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The Rise of Sustainability & Fashion in Cross Country Apparel

The Rise of Sustainability & Fashion in Cross Country Apparel

By Harry Spaulding

Sustainability and the importance of using eco-friendly materials have never been more important than they are today. With climate change surging and a rise in consumer consumption, snow sports enthusiasts and clothing brands are integrating unique new solutions to resolve these drastic environmental issues.

Consumers who participate in snow sports require optimal comfort plus technical, fashionable, and performance garments. Brands are shaping new and creative ways to achieve these goals. By incorporating sustainable features through more eco-friendly materials and manufacturing, brands are climbing the sustainability ladder.

Ever since COVID began, skiing and more importantly Nordic skiing have gained interest from consumers. In a sense, more people are flocking to the outdoors to escape the reality of the pandemic. Nordic skiing is natural choice because there are no lifts or other congregation points to worry about.  

Brands such as Odlo, Swix, Craft, Salomon and Auclair continue to innovate by releasing both fashionable and long lasting sustainable products. When it comes to Nordic skiing, base layers and lightweight apparel are essential. Right now, the focus is towards sustainability, functionality, and the technical components that allow you to perform your best. However, fashionable aspects always come into play regarding outdoor snow sports apparel.                           

Odlo

Founded in 1946 and located in Hunenberg, Switzerland, Odlo is famous for their active lifestyle products.  Combining Norwegian heritage and Swiss engineering, they make functional yet handsome and comfortable sports apparel for all to enjoy. Odlo is very well known for their base layers, specifically long-underwear, which can last for years. With amazing quality control, the brand focuses on making sure all their garments are durable enough for every outdoor activity.

-In terms of what’s new for this season, Odlo’s new base layer performance collection Blackcomb Warm ECO” looks extraordinary. This collection is designed to give exceptional thermal insulation along with added moisture management, done through body-mapping structures. Yarn composition is 94% recycled materials, 66% recycled polyester, 24% recycled polyamide, and 4% recycled elastane. This truly helps ensure not only the customary high-performance standards but also a much smaller environmental footprint.  This Blackcomb collection by Odlo offers apparel that is both sustainable and eco-friendly. Their main goal is for consumers to be aware of what they wear through this eco-friendly collection.

Men’s BLACKCOMB ECO BL TOP with Facemask

Provides you with midweight performance in unpredicted winter climates. With its full hood and face mask it gives you extra coverage and warmth. 

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Women's BLACKCOMB ECO BL TOP Crew Neck

The Blackcomb crew base layer top allows comfort, performance and strategic ventilation for moisture and odor control. This is the perfect base layer for your everyday cross country skier.

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Blackcomb ECO BL Bottom 3/4

For all day protection on the mountain the Blackcomb 3/4 Bottoms are essential. 

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BLACKCOMB ECO BL TOP Turtleneck half zip

Gives maximum movement allowing you to perform at your best. Incorporates moisture managing vents and anti odor protection. Throughout your activities this top will keep you dry as you build up sweat throughout your day.

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SWIX

Founded in 1946 in Sweden, SWIX continues to provide state-of-the-art products. The brand is known for developing high quality and high functioning apparel for all ski conditions. They know what consumers need, and the company is actively innovating technical components, allowing consumers to look their best in outdoor conditions. SWIX has a variety of cross-country apparel and gear to choose from, allowing consumers to pick out the best technical and visually appealing products.

SWIX is working towards meeting its sustainability goal by adjusting to more responsive manufacturing practices and reducing their ecological footprint. On the technical side, SWIX continues to make apparel improvements while keeping quality very strong.  Here are some of the most recently improved stylish Swix products, with terrific technical features.  

Swix Triac 3.0

The Swix Triac 3.0 jacket offers the most advanced components for performing
or training. This slim jacket is for faster paced high intensity cross country
training. This garment gives you more breathability more stretch and much
better moisture management as well as improved comfort.
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SWIX AlasX Mitt

The AtlasX Cross Country glove is a must have for this years chilly ski season. This glove focuses on the technical aspects with concealed windproof abilities your hands will never get cold! On cold days this is your go to glove.
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SWIX Paramount Tech Wool Jacket

This half zip layer is made from technical stretch wool which blends with a
delicate inside and an all natural fine wool appearance. This cross country ski insulator is a must have it’s lightweight properties allow you maximum movement and comfort.
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SWIX Surmount Primaloft Pants - W

The Surmount Primaloft pants are a must grab with there technical insulation
benefits. These pants are lightweight, thin and very warm. They include softshell stretch and detachable adjustable side ventilation zippers for when overheating.
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CRAFT

Founded in 1973 in Sweden, CRAFT produces high- functioning eco-friendly sports clothing. They produce apparel that can handle the toughest of weather conditions, so users feel confident and perform at their best. If you’re specifically looking for apparel that focuses on quality and eco-friendly materials, CRAFT is a great option. The brand cares very deeply for the environment. They recognize the importance of using eco-friendly materials and chemicals to avoid any major environmental transgressions. CRAFT adheres to the (REACH) chemical legislation to ensure every chemical they use for their product is completely safe for consumers. Through properly identifying dangerous chemicals, it protects the environment and human health status overall.

Many of CRAFT’s products are made from pure polyester, allowing you to have more stretch and movement capabilities. CRAFT also guarantees the use of pure wool, which is done through a process called non-mulesing wool, so no sheep are harmed during shearing. They are a high-quality performance sportswear brand that’s committed to improving consumers’ experience and functionality. CRAFT is strongly committed to innovation, design and performance. Below are some CRAFT garments that focus on performance, sustainability, technical components, and fashion.   

CRAFT ADV Storm Insulate Nordic Pant

This Nordic pant is very advanced offering warmth and stretching capabilities.
It is incorporated with light quilted padding. Perfect for cold and windy conditions and made out of recycled polyester for strong moisture management.
This style is both fashionable and technical.
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CRAFT Core Essence Thermal Glove

This thermal glove made out of soft brushed jersey is made for training in colder terrain. This very stylish neon glove is made from recycled polyester and is inspired by Crafts goal towards sustainable eco friendly products.  These lightweight thermal gloves include moisture transport and ventilation capabilities. The thermal glove is made from 88% recycled polyester and 12% Elastane.
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CRAFT Glide Block Jacket

This functional cross country ski jacket includes waterproof VENTAIR fabric for training in colder climates. This jacket emphasis style and performance.  Designed with elastic jersey by the sides and under sleeves for temperature adjustment.
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CRAFT PRO Velocity Jersey - W

This very stylish Velocity Cross Country Jersey is built for those higher intensity
workouts. Guaranteeing higher performance its made out of recycled polyester and elastane jersey fabric with stretch capabilities and thermoregulation in order to stay dry and cool in the roughest of conditions.
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The majority of consumers today are already making environmentally friendly/ethical purchases when they go shopping. This has motivated more snow sports brands to get involved with these practices and has driven many brands to start making major changes.    

The pandemic has brought a lot of frustration to the way snow sports brands normally operate. While apparel purchasers are increasing for most ski brands, products such as poles, boots and skis have seen a continued increase of shortages.   This is a great time to upgrade your outdoor wardrobe with functionally-designed and sustainably-manufactured clothing.

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About The Author

Reese Brown

Reese Brown is Executive Director of U.S./Canadian trade group Cross Country Ski Areas Association, and a snow sports photographer. He has worked in the snow sports industry since 1981 as a coach, event manager, promotional marketer and in project-based strategic development. Considered an industry expert and insider, Brown operates internationally to support and promote the sport of cross country skiing, growing public awareness and participation.

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