When the U.S. Olympic snowboard team takes to the snow in PyeongChang, South Korea, in February, they will be sporting uniforms appropriate for the "giant leaps" they are expected to perform.
Burton Snowboards on Thursday (Nov. 2) revealed one-of-a-kind, NASA astronaut spacesuit-inspired uniforms for the halfpipe, slopestyle and big air snowboarding competitions at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
"I have always loved the astronauts' suits, because not only do they have such a cool and amazing aesthetic, they also were designed to function under the most extreme conditions," said Greg Dacyshyn, head designer of Burton Snowboards Olympic uniform program, in a statement. "So this gave us an incredible platform to push the innovation and technology of the garments as well." [Evolution of the Spacesuit in Pictures (Space Tech Gallery)]
"My hope is that these pieces help the athletes go where no rider has gone before," he said.
Taking design cues from the spacesuits and pressure suits worn by Mercury, Gemini and Apollo and space shuttle-era astronauts, Burton Snowboards describes its team uniform as "innovative in function and retro-futuristic in design."
The competition jacket and pant emphasize the future with a liquid metal look, via an iridescent silver fabric coated in very fine, real aluminum. The fabric was custom developed for the 2018 uniform by infusing an aluminum-coated fabric typically used for audio equipment with properties ideal for snowboarding in any weather condition.
To pay homage to the spirit of the U.S. space program, the jacket also features hand-drawn patches of the American flag and "USA" in a font that evokes NASA's "worm" logo used between 1976 and 1992. The competition jacket and pant also feature red stripes, styled after the identifier worn by Apollo commanders and shuttle and space station lead spacewalkers.
In addition to the competition wear, the uniform collection also includes a NASA spacesuit-inspired down one-piece and village down jacket, both fabricated from bright white non-woven Dyneema fabric, which is the world's strongest fiber. Lightweight and waterproof, the Dyneema fabric has a space-age feel, similar to the 1960s Apollo moonwalkers' spacesuits, with a texture that breaks in over time, giving it a weathered look.
To wear with the competition jacket and pant, Burton also created a fleece jacket and pant fabricated from a custom Polartec "High Loft" fabric originally created for the military. The 2018 uniform includes a lightweight down insulator in a "moonbeam" colorway and drirelease wool base layers in "international orange," a signature color used by NASA for its space shuttle-era and future Orion astronaut launch and entry suits.
Leather mitts and fleece gloves, tech t-shirts and beanies complete the 2018 U.S. snowboard team uniform.
"As one of the most recognized brands in snowboarding, Burton brings tremendous value to our Olympic snowboard team," stated Dan Barnett, U.S. Ski and Snowboard chief commercial officer. "Success at the highest level of global competition comes from acute attention to detail and we know that Burton shares that philosophy."
"If the expectations are that U.S. snowboarders represent their country in a uniform, then Burton wants to design and manufacture it," said Jake Burton, founder and chairman of the Vermont-based snowboard company. "By doing so, we assure U.S. riders that they will have outerwear they can trust to perform at the highest level with a look they have input into and ultimately respect."
The 2018 Winter Olympics will be held from Feb. 9 through Feb. 25. The year marks the 50th anniversaries of Apollo 7 and Apollo 8, the latter marking the first human voyage to the moon, and the 60th anniversary of NASA as the United States' civilian space agency.
See more photos of the 2018 U.S. Olympic snowboard team's spacesuit-inspired uniforms at collectSPACE.