Team USA Lifts Off



With the Winter Olympics less than 100 days away, New York City saw the unveiling this week of the Team USA Snowboard and Freeski uniforms for Pyeongchang 2018. Burton Snowboards created the uniforms to be worn by the U.S. Snowboard Team for the fourth consecutive Winter Olympics, and The North Face is behind the design of the U.S. Freeski Team for their second consecutive games. Coincidentally, both uniforms feel like they came from outer space.

Inspired by the rich history of the American space program, the 2018 U.S. Snowboard Team uniform designed by Burton is both retro and futuristic in its design. On the retro side, the showcase piece is the down onesie for wear off the slopes, inspired by the iconic 1960s moonwalk suit. Featured in a jacket as well, it has been crafted from a bright white Dyneema® fabric, the world’s strongest fiber, that weathers over time for that space traveled effect.

On the futuristic side, both the snowboard competition jacket and pant have a liquid metal look, made from an exclusive iridescent silver fabric that is coated in real aluminum. Extremely lightweight, Burton developed the fabric for the 2018 uniform with components typically used in audio equipment, and its highly technical properties make it ideal for snowboarding in all weather conditions. The competition jacket also features hand-drawn patches depicting the American flag and USA in space age font.


Interestingly, the USA font on the U.S. Freeski Team jacket is NASA inspired as well, as is the whole The North Face campaign for the collection, The Legacy Starts Here. The famous rocket lift off countdown sequence serves as the backdrop, along with the inspirational JFK voiceover. The seminal piece of the collection is the Outerwear Hoodie, the most innovative hoodie on the slopes. It is waterproof and transforms this favorite streetwear piece into a technical performance layer.

Both the Freeskiing and Snowboarding uniforms pay the same attention to detail on the inside as well as the outside of the pieces in each collection. Printed on the interior of the jackets, The North Face has added a collage of personal photos and artwork of the places and people important to each athlete. On the inside of the Burton jackets artwork is sewn on to the lining that includes Korean translations of helpful lighthearted phrases like ‘Do you speak English?’ and ‘Wish me luck!’

The sport of Freeskiing evolved as an offshoot of snowboarding, riding the wave of its popularity and now rivaling its cool factor. The two sports share the half-pipe, slopestyle, ski/snowboard cross, and aerial/big air competitions. Despite the similarities, both sports remain fiercely loyal to the independent spirit of their sports. In total, The North Face collection includes more than 60 pieces — outerwear, base layers, accessories and footwear — that reflect the unique, personal style that is endemic to the culture of freeskiing. For both snowboarders and freeskiers, style is integral to performance, and here each Freeski athlete can customize their uniform based on their personal preferences.


These are uniforms, however, which by definition means every athlete wears the same outfit. “The sport of snowboarding is neither nationalistic nor team-oriented in nature; however, all of that changes during the Olympic Games,” said Jake Burton, Founder and Chairman of Burton Snowboards. It is critical that these uniforms still reflect the individuality and spirit of the sport and its athletes. “If the global expectations are that U.S. snowboarders represent their country in a uniform, then Burton wants to design and manufacture it.”

For Jake Burton, who created the sport of snowboarding, and Burton Snowboards which has always pushed the outer limits of style and design, that means creating a uniform so radical, so cool, and so coveted everyone wants to wear the same thing… including the rest of us who can buy a piece of it when the games are done.