Ken was born on October 21, 1969 in Inglewood, CA. Over the course of his childhood, he and his family put down roots in Boise, Idaho, Rye, New York, and Tehran, Iran. Ken studied mechanical engineering at Gonzaga University in Spokane, also obtaining a masters degree for the same from the University of Washington, then settling in West Seattle with his wife Lisa.
Ken’s favorite role in life always was being a father and husband, but this man wore many hats. He had a long career as a ski designer at K2, where he was part of a team creating some of the best telemark skis in the world. If you’ve ever taken a deep powder turn with a free heel on a pair of K2 telemark skis, a bit of Ken Schiele took that turn with you. Ken loved skiing, and it took him around the world with favorite trips including the Haute Route in the Alps, the many days with the K2 crew at Whistler, and Hokkaido in Japan. He also loved to hit the slopes in Idaho at Bogus Basin and Brundage with his dad and brother-in-law Clay.
Ken was fond of saying, “I don’t exercise under fluorescent lights”. Every day he was on the move, and he escaped to the outdoors every chance he got: skiing, kayaking, mountain biking, longboarding, and even taking up downhill skateboarding in his fifties. A lifelong, beautiful-to-watch, expert telemark skier, there are stories of Ken telemark skiing a half pipe and hitting a slopeside playpark to ride some rails in a vintage skydiving suit.
And music! Ken was a drummer, who once set up with his punk band “The Orphans” and played a gig in front of the United Nations in New York City. He was a DJ for years at KAGU, the student-run radio station at Gonzaga, creating and hosting the early ’90s Saturday night standard, Radio Identity Crisis. For Ken, discovering new music was a lifelong passion, and his collection of Cumbia on vinyl is rumored to be one of the largest in the Pacific Northwest His love of music and skiing once collided, in fantastic form, when he dragged a pair of telemark skis he had designed to a concert by LA punk band X, gifting a band member and telemark skier with a pair.
Ken loved Peanuts, Charlie Brown, and especially Snoopy. The stuffed Snoopy from his daughter Louise accompanied Ken to the hospital and never left his side.
Above all, at his core, Ken was a family man and will be remembered for his love for and pride in Lisa and Louise. Ken’s generosity of spirit, joie de vivre, kindness and offbeat sense of humor will be missed by so many people that he touched throughout his life.
Ken is survived by the joy of his life, daughter Louise; his beloved wife of 28 years, Lisa Esztergalyos; parents Roy and Sue Schiele; sister Christine Schiele Gutierrez and partner Jack Culverhouse; sister Janet Schiele Roscoe and husband Clay Roscoe; sister-in-law Maria Esztergalyos and husband Eric Hanson; nephews Marco, Ezra, Rex and Charlie and niece Estella; and mother-in-law Theresa Esztergalyos, who called Ken her lighthouse.
We will see you soon on those slopes, Ken, where every day is a bluebird day and every run is deep powder and fresh tracks! “All the love. All the power.”
In remembrance of Ken’s amazing life and love of music his family requests that any charitable donation be made in his name to KEXP. A celebration of Ken’s life will be held in October 2023, in Seattle, WA.