2012 Industry Achievement Award Winner:
Klaus F. Obermeyer
Klaus Obermeyer’s enthusiasm is contagious, his energy seemingly endless and his optimism without bounds. To hear him yodel is to experience the depth of his spirit. To watch him ski is to witness his true love of the sport. It all began in Oberstaufen, Germany the small Bavarian village in the Alps where Klaus was born. At age 3 Klaus fashioned his first pair of skis out of thin flexible orange crate boards and string to make a tip. To his mother’s dismay he nailed his good buckle house shoes to these skis. Invention out of necessity began at an early age for Klaus.
As a young man Klaus studied to become an Aeronautical Engineer in Munich, Germany. He also pursued his passions of rock climbing, ski mountaineering, ski jumping, ski racing and flying sail planes.
Klaus made his way to the United States on a fourteen day boat ride at the age of 27. He later arrived in Aspen where his friend Friedl Pfeifer had opened the Aspen Ski School. He was hired as an instructor earning $10 per day. Skiing was a relatively new sport in the U.S and skiers rode the lift wearing restrictive city overcoats and complained about being cold. Sensing that people would spend more time on the slopes if they were warm and comfortable, Klaus followed his entrepreneurial spirit and cut up the down comforter his mother had sent with him and made a down coat.
Klaus founded Sport Obermeyer in 1947. As the sport of skiing evolved so did his business. His accomplishments include: high altitude sun tan lotion, precision ground mirrored sunglasses, double layered ski boots, ski turtleneck, nylon wind shirt, two-pronged ski brakes, the first aluminum ski poles, and water-proof breathable fabrics. Sport Obermeyer continues to thrive in Aspen.
Obermeyer’s commitment to producing high quality, performance-oriented skiwear at a fair price was fueled by Klaus’ personal commitment to excellence. His true passion for skiing, and an impeccable reputation in the industry for continued customer satisfaction demonstrates that Klaus Obermeyer embodies the necessary requisites for long-term success in the sport.
Klaus leads by example skiing most days of the season, “The days you don’t ski, they don’t come back”.
His biggest achievement: To be part of the group of pioneers who successfully contributed to improving the function of ski equipment and winter sportswear.
At 93, Klaus continues to work at the office every day, play tennis in the summer and swim a ½ mile a day.