Red, white and baby photos: See the U.S. freeski team's Olympic uniforms
On Monday night, the U.S. freeskiing team unveiled their official uniforms for the upcoming Olympics. The threads were debuted in New York City at an event featuring Sochi medalists Maddie Bowman and Devin Logan, and reigning X Games champion Aaron Blunck.
For the second straight Olympics, The North Face was tasked with creating the uniforms. Style is king in the world of freeskiing, so the designers solicited a lot of feedback directly from the athletes to get to the final product, which is purposely simplified when compared with the Sochi gear.
"Skiers are more into [wearing] just one tone," Blunck noted. "So my input was just a more simple version of everything." He added that he was "astonished" upon seeing the finished product for the first time earlier that day.
Other athletes echoed that desire for a more basic composition, also suggesting that the designers use muted, earthy tones in the colorway. This is particularly evident in the pants, which were a brighter shade of red at the last Olympics.
Another popular request among athletes was more variety with the uniform options. So beyond the standard jackets and snowpants, uniform pieces also include vests, hoodies, overalls, t-shirts and more. (Naturally, the t-shirt is a tall tee.) This should lead to a bit of customization, with different skiers each sporting different gear, albeit with a unified look, as they mix and match uniform pieces.
"It allows us to express our individuality, yet still be a team," Bowman said, noting that the way freeskiers dress is often as important to their personal style as the way they actually ski.
While the athletes had been contributing opinions throughout the whole collaboration process, there was one element of the uniforms that was a complete surprise until the morning of the unveiling. The North Face had reached out to the parents of prospective Olympic team members to gather childhood photos, such as pictures from their first contests, or other memories that would help tell the story of their journeys. ("My mom lied to me!" Bowman said with a laugh, referring to the secretive nature of the project.) The designers then took elements of what they received and created a collage. That pattern was printed on red fabric and used to line the inside of the team's jackets. To see a larger version of that collage, which is pictured below, click here.
From a concept standpoint, it's based around the idea of "humble beginnings," according to the designers.
"It reminds you of your background, where you came from, how it all started and the dream when you were a little kid of being a professional skier," Logan said of the collage. "It was one of the greatest surprises today, seeing yourself there. It just makes the suit that much more special." Like the other athletes in attendance, her parents had successfully kept it a secret from her.
The slopestyle, halfpipe, and ski cross teams will all be outfitted in these uniforms in PyeongChang, and athletes from all three disciplines are represented in the pattern.
Check out more photos of the uniforms below.