Polartec Athlete Advisory Board Meeting – June 3-5 Aspen

June 11, 2010 by

Polartec Athlete Advisory Board

Polartec hosted an Athlete Advisory Board meeting June 3-5 at the Limelight Hotel in Aspen, Colorado. The team convened to discuss future fabric developments (2011-2014) and product testing results from samples that have been in the field for the past 9 months. Polartec sent a team of executives, product engineers and marketing staff to listen to feedback, test concepts and get outside for some fun.

Some of the new developments covered include Polartec Power Shield Pro (a new soft shell technology launching to consumers August 2010), new even higher-efficiency fabrics for base layers and insulation, wool/poly blends, recycled content fabrics and a bunch of stuff we can’t talk about yet.

During free hours, the group managed to fit in some climbing, hiking, trail runs, fly fishing, paragliding, and a few great meals (thanks to Cache Cache, Jimmy’s and Montagna). The scenery, gorgeous weather and quick access to world class recreation even inspired an ardent New Hampshire-ite to take back all the things she’s said over the years about Colorado (she will remain unnamed for her safety).

BBQ at Nate's house in Carbondale

Janet on Cryogenics - Independence Pass, Aspen, CO

Attendees from Polartec included Andy Vecchione (President), Jon Adelman (EVP Sales and Marketing), Steve Cuthbert, Nate Simmons, Karen Beattie, Allon Cohne, Jane Ruth and Ruthann Brown.

The full roster for the Polartec Athlete Advisory Board includes:

– Sari Anderson (30, Glenwood Springs, CO) is a national mountain bike champ, a world class adventure racer and randonnée ski racer.
– Antoine Barthelemy (54 of Annecy, France) is an accomplished alpinist and ski mountaineer.
– Bill Belcourt (45, Salt Lake City, UT) is a crusty alpinist and champion paraglider pilot.
– Janet Bergman (29, Madison, NH) is an accomplished all-around climber and consultant to outdoor nonprofit organizations.
– Gord Betenia (47, Vancouver, BC) is a talented ice climber, mountaineer and gear flogger.
– Kelly Cordes (40, Estes Park, CO) is a renowned alpinist, climber, writer and self-proclaimed dirtbag.
– Nick Devore (24, Aspen, CO) is a telemark freeskiing world champion and ski mountaineer.
– Doug Heinrich (47, Salt Lake City, UT, is a world-class all-around climber and multi-sport athlete.
– Mike Kloser (49, Vail, CO) is a world champion mountain biker, adventure racer and legendary multi-sport athlete.
– Laurent Valette (39, Rotherens, France) is an accomplished ultra runner and adventure racer.
– Michael Silitch (48, Chamonix, France) is a certified international mountain guide.

There was a lot of discussion about the location of the next meeting – Chamonix, Alyeska, Mt. Washington – we’ll have to keep you posted on that one.


Polartec Power Dry Wicking Demo Video

August 4, 2009 by

Polartec Power Dry wicks moisture in only one direction, away from your skin, thanks to a unique construction that mechanically pulls moisture through the fabric and then disperses the moisture on the surface for rapid evaporation. This construction is built into the fabric and does not depend on chemical treatments that eventually wash out of competing products.

Staying dry is the key to comfort year-round and base layers are the most critical layering choice in the winter. If your current clothing system isn’t keeping you warm enough, upgrading the fabrics next to your skin can be the most cost effective way to be warmer – this is especially true for start and stop activities where you sweat and then chill.

Polartec 2009 Brand Video – Made Possible

August 4, 2009 by

Scenes from the Annual Polartec Party at the OutDoor Trade Show in Friedrichshafen, Germany

August 4, 2009 by

Every year Polartec proudly sponsors the rocking OutDoor Party for the European Outdoor Industry and in support of the Association for Conservation. 2009 was one of the best events yet and we’re already working on making 2010 even better.

The main stage.

2nd Stage

Polartec Fabric Production Process – Yarn To Finished Fabric

August 4, 2009 by

Polartec receives yarn from one of its yarn vendor / partners, Unifi in North Carolina, on recyclable pallets. Trucks return to Unifi with empty pallets and also fabric scraps that can be recycled into new yarn. In 2009 30% of Polartec’s production uses recycled content yarn saving millions of pounds of CO2 emissions each year.

Dozens of spools of yarn feed into a circular knitting machine at Polartec’s main production facility in Lawrence, MA, USA. Different yarns and constructions can be combined to create hundreds of different fabrics with specific performance attributes. As the fabric is knit, it rolls up inside the bottom of the machine creating what looks like a giant terry cloth tube sock. Later this “tube sock” is slit down the middle to create flat fabric.

