Polartec Athlete Advisory Board Hard at Work in Chamonix

The weather in Chamonix provided ideal conditions to test fabric waterproofing.

For the 11 world-class climbers, skiers, mountaineers, runners, explorers and adventure racers on the Polartec Athlete Advisory Board, there’s perhaps nothing as painful as sitting under the fluorescent bulbs of a conference room for an eight-hour meeting. But, if that meeting will result in warmer, drier and lighter fabrics that help them perform faster, longer and more efficiently, they’re happy to put in the time. Of course, it doesn’t hurt if that meeting takes place in the international capital of mountain sports – Chamonix, France.

Polartec president Andy Vecchione addresses the group

This past week, the Polartec Advisory Board members traveled from around the world to Chamonix, carrying stacks of prototype baselayers, insulating layers and weather protection jackets they’ve been testing for past 6-12 months. The athletes joined a team of Polartec product developers and company leaders, including Polartec president Andy Vecchione and VP Jon Adelman, for a marathon meeting to discuss the latest in fabric technologies.

The athlete group, which was instrumental in the development of both Polartec Power Shield Pro and Polartec NeoShell fabrics, has been testing a wide variety of exciting new (and top-secret) Polartec innovations. The group has put those fabrics through the proverbial ringer, evaluating them for warmth, breathability, waterproofness and overall comfort. The athletes shared their opinions on their test garments and talked about what they would like to see in the next iteration of prototypes.

We can’t share exactly what innovations are coming from Polartec in the future, but based upon the enthusiasm at the end of the Athlete Advisory Board meeting, we can assure you that there are some really exciting, ground-breaking fabrics in the pipeline.

Climber Bill Belcourt talks about some of his favorite layers

Adventure racer Laurent Vallete shares his thoughts on a prototype Polartec fleece fabric

Climber Gord Betenia does a simple breathability check

Mountaineer Antoine Barthelemy compares two prototype garments

Skier Nick Devore pulls out a baselayer he hadn’t washed in months to test odor control. Antoine and Kelly Cordes show their dissaproval.

The Board found sunshine in nearby Courmayer, Italy.

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