Klaus Obermeyer is clearly not wired to sit back, relax and enjoy everything he has accomplished as he approaches the century mark of his life. Obermeyer is always thinking ahead to ensure Sport Obermeyer, the company he founded in 1947, does not fall behind in the ski and snowsports industry. He is still a daily presence at the company’s Aspen, Colorado office with his 100th birthday about to be celebrated on December 2. The innovative spirit dating to his early childhood is a big reason for Obermeyer’s induction in the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame Class of 2020. At age 3, the German-born Obermeyer created his first set of skis from flexible crate board and string. He studied to become an aeronautical engineer before coming to the United States at age 27. After one winter, he moved to Aspen to become a ski school instructor. One of the first things Obermeyer noticed was the need for proper clothing so more people would be able to keep warm and stay on the slopes. Obermeyer made a parka from the down blanket his mother sent with him to the U.S. He joked that it resulted in him having feathers in his cereal for weeks.
What Obermeyer also had was the genesis for a company that changed the world of ski gear. Zip turtlenecks, nylon wind-shirts, mirrored sunglasses, double-lensed goggles, two-pronged ski brakes, ski boots and the first high alpine sunscreen were all created to enhance Obermeyer’s philosophy that “skiing is a celebration of life and its celebrants must be comfortable to enjoy it.” The quest to ensure that philosophy continues as the company released the light and versatile “Klaus Jacket” a year ago. But Obermeyer’s success has not come at all costs. Sport Obermeyer is conscious of the environment and researches the chemicals that can be used so the company’s garments are water repellent and are not a health hazard. He also remains fiercely loyal to retailers who sell the Sport Obermeyer brand. Obermeyer helps retailers who may have a tough season because of a lack of snow, listens to their concerns. Obermeyer’s enthusiasm for the ski and snow industry and what it means to so many people is reflected in his amazing attendance streak at the annual Snow Show. Since 1960, he has not missed the opportunity to enthusiastically greet as many attendees as possible.