ASPEN—The ink is still wet on the contract Klaus Obermeyer signed to distribute his skiwear line in China. Half-a-world away, the ski school at Wengen, Switzerland, is sporting a uniform that features red Obermeyer parkas for this season and into the foreseeable future.
The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi is offering even more exposure for the Obermeyer product and with a glove still firmly planted in the company’s operations, Klaus has plenty to celebrate on his 93rd birthday, which is December 2.
Business is “bouncing back now,” though slowly, the ski apparel market more sensitive to snow than it is to the economy, Obermeyer said during the week of hosting sales reps previewing next year’s line that’s known as “Early Write.”
In the apparel business, he allowed, “If the snow conditions are perceived to be good, than people come out of the woodwork.”
If not, than “It’s like trying to sell boats in a lake with no water.”
He praised Aspen Skiing Co. for its investment in snowmaking and is remaining mindful to “save the snow for the people that come here” until another storm arrives.
90 seasons of skiing
Tiehack is Obermeyer’s favorite mountain these days, though you’ll still see him zooming around Ajax in his eponymous gear. The return of bright colors is welcome in Klaus’ world where “it allows you to have much more fun in the designing and putting together than when everything is black.”
“We have the freedom of using all kinds of colors, we can put green and black, blue and green. It’s so nice, it allows us to have fun.” Obermeyer joked, “We have black for particularly sad cases.”
Lighter weight, breathable stretch fabrics are welcome in comparison to the old school materials where “It took two people to lift one parka,” he laughed.
Obermeyer recognizes that a business decision is behind Skico’s choice of Helly Hanson for its pros and that really, it’s nothing personal.
“In Switzerland they pay us the full price for (the uniforms).” While in Aspen there’s a different arrangement between manufacturer and skiing company, he suggested. “ We can’t afford to be that generous.”
But there is one high-profile skier who might receive a complimentary outfit just in time for the 2014 Olympics.
Russia’s President “(Vladimir) Putin skis also. Maybe we will send him a parka,” Obermeyer said on a day that would include a half-mile swim at Aspen Meadows and maybe a game of tennis.