This month, new high-tech and highly secretive ski suits, made for the U.S. ski team by Boulder, Colorado, apparel company Spyder, will make their Olympic debut. Designed for a sport often won by hundredths of a second, the new suits are more aerodynamic and, for the first time, incorporate compression fabric that doesn’t stretch out over time. “Skiers like to be able to practice and race in the same suit,” says designer Matt Strackbein. “Especially if they’ve won in it.” Compression, which reduces a racer’s fatigue on long courses, can be lost the more a suit is worn, sometimes stretching a full size. Spyder says its new suits “snap back” better than any others out there. “We know they offer a competitive advantage,” says Strackbein. “The suits are tested the same as cars and missiles, using wind tunnels.” And unlike Spyder’s SpeedWyre suits, which were banned in 1997 for giving skiers an unfair advantage, these are competition legal. Ted Ligety, Lindsey Vonn, Bode Miller, and Julia Mancuso will all be wearing them in Sochi.
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