Already a ubiquitous helmet and goggle brand on ski slopes around the world, Smith is elevating its profile even further by re-entering the race market — and the Portland, Oregon-based company has bolstered its return by inking a pair of key partnerships.
Smith on Thursday announced new global partnerships with U.S. Ski & Snowboard and the Austrian Ski Association (ÖSV) to support elite athletes from both teams with Smith helmets, goggles and sunglasses for training and competition.
At the heart of the brand’s official return to the race market is this winter’s launch of its FIS-approved Icon helmet, a low-profile, advanced ABS shell construction formulated specifically for high speed impacts while providing extended coverage around the head.
Smith “further incorporated multiple internal construction materials to meet the demands of racers on the FIS stage including superior impact-absorbing benefits of Koroyd, engineered EPP inserts at the front of the helmet for dual density construction that allow for multiple gate impacts, and a multi-directional impact protection system (MIPS) lining,” the brand said in a statement. For slalom disciplines, the Icon also has a compatible and removable nylon chin guard for added facial protection.
Land Rover U.S. Ski Team athletes Ryan Cochran-Siegle, Laurenne Ross, Bella Wright and River Radmus will debut the Icon race helmet during giant slalom competitions at the World Cup in Sölden, Austria on Oct. 18. Each racer will also compete in Smith’s Squad XL goggles featuring proprietary ChromaPop lens technology. Off the racecourse, U.S. Ski Team and ÖSV athletes will also sport iconic Smith sunglasses, powered by ChromaPop.
The move signals a new direction for Smith that aligns with the brand evangelism it has built with ski racers over many decades.
“Smith has been a key player in American winter sports for over 50 years and I am honored and excited to be a part of bringing that legacy back into American ski racing,” said Cochran-Siegle. “Smith’s foremost commitment in producing the highest quality products and providing athletes a maximum level of support continues to allow us to compete at the most elite levels across freeskiing, big mountain, freestyle, pipe, snowboarding and once again ski racing. I can hardly wait to see what the future has in store.”
Jesse Hunt, USST Alpine program director said, “In a sport like ski racing where speeds are high and hundredths of a second mean the difference between success and failure, quality equipment is essential. Improved visibility gives any racer an edge, so athletes pick their eyewear carefully. Smith has been supporting our athletes that specialize in the technical and speed events across both genders, and they have been doing it for years. Our athletes at the World Cup level trust Smith goggles and helmets for both precision and protection.”
Photo courtesy Smith