Founder of Sport Chalet Norbert Olberz Dies at 86

Posted By: The Ski Channel on July 19, 2011 10:22 am


Norbert Olberz, founder of the outdoor and recreational sporting goods franchise Sport Chalet, died of natural causes at the age of 86 on Friday. 

The Southern- California based company started as a small local ski and tennis shop in La Canada Flintridge in 1959. Norbert and his wife Irene lived and worked in the shop for two years, sleeping in rollaway beds and showering with a hose, and then moved out and operated it as a small business for 20 years. 

Soon the store began expanding by opening a location in Huntington Beach and adding more diverse sporting equipment to the ski and tennis gear collection. The stores became a public company in 1992, although Norbert‘s goal was to “not be the biggest, but the best.” Today, the company has 55 stores in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah.

Norbert was the chief executive for four decades, and his replacement, Craig Levra, reflected that Norbert was “incredibly persistent, did not know how to quit — which is a great thing — and he really touched everybody he came in contact with.”

Norbert was a lover of skiing, and also enjoyed hiking, bike riding, and flying planes. 

See full article from LA Times