Klaus Obermeyer Turns 90 And Skis Almost Everyday
By Steve Kopitz
The ski equipment and apparel industry has become big business with most of the big name now owned by large privately held or pubic companies. In these days of ski companies being bought and sold constantly one company really stands out as different. Obermeyer ski apparel is still owned by it’s founder Klaus Obermeyer. Klaus is a very unique guy. His company is the Real McCoy, a ski company that hasn’t lost touch with what the sport is all about. Located in Aspen, Colorado they have been selling ski jackets and apparel for over 60 years. They only sell there product to true ski specialty stores, no big box department stores like many other brands have done. Klaus runs his company like a big family. It is staffed with a very loyal and dedicated staff of skiers, most of which have been with the company for many years if not decades. Aspen is there laboratory where they get to play, ski and test there products. They even have a “Powder Rule”. That’s where any work day that there is 12” or more of fresh powder in the morning the employees don’t have to come in until noon. Wow! That’s a great company policy. This last weekend I was in Aspen to visit the Obermeyer headquarters. Each year they fly in all of there best dealers to see there new line for the next season, spend a little time with there staff and get a bit of skiing in. I was fortunate to be there in the same week that Klaus celebrated his 90th birthday. He is an absolutely amazing man. At 90 years young he is as sharp as every. I got a chance to spend a little time with him. We talked about politics, current events, the ski business, his philosophies and he told a couple of great jokes. He is one of the most upbeat and positive people I have ever met.
But here is what is the most amazing. At 90 years old he still skis almost every day. Each day around lunch time if the weather is decent he puts on his ski boots in his office, get’s into his Mercedes, and drives to Ajax (Aspen Mountain) about 5 minutes away with his skis boots on. He parks his car, straps on his skis, goes up in the Gondola and then proceeds to ski down the mountain. Now I have not had a chance to ski with Klaus but everyone tells me that he skies so fast that almost no one can keep up with him. He then gets back into his car with his ski boots still on and drives back to the office. Can you imagine this, at 90 he is still skiing? Double WOW! I just hope that one day I can grow up and be like Klaus.