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Pure Genius

17 Jan 14
Heidi Kumm
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10 comments

In today’s world nearly every company has a motto, a tagline…and a hashtag. It’s great for communicating with customers, especially when done with consistency and sincerity. Some companies fail miserably, other are a shining success. I’m pretty sure Columbia falls into the shining success category…and I’m not just saying that because I’m lucky enough to part of a hashtagged group brought together by Columbia. I’m not saying that because I spent a week watching the company live up to its #TryingStuff motto.

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The other cohorts of my season have done a pretty stellar job of describing what #TryingStuff means to them, so rather than rehash their words, here you go…

Patrick :: Trying Stuff Makes us Grow
Dave :: #TryingStuff with Columbia Sportswear

For me the real proof that Columbia lives by the concept of #TryingStuff shows through in their gear – the products that came from trying something, learning from mistakes and trying again. I’m slowly working my way up to becoming a true gear junky and it was really neat to see how the latest gear at Columbia evolved. I listened to designers talk about how features came to be then pulled out my older Columbia jackets when I got home to see the changes first hand.

When sneak peeks of the US, Canadian and Russian Olympic uniforms started popping up on Columbia’s social media in the weeks before the secretive #OmniGames we all started speculating, making assumptions and jumping to conclusions…basically every single thing Columbia was hoping for. We played right into their suspense traps!

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Turns out we were right about the Olympic uniform reveal being part of our trip, especially for the Season 4 group. On Wednesday afternoon the Season 4 cohort was part of the uniform reveal press conference — we even got to see and touch the uniforms before anyone else in the press!

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Talk about feeling special! We followed Scott through a secret passage way (okay, back hallway) to the room where the uniforms were on display and interviews were being done. I even got to chat with Travis Gerrits – I’m a rather conceited snowboarder from the US so I will admit I did not recognize him as a Canadian aerial skier but he was still really friendly. More importantly, he didn’t give me the side eye when I described him as “the guy flipping through the air while we all hold our breath”. Sorry USA…I’m rooting for this guy in the Olympics!

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During the press conference we learned a lot about the new ideas and technology that went into the Olympic uniforms. The athletes were very involved, modifications were made along the way and Columbia went out of their way to make each standardized uniform as customizable as possible.

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Without going into boring details on the gear — just in case “gear junky” isn’t on your resume — I want to get excited about one thing I cannot wait to own. Yea, that’s right, this “on clearance only” girl is pumped up about gear coming out next season, gear I am fully prepared to throw money at before it winds up on the sales rack in odd colors! I am really excited about snowboarding pants with a…

reverse snow skirt!

How has this not been thought up before? It is pure genius. The minute Columbia release pants with a reverse snow skirt I am buying them, especially if they happen to be green! hint.hint.

Just in case you made the same “I’m sorry, reverse how? What are you talking about?” face as I did when I first heard of “feature” let me explain. A snow skirt (or powder skirt) is the strip of material near the waist of a winter jacket with elastic along the bottom.

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Traditional & Reverse Snow Skirts
Photo Cred: Columbia Sportswear (because I was way too excited to remember to take pictures!)

Once you put the jacket on the skirt can be snapped together before you zip up. In theory this reduces the chances of getting snow up your back and down your pants. In theory…

I am a long-waisted tall chick. I also like to play in the powder, ride tree runs and fall down. All of my snowboarding jackets come with snow skirts…not a single one is of much use to me. I’ll snap the snow skirt tight around my hips and feel prepared to take on any crash without getting snow down my pants. Then I bend over to strap on my bindings. Boom…snow skirt becomes a Britney Spears-eske belly shirt. Not all that beneficial.

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This reverse snow skirt is the solution. It is the same concept of a traditional snow skirt…but attached to the pants with the elastic band at the top. Basically it extends the waist of your snowboarding pants up toward your ribs. When you just can’t resist the urge to slide butt first down a mountain of powder the snow skirt is there to stop it…not slide up to your chin. Perfection.

