Every four years Americans become instant experts in winter sports and proudly display their patronage by sporting red, white and blue. Now, thanks to Khombu and Columbia Sportswear, ski fans can don the very innovations that Team U.S.A. themselves wear.
Khombu, an official U.S. Ski Team supplier owned by Eastman Footwear Group, sat down with the likes of Abby Ghent (pictured at left), Jacqueline Wiles and Anna Marno, to design an apres-ski boot that meets their unique needs. What’s more, they enlisted the help of Arkansas manufacturer Munro & Co. to build the boot. The Alta, a waterproof, lightweight style with skid and slip-resistant outsoles and a cold temperature rating of -20 degrees Fahrenheit will be offered in two versions: The official U.S. Ski Team colorway, available for pre-order in January for $129, and a street model ($99) that’s in stores now. A men’s style is in the pipeline, too.
Columbia, meanwhile, has extended its deal with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association to be the official outerwear, base layer and headwear partner of the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team through the 2022 Olympic Winter Games. Building on the contract that began in 2011, Columbia’s design team will engage directly with the athletes to gain insight into how the uniforms could enhance their performance on the mountain. The public will be happy to hear that the uniforms designed for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics included several new innovations that Columbia plans to reflect in their broader consumer collections.
“This agreement ensures that Columbia’s leading technologies and design innovations are being worn and tested by the most demanding athletes in the world,” says Jeff Timmins, senior global brand director for Columbia. “The feedback they share throughout the design process is invaluable and incredibly inspirational to the entire Columbia team.”