PARK CITY, UT (Sept. 21) – Columbia Sportswear, one of the world's most respected outdoor apparel, footwear and equipment brands, will be showcased with some of the world's best Olympic athletes. The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) 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 world class U.S. Freestyle Ski Team athletes will be wearing Columbia clothing in diverse and challenging situations where clothing performance clearly impacts athletic performance.
"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, baselayer and hats for moguls and aerials athletes of the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team. The U.S. Freestyle Ski Team has a best in the world legacy, bringing 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 eCommerce platform, powered by TeamFanShop, will launch going into the coming 2011-12 season. The USSA will also support Columbia's high-level 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. Starting today, people can see exclusive photos of USSA athletes wearing this year’s uniforms by following Columbia’s new Twitter handle @Columbia1938 at: http://twitter.com/Columbia1938.
The U.S. Freestyle Ski 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, NY and the Feb. 2-4 Visa Freestyle International World Cup on the 2002 Olympic venue at Deer Valley Resort in Park City, UT.
About Columbia Sportswear Company
Columbia Sportswear Company is a global leader in the design, sourcing, marketing and distribution of active outdoor apparel, footwear, accessories and equipment. Founded in 1938 in Portland, Oregon, Columbia products are sold in more than 100 countries and have earned an international reputation for innovation, quality and performance. Columbia products feature innovative technologies and designs that protect outdoor enthusiasts from the elements, increase comfort, and make outdoor activities more enjoyable. In addition to the Columbia brand, Columbia Sportswear Company also owns outdoor brands Mountain Hardwear®, Sorel®, Montrail®, and Pacific Trail®. To learn more, please visit the company's websites at www.columbia.com, www.mountainhardwear.com, www.sorel.com, andwww.montrail.com.
About the USSA
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) is the national governing body of Olympic skiing and snowboarding and the parent of the U.S. Ski Team, U.S. Snowboarding and U.S. Freeskiing. Developed to facilitate participation in national and international competition, the Olympic sports organization provides structure for competitive skiing and snowboarding. From grassroots programs to governance of sport, management of rules, competitions and athletic rankings, the USSA oversees athletic pipelines for development in the sports. With a vision to make the USA the best in the world in Olympic skiing and snowboarding, the USSA provides leadership and direction for tens of thousands of young skiers and snowboarders who share an Olympic dream while maintaining a strong adherence to core values. The USSA, established in 1905, operates out of the national training and education facility, the Center of Excellence, in Park City, UT. For more information, visit www.ussa.org.