Last night during a press event held at Deer Valley in Park City, Utah, Columbia unveiled the 2014 Olympic uniforms for the U.S., Canadian, and Russian Freestyle Ski teams. Engaging directly with the athletes from the beginning to gain insight into how apparel could enhance performance, the team uniforms were custom designed for each country from the ground up, making use of many of Columbia's current technologies as well as some new innovative ones.
The Olympic uniforms are built around Columbia's Omni-Heat Thermal Reflective technology to deliver much needed warmth and unrestricted mobility to the athletes while they compete. Within the reflective lining of each jacket lies country specific emblems the capture the spirit of each team and add a touch of bling.
The uniforms include some unique new technologies that Columbia developed specifically to meet the needs of the athletes. For example, the new waterproof LightRail Zipper gets rid of the need for zipper tape by directly bonding the zipper onto laser cut fabric. The zipper head locks into a docking station to further ensure all moisture stays out.
As many of the mogul skiers like to wear their pants super low, it did not make sense to use a normal powder skirt in the jacket. Instead, Columbia engineered a reverse powder skirt, where the skirt pops out of the waistband of the pants and snaps into the jacket, keeping all snow on the outside.
One of the coolest innovations has to be the snow camo. Mogul skiers are judged by their amount of body movement while going through the course. With a unique pattern for each country, the hope is the snow camo will help mask some of the unwanted movement.
Wanting to let the personality and preferences of each individual athlete shine through without compromising the cohesive team look, the Olympic uniforms feature numerous small customizable components like velcro patches for the shoulders, custom nameplates, knee patch placement, and removable pockets.
Expect to see some of these new technologies proliferate through the consumer Columbia collection in the near future.