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What to Watch: Winter Wonderland

Weather is always the big question mark for ski resorts,but war is never good for tourist business.Consequently,companies that clothe skiers and snowboarders are wary that an Iraqi showdown will inhibit their customers from flying to the mountains.As...

Weather is always the big question mark for ski resorts,but war is never good for tourist business.Consequently,companies that clothe skiers and snowboarders are wary that an Iraqi showdown will inhibit their customers from flying to the mountains.As long as the U.S.oes not go to battle,apparel manufacturers aim to build ski and snowboard apparel sales beyond last year ’s mark of $662 million.The Ski Industries of America reports that women comprise 40 percent of that figure.

This story first appeared in the December 26, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Look for back country skiing and snowboarding,as well as telemark ski- ing,to gain more fans,especially those 30 and younger,in the months ahead.”Everything extreme is big,”said Julie Lynch,director of market research for the SIA.

Tommy Hilfiger has signed a four-year sponsorship deal with the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team to outfit its 60-plus members and coaches on and off the slopes through the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino,Italy.

Instead of piling on layers to weather the elements,more consumers are opting for soft shell pieces made of fabrics that wick perspiration away from the skin and adjust to the wearer ’s body temperature,as well as product innovations with a more practical touch.

Burton remains the industry ’s chameleon,reinventing its products and marketing.This winter,it unveiled its Analog Clone Jacket with a MP3 play- er sewn into the garment and easy-to-reach controls on the sleeve.

Descente has dusted fabrics with negative ions,which is said to improve the wearer ’s concentration,something that is crucial in competition. Nonskiers are also keeping tabs on advancements.Lutz &Patmos Teflon- coated cashmere windbreaker esigned by Yves Béhar was recognized by Time magazine as one of the best inventions of 2002.