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Even more interesting? This concept was born from a Canadian (I believe, don’t quote me on country) snowboarder who cut up board shorts and attached them to the top of his snowboarding pants. Since Columbia was taking the time to get input from the people actually wearing their gear they were able to take this idea and run with it. Proof they are #TryingStuff…and succeeding!

And now I officially feel like a gear junky — that is a lot of text about one feature on a single pair of pants! In my defense having a pair of snowboarding pants that fancy will make me want to head outside more often (is that possible?) and do more fun stuff, which will lead to more fun stories for you. That makes the chatter justifiable, right?

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Of course, this isn’t the only feature Columbia revealed with the Olympic uniforms. For more details on the reveal check out their video. If you’re more interested in hearing opinions from real people take a look at some of the gear reviews from other #OmniTen-ers that got to touch the gear and question the designers

Heidi H :: Gear of the #OmniGames
Katie L :: Best Columbia Gear of the Games
Weston :: Intro to TurboDown

#OmniGames Storytelling Pinterest board

The Jackets of Columbia :: the story of my first Columbia jacket and a look at the evolution of style and technology in the Columbia jackets via my gear closet.
The Greatness of #OmniTen S4 :: a few fun facts I will never forget about the interesting, loveable #OmniTen crew that I happily claim as “mine”!
Lessons Learned :: the things I learned about myself, others and life while competing in the #OmniGames

10 Comments

  1. Corrie Anne January 17, 2014 at 6:11 pm Reply

    Haha. I was definitely looked for an actual skirt look. Like a running skirt type thing. Nope!!!! I’m so excited for the Olympics!!!!!!!

    • Heidi Nicole January 18, 2014 at 6:37 am Reply

      Ha. Nope, not an actual skirt. The word “skirt” kinda makes sense when its on a jacket but not so much on pants.

      I’m really excited to watch the Olympics “knowing” people and gear!

  2. lynne @ lgsmash January 17, 2014 at 9:40 pm Reply

    okay – i’m going to need a snow skirt show and tell this weekend. do you just mean, instead of being on the jacket, it’s on the pants? like highwaisted pants??

    • Heidi Nicole January 18, 2014 at 6:40 am Reply

      Yea, kind of like high waisted pants…but optionally.

      You’ll always have the regular waist but you have the option of pulling the reverse snow skirt up if you’re risk of falling/getting snow down your drawers is increased at any time. The photo next to the jacket has the reverse snow skirt pulled up — the black strip of material above the regular waist. Also, the suspenders in that image are an option feature the riders can add/remove.

  3. Michelle January 18, 2014 at 7:18 am Reply

    The first picture of this post makes me so sad!!!!!! Why couldn’t I have got there earlier? I wish I knew how to photoshop. Haha. But otherwise GREAT post and I am totally with you on buying that reverse snow skirt. Best idea ever!!!

    • Heidi Nicole January 20, 2014 at 10:28 am Reply

      Why was Mother Nature being so hateful!? You’re photoshopped into our thoughts, you just can’t see the thought bubbles! 😉

  4. jena January 19, 2014 at 7:46 pm Reply

    I was also looking for a skirt. I’m all, “uhm? Why would you ever wear a skirt in the snow.” I’m just going to stay in Florida where snow skirts aren’t a thing, and snow going down my pants will never happen.

    • Heidi Nicole January 20, 2014 at 9:40 am Reply

      Or you can come visit CO where you’ll have fun playing in the snow! 😉

  5. The Lessons Learned at Columbia's OmniGames // Heidi Kumm December 11, 2016 at 4:06 pm Reply

    […] forget about the interesting, loveable #OmniTen crew that I happily claim as “mine”! Pure Genius :: the story behind the creation of the many details added to the Columbia gear, especially the […]

  6. The Jackets of Columbia via the #OmniGames // Heidi Kumm January 1, 2017 at 2:23 pm Reply

    […] Learned :: the things I learned about myself, others and life while competing in the #OmniGames Pure Genius :: the story behind the creation of the many details added to the Columbia gear, especially the […]

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