On the Hill: Legend in a bucket
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO, Colorado
ASPEN ” Stepping up to the gondola loading area, I had a happy surprise: Standing there, also single, happened to be my frequent ski buddy, the guy we call the Miracle Man. But, both being single, we were guided into separate cars. As I entered the gondola, I had happy surprise number two: I’d be sharing the ride with Aspen’s other Miracle Man.
My only previous contact with Klaus Obermeyer was at a distance, but it was memorable. Standing atop Aspen’s Strawpile run some five years ago, a smiling, silver-haired streak went by about as fast as I’ve ever seen anyone go down a mountain. That was the 83-year-old version of Obermeyer.
Klaus doesn’t seem to have lost anything since then. The smile is still permanent, radiant. The enthusiasm ” for everything, but especially skiing ” is enormous.
I introduced myself, and while I hesitated to barrage him with questions, I didn’t want to waste an opportunity to absorb some part of the legendary skier, clothesmaker, Aspen icon, eternal optimist. I learned that he still skies virtually every day (“Because if you miss a day, you’ll never get it back”), that he occasionally snowboards (“Because you float in the snow. But with the fat skis these days, you get almost the same thing”), and his opinion of the conditions that day (“Perfect!”). In fact, it hadn’t snowed in over a week, the coverage ranged from scratchy to hard. I got the feeling that, in Klaus’ view, the conditions are always perfect.
Sharing our cabin were four young folks from Argentina. Klaus charmed them with his knowledge of their continent’s ski areas: Las Lenas, Portillo. I asked him if he had done much skiing in South America, and Klaus said no, he hadn’t been at all, his long-distance trips are always back to Europe, where he was born and raised.
“Just one more thing left to do,” I told the 88-year-old.
Klaus’ smile got only bigger with the thought.
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A speeding car on Tuesday morning crashed into and destroyed part of the winter closure gate on Maroon Creek Road.