1924: The founding of the company
2008: Most successful ski brand
90 YEARS OF FISCHER - FROM A WAGON MAKER TO THE MOST SUCCESSFUL SKI BRAND
Speaking about the company history of Fischer Sports, owner Josef "Pepi" Fischer says: "In order to understand the present day and judge the future you have to look back on things. And this applies to companies in particular. Tradition and the structures that have grown are the foundation upon which the present and the future are built." And there is no denying that he knows what he is talking about as the son of the company founder is at the top of the successful family-owned business which is all set to celebrate its 90th anniversary this year.
Founded back in 1924 by Josef Fischer senior in a wooden barn in Ried im Innkreis, the company Fischer Sports is the only well-known ski brand which remains in family ownership. To begin with the company produced rack wagons, sledges and occasionally skis. Some 11 years later there were already signs of going into series production.
After the death of Josef Fischer senior in 1959 a new era began: his son Josef 'Pepi' Fischer and sister Selma Sturmberger become the company's general managers. With victory for Egon Zimmermann at the 1964 Olympic Games in Innsbruck Fischer finally establishes itself in racing. The first Fischer cross country line is launched at the ISPO show in Munich in 1971. From then on, Fischer makes its way step-by-step to becoming the global market leader in the Nordic segment. Boots are added to the cross country range in 1994 and Alpine becomes a single source supplier in 2003 with Soma-Tec ski boots.
Fischer also earns a reputation away from the tracks and pistes. The company conquers the tennis market from 1974 on. In the golden years, tennis greats such as Stan Smith, Wimbledon winner (1991) Michael Stich and Yevgeny Kafelnikov at the top of the world rankings relied on innovations and equipment from Upper Austria. Fischer sold its tennis technologies to Pacific in 2009 due to economic circumstances. Parallel to this from 1988 the production of hockey sticks was running at full speed. To begin with as an OEM producer and then under the Fischer brand, the relatively young division experienced rapid development which made it one of the world's largest manufacturers of hockey sticks.
Driving forward developments, being open to new things, letting the pioneering spirit of the past live on, these remain to this day the key values at Fischer. As a result, a multitude of innovations can be found throughout the history of the company. CROWN FINISH, AIR CORE, NORDIC CRUISING, SOMA-TEC and VACUUM in skis and boots are just some of the technologies which have taken the ski industry by storm over the years. These have been joined most recently by VACUUM FIT (2011) and SPEEDMAX (2013).
Thanks to the revolutionary thermoforming technology VACUUM FIT for Alpine ski boots, it is now possible for the first time to adapt the shell of the ski boot completely to the anatomy of any foot. In the Nordic sector, SPEEDMAX sees the birth of a whole new generation of racing skis which for the first time avoids the combination of heat and pressure in the application of the base, thus giving the ski a new dimension in speed. 2014 is the year of VARIO CROWN for Nordic – the new climbing system which guarantees perfect climbing and balanced gliding through optimum tuning of the climbing and gliding features of the system in all snow conditions. For Alpine it is the year of Tour, with Fischer launching the first fully adaptable ski touring boot to round off its tour portfolio at the highest level.
It is also the drive for innovation which enabled the companies FACC and FCT to emerge from Fischer. The search for lightweight components unites ski developers and those working in the aviation and automotive industries. Optimum use is made of synergies which are integrated in the respective lines until the economic situation of these industries in 2008 (FACC) and 2009 (FCT) force the family-owned company to focus on its core competencies again: skiing and its many facets.
Around 460 people today work at the headquarters in Ried. Fischer Sports' range spans the full range of hard goods for both the Alpine and Nordic sectors. Besides this the company also sells jumping skis, hockey sticks and accessories throughout the world. Racing is a fixed part of the corporate strategy as a platform for marketing and development; however this is generally used as a testing ground with the highest quality for all target groups.
The history of the company is nothing short of remarkable: from a wagon maker to the most successful ski brand and the global market leader in Nordic sports in 90 years. And all this despite – or perhaps because – Fischer Sports is the last major Austrian ski manufacturer which is still in 100% family ownership.