By Kim Fuller Published in the Vail Daily
The east nook of the Vail Valley is where a new skiwear company has laid its roots, and their reach is beginning to snowball.
SYNC Performance Apparel started in the fall of 2013, and launched their first product in September 2014. The company makes ski racing apparel, but their exposure is expanding to a range of mountain athletes — from top-tier racers, to backcountry shredders, to casual resort skiers.
“We make very purposeful ski racing products, like race suits and padded garments and things like that,” said Geofrey Ochs, of SYNC Performance Apparel. “We have those insights from the athletes that allow us to develop things like a stretch puffy, and the most durable, three-layer fabric on the mountain. Those types of things lend themselves to a much broader market than just ski racers.”
Since SYNC’s newest products include more than just racing suits, the average athlete is turning her head. I’ve tested their Stretch Puffy Jacket — made with a down blend for warmth, and a stretch-motion fabric to ensure freedom of movement. The outer coating is breathable and water repellent, with a waterproof breathable shoulder overlay.
A down jacket that’s durable makes for an ideal ski jacket, and I love how I can’t rip through the durable overlay fabric when I throw my skis over my shoulder. There’s room in the piece to move, especially with the stretch fabric, and you can cinch the elastic chord closer to your hips to make the jacket more fitted.
Keep an eye out for SYNC’s apparel with their mountain key logo, as it’s starting to pop up at ski races all around — even at the World Cup level.
“It’s all about the mountain and the athlete and how they fit together,” Ochs said, “and making sure they are synced up is the whole idea — so we developed a logo with the mountain key.”
Ochs said SYNC loves focusing on ski racing consumers, because of the strong narrative that revolves around the sport.
“You know, it’s not just a minute-thirty, flying down the hill and through the gates,” he said. “It’s all the dry land; it’s all the gym time; it’s all the training. When someone says he or she is a ski racer, it automatically means all of those things.”
Sam Morse, of Maine, has been on the U.S. Ski Team for the last two years.
“Performance says it all,” Morse said of SYNC. “Their gear is built to perform. It’s not the cheapest, but it’s bomb proof, and you get what you pay for.”
While performance is a priority for each piece, the garments also come in fun colors and align with current and sustained product trends.
SYNC’s Shelter Shell Jacket uses a three-layer fabric that is breathable, durable, waterproof and stretchy. The jacket comes in black, and bright colors too, created with special, fade-resistant dyes.
Morse said he think all of the SYNC pieces are “great products,” but his top choice right now is the SYNC Training Jacket.
“From the fit and the fabric, all the way to its incredible functionality,” Morse said. “This is my favorite piece to toss on over my speed suit during the first few runs of training, when the sun hasn’t come up yet and it’s freezing.”
The fabric, Morse explained, “seems to be virtually impervious to any and all wind.” He said the zipper runs smooth without hitches, and that the jacket has enough stretch in it to move with the skier.
“One of the best, but often overlooked features of this jacket is its durability,” he said. “I have used mine in well over 50 training sessions so far — bashing gates with it — and there’s isn’t a bit of wear whatsoever.”
Ochs said SYNC is growing quickly. They may grow out of their small space in East Vail very soon.
“People have taken notice,” he said. “We’re teeny-tiny, but we’re making a big impact.”
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