Klaus Obermeyer’s Secrets to a Long, Vibrant Life

Klaus Obermeyer skiing on Aspen Mountain

Klaus Obermeyer at 91 years of age skiing on Aspen Mountain

Ski industry pioneer Klaus Obermeyer turns 92 today.  Klaus founded Sport Obermeyer 64 years ago in 1947 in Aspen, Colorado.  Vegan Magazine recently interviewed him to find out his longevity secrets.  His employees coined the term “Be Like Klaus” and put it on a bumper sticker. Robert Yturri, SVP Product & Brand Management at Sport Obermeyer tells us about it, “You’d be hard pressed to ever meet someone with even half the appreciation and zest for life than that of Klaus Obermeyer. At 92 years old, he’s always remained dedicated to improving all of our healthy lifestyles in winter – still runs his company AND manages to get an hour or two’s worth of turns on the hill each day there’s snow. He’s told me he wakes up every day with a smile on his face, and that he’s forever grateful to have ‘choices’ in life. And he passes on that positive attitude to everyone lucky enough to meet him.”

VM: Is it true that at 92 years of age you are still running your company on a day-to-day basis?

KO: Yes.

VM: Have you ever thought of retiring?

KO:  No! What is retirement? You have to stay busy and active or you die.

VM: What have been your proudest business achievements?

KO:  We are making products for a fun industry and we, as a company, are having fun doing it. We have helped grow the ski industry by making things progressively easier and more comfortable for skiers. We are always looking at ways to tread lightly on the planet and be greener. Our company building is 60% solar heated and we are using responsible textiles in our clothing by using recycled and recyclable materials.

VM: At the age of 92, it’s amazing that you are still so active and energetic. What’s your secret?

KO:  You must work out; if not you slowly degenerate. Exercising keeps your bones and muscles strong.

VM: Do you follow a healthy diet?

KO:  Yes, I am a Vegan for the most part, but not fanatic – I will break the rules sometimes. I never count calories and never consume more than I can burn off.

VM: What do you normally eat for breakfast?

KO:  Bircher Müesli, invented by Dr. Bircher-Benner around the turn of the century. He was a Swiss physician and nutritional pioneer who healed very sick patients with a raw, vegan diet. The original Swiss recipe that I eat has far more fruit than grains. I also make my own fresh juice. I live on a ranch down valley from Aspen and grow organic fruits and vegetables.

VM: What other foods do you eat on a daily basis? Do you think the foods you eat have played a role in your longevity and stamina?

KO: Yes. I eat mostly fruits and vegetables. Meat and dairy are not good for us and processed foods and soft drinks loaded with sugar are poison – I never touch them.

VM: Are you ready to get back on your skis this season? How many days do you normally ski in a season?

KO: Yes! I ski every day. The days you don’t ski, they don’t come back. I am fortunate that 3 years ago the Aspen Ski Company gave me a lifetime ski pass. We also have the 6-inch rule at our company – if it snows 6 inches, employees can spend the morning skiing instead of coming to work. We also have a solar-heated lap pool for our employees.

VM: I’ve seen you ski very fast.

KO: Yes, I used to ski my age — 82 mph when I was 82 years old. Now I still enjoy skiing but don’t try to go that fast.

VM: What activities do you do besides skiing or when it’s not ski season?

KO: I swim a half mile every day, play tennis, do martial arts, hike, mountain bike and road bike…you have to keep your system going.

VM: Has there been a particular decade in Aspen that’s been your favorite or most sentimental?

KO: No. Life is dynamic and always changing. I like all of it. It’s all good.

VM: Do you have another favorite place in the world besides Aspen?

KO: I love the whole planet. It is such an incredible, amazing thing with all kinds of fantastic life.

VM: Who do you admire? Who has been an inspiration to you?

KO: Tom Crum – a phenomenal and wonderful man. He is a teacher of the martial art of Aikido. He is also a personal coach and a motivational speaker teaching conflict resolution. Peace is the most powerful thing. In Aikido you don’t want to hurt your opponent, you learn to control him. He also teaches deep breathing. Breathing is the single most important thing we do to stay alive. You can go days without water and about a month without food, but you can’t go more than a couple of minutes without breathing.

VM: Is there a particular charitable cause that is nearest and dearest to your heart?

KO: One’s life should be a charitable life. I believe you should create situations that make other people’s lives better on a daily basis without having to have an organization to do it.

VM: You are such an inspiration when it comes to health, wealth and happiness. What’s your best advice for other people who want to achieve these things?

KO: Life experiences are the most important. Have fun, be happy, follow your passion, eat intelligently, and do sports that force you to breathe deeply!

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