As more skiers leave the lifts, lighter and more breathable textiles improve comfort
By Christopher Ratter, dpaBerlin -- The most preferred way of getting to the top of a ski slope is by lift. But trekking on foot to an off-piste section is also growing in popularity. “People want to experience nature more and they want to be alone in nature as well,” says Michael Spitz from Germany's Network of Fashion and Textile Designers.
October 14, 2013, 12:13 am TWN
Getting to the top and bottom of a mountain on foot requires a lot of physical effort and it puts a strain on clothing and equipment as well. It's important that skiwear is light so the walk uphill is as easy as possible. Sports clothing makers are in constant competition with each other to produce the lightest jackets, trousers, helmets and backpacks as possible. Every gram counts.
“There's long been a trend away from thick and heavy materials,” says Sabine von Eyb, a buyer for the Sportcheck store in Munich. In big demand are jackets that are extremely light but don't compromise on functionality. Customers want jackets that keep them warm but are breathable and don't restrict movement.
Manufacturers are using materials that help maintain dryness — but keep temperatures down — on garments for the upper body where most heat is produced during activity. The body's extremities, which are more liable to cooling, tend to have materials that retain heat. It's essential that ski clothing does not hinder movement, so sports garment manufacturers have been using more elastic materials on sections that cover the body's joints.
That development has affected design. “Modern sports clothing has stretchable materials both on the exterior and in the lining. That means they are very comfortable to wear,” explains Matthieu Haeuslein, founder of the Swiss garment design company Development Never Stops. The firm develops prototypes for ski clothing manufacturers such as Head, Adidas and The North Face. Ski pants in particular are showing a trend towards being more figure hugging.
“It's very clear that fashion and ski clothing are getting closer,” says Haeuslein. The surface materials used in ski garments are orientated more on clothes worn off-piste. Clothing for snowboarders most closely follows this trend.