Racer, ski equipment innovator

Passing Date: 
Monday, October 10, 2016

Erik O. Giese, 76, died October 10 at his home in Key Biscayne, Florida. 

Born in Seattle, Giese competed in all ski disciplines, and as a junior competed in the national Nordic combined championship. As a member of the University of Washington Ski Team he was a four-way NCAA competitor, and was the top-scoring individual at the 1960 International Intercollegiate Ski Championships at Red Mountain, B.C. (he finished second the following year). Completing his law degree at UW in 1964, Giese practiced maritime and personal injury law in Seattle, while competing in water skiing, cycling and sailing.

In 1963 he married Carolyn Noel of Yakima, Washington. They had a daughter, Noel. In 1970 he married Mary Elizabeth Amthor; the couple settled in Aspen, where, in 1973, he founded Comfort Products, a product development firm. Among the products they brought to market were the first commercially viable electrically-heated insole for ski boots and the Flexon ski boot for Raichle..

In 1989, Giese was an early investor in Volant Skis, and a founder of Rechargeable Battery Corp., which developed battery systems for Ford, the U.S. military, NASA and other clients. He served as chairman of RBC (now Exothermic Inc.), and as a director for several national corporations.

Giese is survived by his wife of 46 years, Mary; daughter Noel and granddaughter Ella; sisters Isa and Gretl (Franz), brothers Stephen, Emil and Peter (Juliana); numerous nieces and nephews; and his aunt Marian Arnot.

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