ALAMEDA, Calif., Oct. 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The North Face, partner of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and original partner of U.S. Freeskiing, today unveiled the official 2014 U.S. Freeskiing Competition uniforms, which will be worn by United States freeskiing athletes when the sport makes its historic debut at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
"We are proud to have teamed up with the USSA and U.S. Freeskiing to create one of the most advanced and unique uniform collections for our U.S. athletes to proudly wear in Sochi," said Aaron Carpenter, vice president of global marketing for The North Face.
The uniforms were tested by top freeskiing athletes, including Tom Wallisch, Maddie Bowman, Devin Logan and John Teller throughout The North Face research, design and development process. Wallisch, Bowman and Logan, who are all members of The North Face global athlete roster, provided both technical and style-related input.
"These athletes know better than anyone what they need to feel and perform their best during competition, and because style is such a key part of freeskiing, we wanted to make sure we were not only addressing key technical aspects of the uniform, but also the confidence and inspiration that comes with stand-out style," Carpenter said.
In partnership with the athletes, The North Face established a specific style guide for the uniforms developed for all three freeskiing disciplines – halfpipe, slopestyle and skicross – with the common creative filters of athlete culture, equipment innovation and pride of country. The uniforms were inspired by a "Rebel Americana" theme to capture the spirit of U.S. Freeskiing's rich history and rebellious, counter-culture attitude. Unique details were also woven in to provide athletes with additional inspiration and a deeper connection to each other and the competitive moment, including a piece of a Himalayan suit worn on an Everest expedition in the shape of a star, a nod to the rich outdoor heritage of The North Face, embroidered with the phrase "Bigger Than Me." Additional details include laser-cut stars in the velcro on the cuffs of each jacket and the uniforms' suspender system, a staple piece of apparel for many freeskiers on the mountain, which forms a peace sign if you were to place a circle around it.
The U.S. Freeskiing competition uniforms were designed and manufactured in the U.S. at a development center not far from The North Face headquarters in Alameda, CA. The company invested in the local development center to keep prototyping close to home and celebrate the U.S. throughout the athlete uniform manufacturing process.
"There is a lot of pride that goes along with being able to produce the uniforms in our backyard and to work with people in our community to be a part of this process," said The North Face Action Sports Product Director Jasmin Ghaffarian. "With all the technical aspects and unique elements like the piece from our expedition-worn Everest Himalayan suit, we felt a lot of personal passion throughout the uniform process, and producing the outerwear in the United States adds an extra level of patriotic pride and ownership."
The North Face used a variety of industry-leading approaches to research, design and development, including wind, color and product testing. The uniforms underwent color testing with several of The North Face athletes in early 2012 at Mt. Hood, which allowed the brand to not only gather athlete feedback on initial sketches, but also have them test out different colored prototypes against the snow to best determine the right color combination to help them standout in competition. The athletes' insight on both style and performance throughout the various rounds of prototype development was key in the development of the extremely technical uniforms.
"I have been working with The North Face for many years, and even have some of my own custom pieces of outerwear in their stores, but working with them to design the uniform that our team will wear during the debut competition was something I was truly honored to be a part of," said The North Face athlete and U.S. Olympic Freeskiing hopeful Tom Wallisch. "I could not be more excited with how they turned out, and I am sure that the freeskiing community will feel the same way."
THE NORTH FACE AND FREESKIING
In 2003, The North Face began sponsoring what is now known as the Freeride World Tour and in 2011 became a founding partner when the USSA announced the new U.S. Freeskiing brand and team. Earlier this year, The North Face furthered its long-time support of freeskiing with a broadened focus on both elite and development direction in the sport through the new U.S. Freeskiing Rookie Team.
The U.S. Freeskiing Rookie Team provides support and training with expert coaches for teen athletes looking to advance their skills and competition level in both halfpipe and slopestyle skiing with the goal of eventually making the U.S. Freeskiing Pro Team. Last month, The North Face also announced the fourth season of The North Face Park and Pipe Open Series (PPOS), which was founded in 2010 and features slopestyle and halfpipe skiing competitions. As one of the only open-format event series in North America, amateurs have the opportunity to compete alongside top pros and advance their athlete rankings.
"Working with The North Face over the last several years and seeing their continued support to helping elevate and grow the sport of freeskiing has been an honor," said Mike Jaquet, CMO of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association. "The North Face is a brand that truly understands the freeskiing community and our athletes. They have once again demonstrated that with the new U.S. Freeskiing Competition uniforms and their unique approach in delivering not only top-of-the-line technical performance, but also keeping the athletes' individual styles in mind while still providing a cohesive look for the team."
For additional information about The North Face and its commitment to freeskiing, please visit
About The North Face®
The North Face, a division of VF Outdoor, Inc., was founded in 1968. Headquartered in Alameda, Calif., the company offers the most technically advanced products in the market to accomplished climbers, mountaineers, snowsport athletes, endurance athletes, and explorers. The company's products are sold in specialty mountaineering, backpacking, running, and snowsport retailers, premium-sporting goods retailers and major outdoor specialty retail chains.
About the USSA
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) is the national governing body of Olympic skiing and snowboarding, and the parent organization of U.S. Freeskiing. Developed to facilitate participation in national and international competition, the Olympic sports organization provides structure for competitive skiing and snowboarding. From grassroots programs to governance of sport, management of rules, competitions and athletic rankings, the USSA oversees athletic pipelines for development in the sports. With a vision to make the USA the best in the world in Olympic skiing and snowboarding, the USSA provides leadership and direction for tens of thousands of young skiers and snowboarders who share an Olympic dream while maintaining a strong adherence to core values. The USSA, established in 1905, operates out of the national training and education facility, the Center of Excellence, in Park City, UT. For more information, visit www.ussa.org and www.usfreeskiing.com.
SOURCE The North Face