75 years ago, Klaus Obermeyer stitched the first ski parka from a down comforter his mother gave him. His goal was to keep his ski students warm on the mountain. Safe and comfortable on the mountain meant more time to ski, and more time skiing meant fun and improvement.

Since then, the commitment to innovation and design sparked out of necessity in 1947 led to Klaus building Sport Obermeyer. We are thrilled to celebrate this milestone, and we are excited to share many Obermeyer moments captured over the decades.

After 75 years, the ultimate product we strive to design is delight in the heart of the mountains. Here are a few of our favorite snapshots with soundbites from Klaus Obermeyer from each decade during the Obermeyer journey…

The 40s

“Aspen was a ghost town in the 40s,” remembers Klaus Obermeyer. “You could buy a house for $300 to $400 in downtown Aspen in 1947. There were a lot of houses for sale then because people left when the mining industry left. There was no parking problem in downtown Aspen in 1947. We parked the cars opposite from the Hotel Jerome for the winter, and left them until the snow melted.”

A group of skiiers in Aspen in the 1940s
  • A 20-something Klaus instructing on Aspen Mountain.
  • Klaus modeling an early down parka.
  • The view of Aspen shot from Lift 1-A, in the infancy of our brand and Aspen Skiing Company.

The 50s

“This was Friedl Pfeifer’s dream. I knew him from St Anton skiing, and Friedl was in the 10th Mountain Division. He was a terrific skier,” says Klaus. “His dream was to make Aspen a ski resort. It worked, but it took a while. In the 50s we had the World Championships in Aspen, and the best skiers in the world came to our little town. Stein Ericksen came early to get used to the higher elevation. The races in the 1950s were sensational. We had great snow and sunshine the entire week during the races.”

Klaus Obermeyer ski jumping in the 1950s

  • The 1950s was a special time for skiing, particularly here in Aspen, Colorado.
  • Friedl Pfeifer’s vision for a ski area truly came to life during the decade.
  • Klaus was at the forefront of the scene, selling ski wear and instructing under the Fred Iselin Ski School.

The 60s

“I was very busy in the 1960s,” laughs Klaus Obermeyer at 103 years old. “I worked on this business at night and in the daytime I taught private lessons. We were teaching the Arlberg Technique in the 60s. I met the most amazing and nice people teaching skiing. It was a beautiful time—and a busy one. Skiing really got going during this decade. Once in awhile I took a night off to play chess with Walter Paepcke, he was a very good chess player. Some of our games lasted all night.”

Woman wearing Obermeyer fashion in the 1960s

  • The 60s were a truly fun time to be a part of skiing, and the combination of fashion and growth of the sport resulted in timeless and playful looks—such as a few shown here.

The 70s

“More young people came to Aspen in the 70s,” says Klaus. “You have to remember, people didn’t go outdoors in the winter much in these days, but they had seen beautiful pictures of skiing and came to Aspen to experience winter in the mountain for themselves.”

Obermeyer skiers in the 1970s

  • Many skiers will tell you that the 70s brought the “golden era” of skiing. Although we believe every era of skiing is golden, the bump bashing hot doggers and freedom of expression during this iconic decade made for an undeniable breakthrough in ski culture.
  • As we reflect on 75 years of Obermeyer, the 1970s certainly brings out some unbelievably rad style and innovation.

 The 80s

“Everyone thinks of the colors from the 80s,” says Klaus, “but that’s a dance like everything else. Colors change and then repeat eventually. Technically, though, outerwear changed a lot in the 1980s with the evolution of waterproof and breathable fabrics.”

Two men skiing and snowboarding in the 1980s

  • The 80s remains one of our favorite decades.
  • Klaus and Klaus Jr. show the way with a one plank-two plank combo on Aspen Highlands.
  • From the birth of snowboarding to the introduction of neon, it was the perfect storm for snow sports to become “totally radical!”

 The 90s

Neon colors and earth tones ruled this decade, but nothing is more noteworthy than snowboarding’s absolute influence during the 1990s. Skiing was challenged by snowboarding in the early parts of the 90s and then started to see a rebirth in popularity as the decade wore on. We always celebrated snow sliding and the beauty of the two passions coexisting together.

Two men skiing in the 1990s

  • The 1990s stands out as a pivotal time in action sports.
  • With bright colors, extreme lines, and progressive snow sliding, this 10-year time pushed the limits of how we look at snow as much as any other decade we can remember.
  • This was a decade for the books.

The 2000s

It blows our mind that this decade started more than 20 years ago. Time flies when you’re having fun! Ski design changed everything as shaped skis morphed into wide skis with rocker. Snowboarding’s stranglehold on style eased a bit while still pushing two-plank sliders in creative directions. X Games in our backyard carried Aspen and snowsports to the masses. This decade feels like yesterday, but now it borders on “old school.”

skiers and snowboarders building a jump in Obermeyer apparel

  • This doesn’t seem like it happened too long ago, right?
  • The early 2000s marked cultural significance in the snow sports industry. The progression of freeskiing and snowboarding made waves, as did ski fashion! 🔥

The 2010s

“The philosophy of Obermeyer didn’t go by decade. Our aim was to keep making life better in the mountains. That’s still our philosophy,” says Klaus. “We have always tried to make things that make us proud and make people’s time in the mountains more fun and more safe.”

Man jumping over a crevice in his skis

  • The last decade held a lot of fun for us at Obermeyer, from @strictlycreate film premieres to alpine haute couture in Switzerland.
  • Plus, the milestone of our very own Klaus Obermeyer turning 100!
  • Colorado Governor Jared Polis naming January 29th Klaus Obermeyer Day

It’s been an amazing ride for Obermeyer. But we’re just getting started. The foundation that Klaus has laid for us is inspiring and historical. We’re looking forward to what the next 75 years for Obermeyer has in store. One thing we know for sure, we’ll be out there soaking it up and doing everything we can to protect this amazing world we live in.

“Being outdoors is life,” says Klaus. “And it’s a good life we’re lucky to live.”


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