Park City, UT – Outdoor apparel, footwear and equipment brand Columbia Sportswear will be showcased with some of the world’s best Olympic athletes. The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) this week named Columbia as the official outerwear provider to the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team in a partnership that will extend through the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.
The relationship will provide Columbia with a global marketing platform for its trademarked Omni-Heat technology as well as a research and development outlet. A key element for Columbia is garnering insight on its products from athletes and coaches, which will help develop and hone the winter line every season. A team of over 40 U.S. Freestyle Ski Team athletes will be wearing Columbia clothing.
“We couldn’t be more excited to join forces with the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team,” said Tim Boyle, Columbia’s president and chief executive officer. “The caliber of the athletes and their creativity and innovation on the slopes make this a perfect fit for our brand. Team feedback will also help us build better performing products. It’s a win for the USSA and Columbia, and also for our customers.”
Under the terms of the partnership, Columbia will be the exclusive official supplier for outerwear, base layer and hats for moguls and aerials athletes of the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team, who will bring the Columbia brand to International Ski Federation World Cup competitions across a dozen nations from December through March each year.
“Columbia Sportswear is such a highly regarded brand that it immediately resonated with our athletes,” said USSA Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer Andrew Judelson. “And in addition to providing performance to our athletes, Columbia will be able to benefit from integration in our growing consumer merchandising outreach.”
In addition to outfitting USSA athletes, network broadcast commentators from NBC Sports and Versus (NBC Sports Network) will wear Columbia jackets during national television broadcasts of freestyle events.
A cornerstone of the partnership is integration of Columbia into the U.S. Ski Team’s consumer merchandising program. As a part of the USSA’s “Own the Gear the Athletes Wear” initiative, authentic Team product will be available to fans for the first time ever. The Team’s e-commerce platform will launch going into the coming 2011-12 season. The USSA will also support Columbia’s retail partners through in-store promotional activities.
This year, the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team will compete in the Aerial Arson Shell, Sawyers Creek Softshell Fused Form Parka, and the Bugaboo Pant. The Team will open its season in early December in Europe. Columbia will be prominently integrated into the Team’s primary competitions in America including the Jan. 20-22 Freestyle World Cup in the Olympic village of Lake Placid, N.Y. and the Feb. 2-4 Visa Freestyle International World Cup on the 2002 Olympic venue at Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah.