Photo – Kurt & Fritz Buser

Fritz Buser becomes the owner of Mt. Rose Ski Area after acquiring the majority of shares in the company.

 

Fritz was born in the small farming village of Hemmiken in the northern part of Switzerland on April 29, 1921. He grew up with the daily hardships, surviving by milking cows and harvesting apples and potatoes. From these experiences his entrepreneurial spirit was ignited; at an early age, he sought to break away from his humble beginnings.

 

After the obligatory eight years of schooling, during which he spent all eight grades in a single classroom with the same teacher, Fritz pursued an apprenticeship with a bank in a nearby small city called Liestal. Still in his teens, on the eve of World War II, he began his first business venture – trading sardines. Some of the start-up capital for this venture came from the money he saved by riding a bicycle 20 miles every day instead of taking the train.

 

In his early twenties – at the end of World War II – Fritz decided it was time to think bigger…America. He secured agreements with various prominent Swiss manufacturers to represent their products as a salesman in the United States, including the ski boot company ‘Henke’ – the first company that produced buckled (vs laced) boots. He set up an office in New York City that he managed from Liestal, Switzerland where he continued to reside and raise a family. This endeavor, however, was not enough to satisfy his ambition. Fritz continued to expand his vision by starting a linen distribution company in Liestal called ‘Loyal’ which he later turned into the headquarters for all of his future business ventures. Eventually, he even acquired the principal ownership rights of the Henke boot company.

 

In the 1960s, he joined his childhood friend Ernst Rieder to form a very successful real-estate development company known as Himac. The two of them remained best friends for decades, conducted several trips across the United States, and supported each other’s business ventures.