Klaus Obermeyer celebrates 94th birthday

Scott Condon
The Aspen Times
Scott Condon/The Aspen Times

Aspen icon Klaus Obermeyer figures that if he never slows down, he’ll never grow old.

Obermeyer celebrated his 94th birthday Monday by sharing apple strudel and whipped cream with family, friends and employees at his ski-wear company’s headquarters at the Aspen Business Center. But other than taking an hour off for the party, he was undertaking two activities that have kept him youthful — working and swimming.

Obermeyer said he was headed to the Aspen Meadows later that day to swim to celebrate his birthday. He swims half a mile every day.

“In one year, I swim all the way to Denver,” he said while breaking into the smile that’s frequently on his face. “And the next year I swim all the way back.”

“I think it’s important to keep moving.”
Klaus Obermeyer

Jokes aside, Obermeyer said he is a firm believer that you have to regularly exercise your muscles, especially as a senior citizen, to prevent losing them. He plays tennis, skis, swims, hikes and continues to pursue all sorts of outdoor activities.

“I think it’s important to keep moving,” he said during one of the few moments at the party when he wasn’t smiling or laughing.

Obermeyer broke his right femur in a skiing accident at Tiehack in March 2011, but he was right back on the slopes the following season. He still skis as frequently as he can.

Obermeyer has been an unofficial “Mr. Aspen” and a goodwill ambassador for the resort since he fled post-war Germany in the 1947 and arrived in Aspen shortly after. His story is well known — as a ski instructor he was frustrated from losing students because it was too cold for them. He started a side business of making ski parkas from goose-down comforters to sell to his students and keep them warm. Sport Obermeyer was born and now is in its 67th year.

Obermeyer said Monday the season has gotten off to a good start for his firm because of cold weather around the country. He’s always fond of saying that snow makes everyone in the ski industry look like a genius.

Scores of well-wishers, many of them longtime Aspenites, popped into Obermeyer’s party. At one point, he embraced Aspen Times columnist and former editor Mary Eshbaugh Hayes and told her, “You are Aspen.” The same can be said about him.

At another point, Obermeyer explained his positive outlook to a small group chatting with him. “A shared problem is one-half the problem. A shared pleasure is double the pleasure,” he said.

Obermeyer didn’t address the group as a whole but he did treat them to his signature Bavarian yodel. His grandson, Karl Obermeyer, played the accordion throughout the birthday bash.