Ski Entrepreneur Josef Fischer Dies At 90

The Austrian, who was the son of the founder of the Fischer Ski brand, died at the end of August. The company and the International Ski Federation pay tribute to the ‘visionary’.

Alongside his sister, Josef Fischer took over the leadership of the Fischer family company at the age 30, following the death of his father.

Born in the town of Ried im Innkreis, he qualified as a carpentry apprentice and joined his parents’ business in 1949.

He was considered a visionary, and continually invented new skis for winter sports.

Under his leadership the firm quickly grew into the largest and most modern ski factory in the world and a technological pioneer in the ski industry.

In 1990, Fischer, known as ‘Pepi’ by his friends, stepped away from day-to-day business, though he remained Chairman of the Supervisory Board till 2003.

He finally retired in 2007, still holding a position as a member of the supervisory board in order to maintain close ties with his company.

“In Josef Fischer we are losing someone who not only loved ski sports, but who shaped them over decades with his pioneering spirit, his innovations, and his ideas,” said Franz Föttinger, CEO of Fischer Sports.

“His passion for ski sports was indescribably immense, and this spirit is firmly entrenched in the company’s foundation to this day.

“His vision and his entrepreneurial spirit have made the company what it is today.

“It’s reassuring to all our employees that, even after his death, the current setup as a holding company, which will be maintained by both family foundations, provides us with stability. We will give our utmost to carry on his life’s work, the last great Austrian ski company, as he himself did.”

Josef Fischer carried his passion for and love of skiing throughout his entire life.

Many world famous sports stars, from Austrian skiing hero Franz Klammer to the Norwegian king of cross country skiing, Björn Dæhlie, were inextricably bound with the brand and its leader.

In an interview to mark his 70th birthday, Fischer named Egon Zimmermann’s victory in the 1964 Innsbruck Olympic Games as his own most satisfying experience.

During his career, Josef Fischer was bestowed the title of Honorary Councillor of Commerce in 1971.

More awards and honours followed:

  • City of Vienna Cross of Merit
  • City of Ried Honorary Citizenship
  • The Crystal Pegasus for his lifetime of professional achievement
  • The Golden Cross of Merit of Upper Austria
  • Silver Cross of Merit from the Republic of Austria

Following his time as President of the Association of Austrian Sporting Goods Manufacturers and Suppliers (VSSÖ) he was made honorary president as well as being named Upper Austrian of the Century.

The International Ski Federation has offered its condolences to the family and friends and to all at Fischer Sports Ltd.