The date was Jan. 23, 1971 at St. Moritz, Switzerland. New Hampshire native Tyler Palmer won a World Cup slalom - the first-ever victory for an American male ski racer whose "go for broke" style distinguished him in both an amateur and pro career.
Palmer's health has seriously deteriorated through a debilitating combination of diabetes and Addison's Disease, neither of which have a cure. Many of his friends in the ski world are reaching out to help because, as they put it, "Tyler is rich in spirit, but not in coin." He has no medical insurance and no funds for medical help.
Palmer, 61, had been a "dedicated, passionate" coach with the Sun Valley Ski Educational Foundation (SVSEF) since 2000, where he was known to imbue his racers with a sense of ski racing history. He was responsible for coaching J1 and J2 racers (ages 15 and older).
"I've been a ski coach for 40 years and I have never met a more passionate coach than Tyler," SVSEF Alpine Program Director Ruben Macaya told OnTheSnow. "He helped our athletes with every single aspect of the sport from technical issues to just keeping them happy."
Macaya said one of things that Palmer continually instilled in his racers was this advice: "It is not how you do on your good days that matters as much as how do your bad days."
Things hit bottom for Palmer at a race camp at Mammoth Mt., Calif. last summer. His body literally shut down and was diagnosed with Addison's on top of the diabetes after being rushed to the hospital.
Friends say Palmer will need a regimen of steroids, cortisone, and insulin for the rest of his life and "desperately needs to be seen by an Addison's specialist," of which there are only a handful of experts in the country.
Palmer is home in his native New Hampshire, living with his daughter, Taryn, and their family, but reportedly has not been to a doctor in months because of the financial situation. A trail at Waterville Valley Ski Area in NH is named "And Tyler Too." Palmer's brother Terry was also a U.S. Ski Team and pro racer.
Some of the friends who are reaching out include familiar ski industry names like Doug Woodcock, Kiki Cutter, Otto Tschudi, Hank Kashiwa, Billy Kidd, and Bob Beattie.
Those wishing to contribute to a fund that will be used to help defray Palmer's medical and living expenses may send a check to The Bald Mt. Rescue Fund, c/o Brian Barsotti, P.O. Box 370, Ketchum, ID 83340.