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Beyond the Bale : Jun 07 - Jul 07
Alegendary destination for top international skiers, Red Mountain Resort in British Columbia, Canada, has partnered with AWI to showcase Merino wool as a top-performing base layer for skiers. Called 'The Mountain Project', it is a multi-year program to foster dialogue and common ground among athletes, artists, guides and enthusiasts -- from equipment manufacturers to users -- with the aim of cultivating knowledge and best practices in a ski resort. Red Mountain Resort is known as a cult resort for its tough terrain and expert skiers. In addition to 120 staff being outfitted in Merino wool, the resort heavily brands the textile with prominent signage displayed for its 116,000 visitors a year. "Australian Merino is a natural fit for the project," says Stuart McCullough, director of North American operations at AWI. "Red Mountain is the ultimate resort for serious ski enthusiasts and Merino is the ultimate technical outdoor performance fibre." The Canadian Open Free Ski and Red Bull Cold Rush freestyle competition, as well as the SnowSports Industries Association (US) trade show, also featured Merino this year. In addition, a number of professional skiers and snowboarders provided positive feedback. "Having Merino next to the skin is much better than anything out there," said Xavier Delerue, a professional snowboarder and recent winner of the 2007 Verbier Xtreme and Big Mountain Pro competitions. "I constantly go from hot to cold to really cold, and from wet to dry in a short period of time. Merino gets warmer when it needs to be but I never feel too warm. It keeps me comfortable so I can focus on the mountain." Xavier explains that natural fibres are important to him: "I like eating organic, I stay away from preservatives and I don't like to waste products. I prefer not to use synthetics so Merino fits best with my way of life." ú More information: www.redresort.com New heights for ski wool Australian Merino wool is being presented to serious North American ski enthusiasts as the ultimate technical outdoor performance fibre The world's premier supplier of technically innovative outdoor apparel and equipment, The North Face, has just released a new clothing collection made from Australian Merino wool. As the outdoor fashion industry's quintessential master of form and function, The North Face promotes its products as high-performance, versatile and athlete-tested. The new collection includes two ranges: the 'Summit Series' lightweight performance items and the 'Extreme Wool' styles, which can be either layered under The North Face technical shells or worn as an outer layer. The Summit Series includes layering garments made from 100 per cent Australian, 18.5-micron Merino wool. Colour and styling is used to create a sporty fashionable look while still giving the wearer a comfortable next-to-skin garment. The Extreme Wool styles are created with a blend of 90 per cent Australian Merino wool and 10 per cent nylon, to give the outer garments more stretch. The addition of a Teflon® finish gives additional weather protection. Both apparel ranges have been tested by The North Face's team of professional athletes. The company's global product director for sportswear, Tony Krohn, was happy with the results: "Wool was the main fibre of the outdoor activewear segment in the early 1990s before synthetics were introduced. It's great to bring The North Face back to these roots, and it has been astounding how many athletes that have been part of the testing campaign have noted the fabric's comfort, temperature control and endurance." Mr Krohn says AWI is doing a fantastic job creating new technologies and bringing the beneficial qualities of Australian Merino wool back to the fore in the outdoor apparel sector. Mark Brooks, AWI's global sports/activewear manager, says AWI first approached The North Face in December 2005 in the US, knowing they were a global brand leader and innovator in the outdoor apparel and accessory market. "We introduced them to the benefits of Australian Merino wool and they analysed a number of Merino fabrics, then made and field-tested some garments. Based on the successful results of those trials, The North Face placed orders for Australian Merino products for the fall 2007 season." AWI is now working with The North Face to support the product launch by providing additional help with product development, supply chains and marketing support. "This is the first stage of what is anticipated to be a long and successful partnership between the two organisations, which will provide a positive increase in the demand for Australian Merino wool," Mr Brooks says. Ten garment styles are being produced using the innovative lightweight Merino fabric made by circular knitters DPK Australia for The North Face autumn 2007 collection. Garments will be available in northern hemisphere stores in August. ú More information: www.northface.com Outdoor leader welcomes back wool International athletes who have been testing Australian Merino performance wear have noted the fabric's comfor t, temperature control and endurance 21 TEXTILES BEYOND THE BALE Xavier Delerue gives Australian Merino an extreme workout. The Mountain Project headquarters, proudly advertising AWI. Australian Merino hits the slopes in British Columbia.
Jun 07 - Jul 07 Supplement
Apr 07 - May 07