When it comes to outerwear companies, you usually hear the word “innovation” being thrown around, but at Obermeyer they mean it. Klaus Obermeyer founded the Aspen, Colorado based company in 1947 and hasn’t looked back. Over the past 60 years, Obermeyer has contributed over 21 new concepts to the snow sports market and is credited with inventing the turtleneck and the first down parka to name a few.
The success of Obermeyer is directly attributed to the man who started it all. It has been Klaus’s determination and passion for the sport of skiing that has kept Obermeyer ahead of the curve when it comes to high-quality outerwear.
The first down parka was born in 1948, during a time when Klaus was a ski instructor in Aspen. The warm coats we have today did not exist then, so it was hard to stay warm while riding the lift to the top of the mountain. Klaus decided to rip apart a down blanket his mother sent him from Germany to fashion the first down parka to keep ski school students warm and comfortable. It was from this ingenuity that the Obermeyer clothing line was formed.
Since then, Obermeyer’s innovations have touched many aspects of the ski industry, including solving the issue of kids outgrowing their winter gear with the I-Grow line. This revolutionary product line extends the life of kids’ winter clothing by folding extra material into the outerwear that can lengthen the jackets and pants when needed to last multiple seasons as they continue to grow.
Today, Obermeyer stays ahead of its competitors with new technology inspired from everyday life in the mountains. The company’s main office is still in Aspen, and employees are still pushing the limits. Being located in Aspen keeps employees out in the field, giving them the opportunity to product test in their own back yard. At Obermeyer, employees are blessed with ski lunch breaks as well as the “powder rule”. If more than 6” of snow fall overnight, employees get the morning off to ski, no questions asked. Klaus not only gives back to his employees, but also to the community by sponsoring local and national skiers.
Although Klaus is credited with many pivotal inventions, he never patented them because he wants to share them with the ski community. He truly embodies the value of life and experience over money.