei drift out into the Pacific, I couldn’t help but think of Miah’s mischievous grin, his life, his contributions and the people he left behind⎯his parents, Jim and Penny, brother, Rob, sister, Julie and more friends who deeply care for him than he could have ever possibly realized. “I know you are in heaven now telling stories of the life you lived with your friends,” says Janna. “I can hear the angels laughing. Nothing but love my brother. Until we meet again…” Rest in peace Miah. We all miss you. You will live on in our hearts and on our minds.