From the circular knitting machines, rolls of greige fabric await quality inspections before going to dyeing and finishing. These rolls look like giant terry cloth tube socks before the tube is slit to create a flat piece of fabric.

As greige goods come off the circular knitting machines, the fabric runs past a light for quality inspection. This happens before the fabric is slit, dyed, and finished.

Greige goods are dyed in “jets” that look like giant front loading washing machines. These jets apply heat and pressure to lock in color as well as performance enhancing treatments like odor resistance, anti-static, and wicking agents. New dye jets use 50% less water.

After the dye jets, a machine wrings out the fabric and then slits the fabric to create one flat piece which is then dried before finishing. Fabric next moves to be napped and then sheared in finishing.

Finishing the fabric is the process of the loops in the fabric and then shearing the yarns to an even height. This is a specialty of Polartec’s which creates long lasting, non-pilling fabrics. In this video, giant rollers covered with small wires break the loops in the fabric to create loft for warmth without weight.

Finished Polartec fabric is inspected for quality before it is shipped to apparel manufacturers.

A Martindale machine tests abrasion resistance on Polartec fabrics.

Pilling test for Polartec fabrics.

Polartec Challenge grant recipient Jordan Romero update – No Indo yet, Rainier instead

July 31, 2009 by


Update from Paul Romero, father of 13-year-old Jordan Romero…

A last minute postponement of the planned climbing trip to Indonesia (Summit #6) and we found ourselves instead at the Summer Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City then direct from the show to Washington state, home of one of North America’s prominent mountains, Mt. Rainier. Civil unrest in Indonesia near Carstensz Pyramid has temporarily halted all climbing in the area.

At 14,400ft., Jordan yells over the howling wind “3 down, 47 to go!” Jordan’s referring to his next mission to high-point the U.S. (standing on the highest point in each of the 50 states).

Jordan’s standing on top of Rainier, the massive free-standing mountain that commands tremendous respect and has claimed the lives of many who tried to reach it’s peak. So, though Jordan still sees it as training for the 7 Summits, he’s now bagged three of the U.S. High-Points; Washington’s Rainier, California’s Mt. Whitney and Alaska’s Mt. McKinley.

The Rainier team consisted of Jordan, 13, soon to be in 8th grade at Big Bear Middle School, Karen Lundgren, team Mom and videographer, and Paul Romero, Father and team guide. Read the rest of this entry »

UPDATE – Apex Awards Spotlight – Cutter Tech Knickerbockers

July 29, 2009 by

APEX_09Logo_2CThe stretchy and super-breathable Cutter Tech Knickerbockers feature Polartec® Power Shield® so they fend off moisture and won’t restrict movement while you pedal. The ¾-length cut stays clear of your cuff-tearing chainring and the articulated fit pulls functional duty in the saddle, minus the fresh-from-the-Tour look when you meet your crew at the bar. Polartec Hardface® technology adds outstanding durability. MSRP $149.

P.S. I just looked and these are on sale right now – 30% off at the backcountry.com outlet.

P.P.S. I’ve got a sweet Polartec garment for the first person to guess where the brand name ‘Cutter’ comes from. Post in the comments section.

UPDATE- The Gear Junkie put the Cutter Knickerbockers through the ringer for 6 weeks and just posted a glowing review. Read it here.CutterBockersBrown

APEX Winner Spotlight – Core Concepts Plush Pullover

June 29, 2009 by


Core Concepts Plush Pullover
Featuring Polartec® Thermal Pro® fabric, the Plush Pullover from Core Concepts provides lightweight, moisture-wicking warmth, making it the perfect insulation layer no matter what you’re doing – whether it’s a double diamond ski run or a double tall latte. MSPR $80.

APEX Spotlight – Burton Polartec® Power Stretch® gloves

June 25, 2009 by

APEX_09Logo_2C BurtonPowerStretch These lightweight Burton gloves feature four-way Polartec® Power Stretch® fabric and sticky rubber palms, making them the perfect choice for spring riding in the park. MSRP $20.

APEX Winner spotlight – Arc’teryx Strato Jacket

June 24, 2009 by

ArcteryxStratoAPEX_09Logo_2CDesigned for snowsports devotees seeking layering warmth and comfort, the Strato Jacket is made with distinctively textured 64% recycled-content Polartec® Thermal Pro® Cobble fleece. This relaxed fitting jacket breathes well and wicks moisture, crossing easily from casual to active terrain. MSRP $175.