Klaus Obermeyer welcoming the first snow in Aspen, Colorado
Klaus Obermeyer was born December 2, 1919 in the small Bavarian alpine village of Oberstaufen, Germany. At the age of three Klaus fashioned his first pair of skis out of a thin flexible orange crate board and string. Much to his mother’s dismay he nailed his good buckle house shoes to these skis and he was off.
As a young man Klaus studied to become an Aeronautical Engineer in Munich, Germany. Klaus made his way to the United States at the age of 27. He spent his first winter in Sun Valley where he sold Bavarian Neckties and shoestrings alongside film producer Warren Miller. After his first Winter season he moved to Aspen where he became a ski school instructor. It was this job that lead to the founding of Sport Obermeyer in 1947.
Skiing was a relatively new sport at the time and people were not properly dressed for the sport. He was determined to keep his ski school students on the slopes and the only way to do this was to keep them warm and comfortable. Klaus made a parka out of the down blanket his mother packed for him when he left for the states. Klaus fondly remembers her saying that if you are going to North America it must be cold because it has “North” in the name!
Klaus being a natural born innovator also produced the first high alpine sunscreen, two pronged ski brakes, turtle necks, nylon wind-shirts, mirrored sunglasses and double lensed goggles just to name a few. In 1961 the first Obermeyer factory warehouse was opened in Aspen. As the business flourished the warehouse was moved down to Denver but the main offices remain in Aspen to this day.
At 97 Klaus lives on his 100 acre ranch in the Roaring Fork Valley and comes into work five days a week with a smile and hello to each and every employee. Klaus is a true legend in the ski industry. His enthusiasm is contagious, his energy seemingly endless and his optimism is without bounds. To hear him yodel is to experience the elation within his soul and to watch him ski is to witness his true love for the sport.
2015 Colorado Business Hall Of Fame
2006 Aspen Business of the Year - Aspen Chamber Resort Association
2004 American Ski Classic Vail/Beaver Creek Legends Giant Slalom 2nd place
2004 Business Man of the Year, Aspen Daily News
2003 North American Ski Journalists Association Lifetime Achievement Award
2001 Aspen Hall of Fame
1997 Colorado Ski Hall of Fame
1997 National Ski Hall of Fame Medal of Honor
1999 SnowSports Industries America (SIA) Industry Appreciation Award
17th Annual BEWI awards for "Outstanding Contributions to the Sport of Skiing”
1997 EOY (Entrepreneur of the Year) Program, Ernst & Young – Finalist
1994 EOY (Entrepreneur of the Year) Program, Ernst & Young – Runner-Up
1985 Pioneer of Skiing Governor’s Cup – Telluride