Rupert Huber - Atomic's chief of racing, R&D
Rupert “Killy” Huber, chief engineer and head of racing at Atomic until his retirerment in 2013, died August 2 after a long illness. He was 72 years old.
Huber grew up racing in Radstadt, Austria, about ten miles from the original Atomic factory in Wagrain. When he was 16, Atomic founder Alois Rohrmoser hired him as a ski-maker apprentice and offered to send him to technical school. Four years later Huber joined the race department, where one of his first projects was designing the skis that Olga Pall used in winning the 1968 Olympic downill. Meanwhile, he completed his education at the technical university in Stams, earning a degree in ski and sports equipment engineering in 1969.
In the early ‘70s, Huber spent some research time in North America, and even won a couple of pro races. His boss in the research and development department began calling him Killy, and, within the factory, the name stuck. In 1973 he was named manager of the race team, and took over as chief of R&D in 1979.
Huber became a close friend and adviser to Rohrmoser. He was a key player in construction of the new factories at Altenmarkt-im-Pongau, and Pomporovo, Bulgaria. He helped guide the company through its bankruptcy and sale, to Amer Group, in 1995. He worked with Atomic’s top racers, and expanded the team to include Nordic and snowboard disciplines.
On the product side, Huber created the first super-wide powder ski (the Powder Plus, waist 115mm, in 1990), guided the transition to shaped skis and designed the double-cap “Beta” construction and guided the integration of ski bindings and boots into the company. He turned the Atomic factories into vertically-integrated enterprises, dependent on few outside suppliers.