US Olympic skier Tyler Palmer will be the recipient of the New England Ski Museum’s 8th annual Spirit of Skiing award at the group’s annual meeting and dinner on November 2, 2013 at the Attitash Grand Summit Hotel. The award honors a figure from the sport of skiing who embodies the axiom originally voiced by Dartmouth and St. Lawrence ski coach Otto Schniebs that skiing is not just a sport, but a way of life. As a Spirit of Skiing honoree, Palmer will join such greats as Stein Eriksen, Tom Corcoran, Georg Capaul, Penny Pitou, Bernie Weichsel and Herbert Schneider.
In a recent interview, Tyler Palmer attributed a good deal of his success to his family, friends, fellow skiers and coaches over the years. He spoke particularly about the influence of 2009 Spirit of Skiing honoree Herbert Schneider:
“Herbert had a quiet demeanor…he had his finger on the pulse of everything in skiing, and being Hannes’ son I think it probably came to him naturally….he was like the king of the sport, he handled it with such humility and respect, and he cherished it, and he taught me to cherish it too.”
Palmer’s family moved to North Conway about 1957, and he and his brother skied all the local areas–Intervale, Black Mountain, Wildcat, and especially Cranmore, which hosted the junior program in which school children all skied for an afternoon each week. His first race was at Black Mountain in Jackson. Tyler’s younger brother Terry was heavier and faster for much of their youth, and Tyler credits his brother as a huge motivational force in his racing career.
Tyler Palmer racing in a Gibson Race at Mount Cranmore
Tyler Palmer racing in a Gibson Race at Mount Cranmore. Photo by Dick Smith
Austrian coaches Edi Mall and Putzi Frandl, who both taught at Cranmore for several years when Tyler and Terry were young, were also influential instructors for Tyler. As a ski team member, Bob Beattie, Billy Kidd, Spider Sabich, Billy Heuga and Bobby Cochran all helped Palmer with various aspects of his racing.
Following his stint with the US ski team at the 1972 Winter Olympic Games in Sapporo, Palmer traveled with the pro race circuit until 1980, then served as a ski coach at Holderness and later Sun Valley.
Relaxing in his Kearsarge home, Palmer reflected on the importance of his upbringing in the Mount Washington Valley and the racing success that his generation enjoyed, several decades after Olympians Brooks Dodge, Imogene Opton and Paula Kann emerged from the same milieu: “Looking back on it, the thing I’m most proud of is three of us from North Conway (Tyler, Terry and David Currier) made the ’72 Olympic team…and on an eight-man team, that was huge.”
The event on November 2 is open to the public. Tickets for the dinner buffet are $55 prior to October 1 and $65 thereafter, available by calling the ski museum at 603-823-7177 or by visiting the Museum’s online shop.