Klaus Obermeyer as active as ever at 96 years young | AspenTimes.com

Klaus Obermeyer as active as ever at 96 years young

Scott Condon
The Aspen Times
Klaus Obermeyer, left, breaks into a smile Wednesday at his 96th birthday party while he joins Rupert Oberlohr and Garhard Rill in a Bavarian song. Not visible is zither player Hans Rieger.
Scott Condon/The Aspen Times |

Age-defying Aspen icon Klaus Obermeyer celebrated his 96th birthday Wednesday by — how else? — yodeling, eating apple strudel and trading tales with friends.

Obermeyer, who created skiwear manufacturer Sport Obermeyer in Aspen in 1947, hosted a party at his firm’s headquarters at the Aspen Business Center. He joined the Bavarian band Alpine Echo for a couple of songs and treated the audience to a few yodels. The strudel was topped with generous heaps of whipped cream.

“It’s just good to see some friends,” he said.

Prior to the party, Obermeyer told The Aspen Times that he remains in good health and gets out on the slopes as often as possible. Conditions were excellent Monday after six inches of snow fell, he said.

Obermeyer’s fitness routine grabbed the attention of The Wall Street Journal, which ran a feature story about him Monday. The headline on the story in the “Life” section was: “At 95, a Lifelong Skier Says the Source of His Vitality is His Workout.”

Obermeyer talked about his regular routine of swimming at the Aspen Meadows resort or the pool at his office building, practicing the “peaceful martial art form” of aikido and, of course, skiing.

He told The Aspen Times that he swims a little more than one-half mile every day. “In one year, I swim (the equivalent) of Aspen to Denver and then the next year I swim back,” he said.

It’s little wonder that some of his employees have stickers or patches that say, “Be Like Klaus.”

Obermeyer remains in the thick of running the company he founded to keep skiers warm and coming back to the slopes when he was a ski instructor at Aspen Mountain in 1947. He is credited with creating the first down parka.

Sport Obermeyer’s business grew 15 percent in dollar volume last year, he said. They are looking for 15 to 20 percent growth this year.

He credited the success to Sport Obermeyer’s focus on skiwear. “There are few companies left that specialize in ski clothing,” he said.

The company’s motto is: “Technical and stylish ski clothing designed and tested in Aspen, CO.”

Skiwear is continually getting lighter without sacrificing waterproofing, he said. It’s breathable but also warm. “We just keep making things that work better,” he said.

Success also depends on good snow. While California suffered through another drought last ski season, there was decent snow elsewhere in the country. “Most Mom and Pop specialty shops are in the East, and they’ve had a lot of snow the last two years,” Obermeyer said.

Early-season snow throughout the western U.S. helped spur sales this year, he said. Obermeyer is always fond of saying snow makes people in the ski industry look smart.

He’s looking smart after nearly 70 years in business, and he’s definitely still having fun.