OUT OF THE GATE
Mobile Warming Companies show off new heat technology at
Outdoor Retailer and SIA shows BY COURTNEY JOHNSON
As the Olympic Winter Games opened in Vancouver, the weather was
more wet than wintry. But at the Outdoor Retailer and SnowSport Indus-
tries America (SIA) shows in late January, ski companies were obviously
banking on frigid conditions returning for ski racers. Mountain Hardware,
Spyder and Columbia are now incorporating heat technology into clothes
and uniforms for skiers and coaches.
Scheduled to be released to the general public in 2011, Spyder prototype
jackets feature Ardica Moshi portable heat and electronic charging power.
U.S. Olympic alpine athletes Lindsey Vonn, Steve Nyman, Julia Mancuso
and Ted Ligety — along with men’s head coach Sasha Rearick and women’s
head coach Jim Tracy — are now wearing the jackets between runs and on
the hill at Whistler.
Each jacket contains a rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack with a micro-
processor that provides both heat and power to recharge a phone, camera or
other electronic devices through iPod/iPhone USB, micro-USB, mini-USB
ports. The charging cord is located in the left side pocket.
Steve Omischl stays warm with
Columbia’s Omni-Heat technology.
Changes to the fall 2010 women’s Radiance and men’s Refugium jackets
include replacement of the battery from the middle back shoulder blade area
to the lower back. A vest style also will be introduced. The Moshi system has
a one-year warranty while Mountain Hardware has a life guarantee for the
The 2009 jacket models retail for $230 while the battery pack is sold sepa-
rately for $145 retail. The tech connector kit costs $50 retail. Alpine coaches
including Luke Brosterhous, a USSA alpine race coach for J4 and J5 athletes,
are currently testing the jacket on the slopes.
Debuting at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market was Columbia’s Omni-Heat
technology. The line of products are currently being worn by members of the
Canadian Olympic team and will be available for the general consumer on in
October. There are three silos to the Omni-Heat collection: thermal reflec-
tive, thermal insulation and thermal electric.
Thermal Insulation is made of 50 percent recycled microfilament materials
and has the highest heat retention per weight then any product currently
on the market. This lightweight and soft insulator is perfect for ski racers to
slip on between runs because of the warming properties and the ability for
temperature regulation due to the lack of bulkiness.
Thermal Reflective is a patent-pending base layer similar to the space
blanket in its ability to heat, but is different in that it can also dissipate heat
through reflective plates and metallic content. This reflective material pro-
vides a high level of insulating value but can also act as a conductor to cool
the wearer down. Working together with the moisture-wicking, air-perme-
able lining material, the reflective material on this base layer retains body
heat while dissolving any excess heat.
Canadian Olympic coaches are using Omni-Heat Thermal Electric to
keep their feet warm on the hill. With a push of a button, heating elements
throughout the footbed will warm up and provide five hours of continuous
heat on high. The heat elements will be found in Bugathermo Techlite boot
for men and the Snowfall Thermo for women in October 2010.
“The feedback from coaches and athletes has been so positive,” said Jeff
Timmins, director of marketing for Columbia in Canada. “The technology
allows them to not have to worry about being warm or cold and focus on the
task at hand, which is coaching or skiing.”
COLUMBIA; COURTNE Y JOHNSON