Josef “Pepi” Fischer, the last great Austrian ski manufacturer, celebrates his 90th birthday on 12 September 2019.
His is a story of business acumen mixed with technical knowledge and athlete-like endurance that spans decades.
The company was founded by the father of Mr. Fischer, Josef Fischer, Sr. back in 1924 in Ried im Innkreis where it still resides.
“Pepi” Fischer who gradually replaced his father at the helm, had steered the family outfit from relatively remote Austrian town to the ultimate success: by mid-1970s Fischer Sports became world’s biggest ski manufacturer bar none.
In cross country skiing Fischer Jr. had realized the potential of fiberglass for manufacturing early on ( most Scandinavian brands hitherto dominating the market did not – and perished) and from late 1970s till now the story of Fischer Sports in xcskiing is one of leadership and then, eventually, of dominance on the podiums.
Except for a brief period that ended in 2002 Fischer Sports was and remains a family-owned company – a massive exception in the xcski world where all the other brands were bought/amalgamated/absorbed by larger corporations.
Mr. Fischer has long left day-to-day handling of the company to professional managers and is enjoying retirement at Lake Attersee, but is keeping abreast with developments and is widely respected by hundreds of Fischer employees and fans worldwide.
Photos courtesy of Fischer Sports