He was 21.
Six years later, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), and decided to spend the rest of his life raising awareness of the disease through the Can Do Center in Colorado.
After devoting his life to the cause, which changed the way MS is treated, Heuga died in 2010.
Through Mike Marolt's 2011 documentary "Can Do: The Legacy of Jimmie Heuga," which will be screened at the Egyptian Theatre on Thursday, Feb. 7, Park City will have the opportunity to get to know Heuga, his achievements and his cause.
The screening is sponsored by Terzian Galleries owner Karen Terzian.
"Jimmie is not only an inspiration to skiers, but has also been an inspiration to those who suffer MS," Terzian said. "Back when he was diagnosed, which was done through a process of elimination, the doctors told him to basically to go home and rest and don't do any exercise."
But Heuga decided to fight back by continuing to ski, walk and run.
"He would run laps and miles and basically used himself as his own guinea pig," Terzian said. "He would run five miles and then decide how he felt. On the days he couldn't run or walk very well, he would bike."
Since Heuga was already a world-class athlete, "he decided to wrap his mental discipline around exercising and continuing to maintain his health and move forward and establish the Heuga Center for Multiple Sclerosis ," Terzian explained.
Terzian's husband Jan Helen, helped raise the seed money to start the center.
"More than 25 years ago, Jan organized a group of top, world-class athletes, including Billy Kidd, Stein Eriksen and Bernard Russi, and challenged themselves to ski one million vertical miles to raise money to start the center," Terzian said. "It was a sponsored event. Jan knew Ross Perot, who had run for president, and Ross donated a helicopter and the athletes skied Mount Alyeska.
"They skied for 24 hours and that's how it started," she said.
The center, now called Can Do because of Jimmie's attitude, is more than 20 years old and helps people through scholarships and other programs, Terzian said.
"It not only helps inspire thousands of athletes, but everyday skiers and anyone with MS," she said.
Terzian's involvement with MS awareness has another facet.
"My mother was diagnosed with MS 37 years ago," she said. "We've always been involved in the cause."
While individual $10-tickets are available just for the film screening, there are limited number of tickets that cost $50 that will also allow admission to a post-screening reception at the Terzian Galleries, located at 309 Main St.
"We're are also donating 20 percent of our sales from Thursday through Sunday to help with the Jimmie Heuga Center Endowment that helps support the Can Do Center's activities," Terzian said. "Even if someone buys $100 piece of jewelry, we'll give a contribution, and it's a great way to help a great cause."
The Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St., will screen the film "Can Do: The Legacy of Jimmie Heuga" on Thursday, Feb. 7, at 6:30 p.m. Tickets for movie only are $10 each. For the movie and a reception at 7:30 pm at Terzian Galleries tickets are $50 each. All funds raised go to support the Jimmie Heuga Center Endowment to help people living with multiple sclerosis and their families. For more information, visit www.jhceevents.com .