PHOTO: Grant Whitty
Laura Obermeyer has been part of the ski community since before she could walk. The granddaughter of Klaus Obermeyer, Laura, 18, proudly carries on the family name as she forges her own path as a park skier, while still working for the family business.
Growing up, Laura split her time between Colorado and Connecticut, and after graduating high school this year moved to Aspen. With 80 years between them, Laura and her grandfather—credited with inventing the down jacket, turtlenecks, mirrored sunglasses, and high-altitude sunscreen—started their careers as ski instructors, which sparked her passion for ski photography.
As part of an ongoing series celebrating the next generation of women skiers, POWDER caught up with Laura to learn more about the best advice her grandfather has given her, the evolution of skiing, and the differences between skiing back East and out West.
DANIELLE: How has being part of the Obermeyer family helped you find passion in skiing?
LAURA: I never knew anything different. Not that I would want to, I love it so much, and I'm so lucky to have been able to be around such incredible people.
It's really interesting because I have a completely different perspective of what I think of as skiing because I'm part of the newschool, freestyle world and culture. It's a completely different world and community, so I'm bringing myself out of that and into the office to talk about all of these things that I think of as the forefront of skiing.
What made you stick with skiing now that you're an adult?
Skiing, unlike a lot of sports, has this aspect of tireless progression. It's always changing and you never know what the future holds for it. I think that that's just enough to keep you coming back to it every day. In addition, what it does to you as a person, in terms of the culture and community surrounding it, is pretty spectacular and you don't find it in a lot of sports. You need to have a new level of insanity to want to do the things that we spend months and years planning and trying to do.
So how did you get interested in photography?
When I was 11 or 12, I started shooting photos for people at horse shows. And that's when I started thinking, 'Oh, maybe I could actually do this as a thing.' Over the winter I would film my friends skiing and just sort of be behind the camera. I started doing senior portraits when I was 15.
What is the best advice a professional photographer has given you?
Even if you don't need the shot, shoot it. Overshoot and take photos that you don't think you'll like later or don't think you’ll need later, because a week from now, a month from now, a year from now, you may see that and think, 'Man, I'm really digging how this is composed.'
Who are you favorite types of skiers to practice shooting with?
My brother, Erik, is my favorite person to ski with, so shooting with him always has such great energy. I really enjoy shooting with people who are super creative. There's a different vibe between shooting kids on the East Coast and shooting kids in Colorado.
What have you learned that you can share with others?
Always ask questions. It can be really intimidating to approach a professional, but more often than not, people are willing to help. And people will be enthusiastic about you sharing something they're also passionate about.
Any grandfatherly wisdom from Klaus you can share with us?
He often says that the days you don't ski, you don't get back. I think that's why I ski, and is something that I try to live by regardless of the season.
My favorite moments are when we are sitting together in his office, or at the dinner table, and the conversation makes its way back to skiing. I'll be telling him about my summer snow-seeking adventures, and he'll tell me about doing the same thing at my age when he still lived in Germany. We have a shared passion that can't really be put into words, but it's pretty special to have that with 80 years between us.