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Holladay Journal

Holladay resident and Olympian leaves a legacy of strength

May 05, 2021 08:53AM ● By Sona Schmidt Harris

Darrell “Pinky” Robison’s children accept his posthumous award for his induction into the Intermountain Ski Hall of Fame in 2019. Left to right: Dana Robison, Patrick Robison, (the announcer), Cate Dyer and Casey Sandack. (Park Record, with permission)

By Sona Schmidt-Harris | [email protected]

As a boy, Darrell Robison wanted to be a skier. However, there were not many opportunities to ski in Peoria, Illinois. Then his family moved to Salt Lake City when he was 12 years old. 

“He was an interesting person, I think, because he didn’t start skiing until he was around 14. He learned at 14 and really only trained for a few years before he became quite good. Most skiers start when they’re really young, like 2 or 3,” said Robison’s daughter Cate Dyer.

Robison was so fond of the sport, he worked odd jobs in exchange for free skiing. Soon, he was winning competitions at the local, collegiate, national and international levels. Some of his notable accomplishments include: first place in the slalom at the Pan American Games in 1954, and a top-22 finish in the 1952 Olympic Winter Games in Oslo, Norway. 

His notoriety was sealed while skiing for the University of Utah. In a race at Sun Valley, Robison felt a button give way as he started the event. By the time he reached the finish line, his red long johns were visible for all to see.

Also visible when Robison was 17 years old was a brief lack of front teeth. “I believe it was a practice downhill race. They were getting ready for the Olympic tryouts…he got hit, and it knocked out all seven of his teeth,” Dyer said.

Handsome and amiable, Robison was in the first ski movie ever made called, “Ski Crazy.”

“It was always cool growing up with a ski dad. It was just fun because people knew him,” Dyer said. “He was just really well loved.”

Robison lived in Holladay most of his adult life and had five children—three from a previous marriage and two from his last marriage to Mary, mother of Cate and Patrick Robinson.

Patrick took after his father in several ways. “My brother is a beautiful, graceful skier like my dad,” Dyer said.

And just like Darrell persevered in skiing, Patrick perseveres in a battle for his life. At 39 years old, Patrick learned he had blood cancer. 

“He was diagnosed on May 8, 2018, and the cancer…had consumed like 75% of his body. So he was really sick,” Dyer said.

Patrick was admitted to the Huntsman Cancer Institute where he was hospitalized for 30 days. 

“He’s been doing chemo ever since. His last round of chemo will be in October,” Dyer said. “They do already consider him cured. He is in full remission.”

Patrick has done remarkably well. The average time for chemotherapy for this blood cancer is five years, but because he has been doing so well, he is scheduled to complete chemotherapy in three years.

“He was athletic like my dad, and I think that helped,” Dyer said.

Robison passed away in 2002 and is not here to support his son. However, Dyer said he would be proud of Patrick.

“I think as he got older, and had us (my brother and I), he would probably just like to be remembered as a good dad and a good neighbor,” Dyer said. “He was such a happy, gentle, generous person, and he loved his family more than anything.”

Robison was posthumously inducted into the Intermountain Ski Hall of Fame in 2019. His children accepted the award on his behalf. To learn more about Darrell “Pinky” Robison, visit the Alf Engen Ski Museum website.