Friedl Pfeifer was born in St. Anton am Arlburg, Austria in 1912 and came to America in the late 1930s after winning the famed Arlburg-Kandahar downhill and slalom championships in 1936. In 1939 and in 1940, he won the U.S. National (Open) slalom title. He learned his skiing at St. Anton under Hannes Schneider where he taught for fifteen years before moving to Sun Valley, Idaho in 1938 to direct the ski school.
In 1942, Pfeifer moved to Salt Lake City and took over the Alta Ski School for one season. His time at Alta was cut short because of World War II. He enlisted in the U.S. Army and became a member of the 10th Mountain Division. Pfeifer subsequently went to Italy and was seriously wounded, losing a lung.
Following a period of recuperation, Pfeifer moved to Aspen, Colorado and ran the Aspen Ski School from 1946 until the mid 1960s. During the 1960-61 season, he established the International Professional Ski Racer's Association (IPSRA) and for the next six years directed pro-racing throughout America.
Besides contributing to skiing as an instructor, racer, and entrepreneur, Pfeifer also coached the 1950 American Women's Ski Team in the F.I.S. Championships at Aspen. In 1956, he also coached the U.S. Women's Ski Team at the Winter Olympic Games held in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy.
Pfeifer was elected to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 1980 and passed away in 1995.