Gear Shed

U.S. Ski Team Unveils Downhill Suit

A uniform built for Sochi.

United States' Bode Miller makes a turn during men's downhill training Thursday at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.     Photo: Luca Bruno/Associated Press

In early 2012, the U.S. Ski Team put a sensor on Bode Miller and sent him onto the downhill course in Sochi. The device measured speed, acceleration, and other factors, collecting more than a million data points that were processed by a supercomputer.

“It’s the same technology used in missile guidance systems,” says Troy Flanagan, an aerospace engineer and the high-performance director for the U.S. ski and snowboard teams. Using the information, they were able to work with apparel sponsor Spyder to create a speed suit tailored to the Sochi Games.

“We know there are fabrics that are faster in certain situations,” says Flanagan. “We also know that fabrics layered differently are faster in some conditions. We even know that some dyes are faster.” The suit won’t be revealed until just before the Olympics begin. If it’s ugly, just remember: it’s all for the sake of speed.

The U.S. Ski Team finally unveiled the suit Thursday during Miller's downhill training session. Miller clocked the fastest time of the day in the first of his three training runs ahead of Sunday's medal race. 

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