"We do not want a SEA of Parkas . . . "

by Walter Hanson

In the early 90's Dale of Norway was selected to provide sweaters for the Olympic Games in Lillehammer.  This was one of the largest orders that Dale had ever received.  There were parties in the factory to celebrate the large sale.  The design team met with the Olympic Committee after the contract was awarded to go over the designs that they had originally submitted.  Everything went very well and the committee reaffirmed their choices. As talks were winding down, though, the committee informed the Dale design team that they did not want to cover up the sweaters with parkas.  That would ruin the "Norwegian Look" they had hoped for when they chose Dale.  

The design team returned to Dale and informed the managing director of the Olympic Committee's desire. Immediately afterward, he asked for a short meeting with the Olympic Committee.  At the meeting, explained that Lillehammer was very close to the Arctic Circle, that the Olympics were being held in the high mountains at Lillehammer, and that the beginning of February was the coldest part of the season in the mountains. The committee members sat quietly as the director presented his list of facts to back up why the Olympians may need a coat. Afterwards, the committee members thanked the director for presenting his concerns, but insisted that they liked the look of people in Norwegian Sweaters for the Lillehammer Olympics. They did not want to hide the Norwegian Look beneath a sea of parkas.>

The director paused for a moment while he considered their request. Finally, he looked up and told the committee that they would have their sweaters--and no sea of parkas.

The technical team at Dale had already been experimenting with a way to make the Merino wool reistant to wind and water resistant. In fact, they had already had a brief talk with the people at Gore in Europe about collaborating on an exclusive weatherproofing technique. In less than three months, the very first Windstopper sweater was born through the mutual efforts of Gore and Dale. The Windstopper sweater was made with a special Gore Fabric Liner that had been created jointly with Dale to take advantage of the properties of the new weather resistant yarn Dale had developed.  

The Windstopper sweaters were designed to maintain the wearer's body temperature in temperatures below freezing and be windproof but still breathable.  They could keep the wearer comfortable in temperatures ranging from -20° to +65° Fahrenheit, regardless of how active you were.  A customer could put on their Windstopper, step outside into a blizzard then back inside and never feel too hot or too cold.

Today, we all remember the images of people in Norwegian Sweaters cheering on the teams in Lillehammer and that "Norwegian Old World" charm that was fully on display Lillehammer saw the debut of Windstopper technology and was the start of an ongoing collaboration between Gore and Dale.  

Ever since, that time, Dale of Norway Windstopper sweaters have been one of our customers favorite sweaters. I still have the one I received back in 1993 to test when we took a group of our customers over to Lillehammer for the World Cup.  It was the dry run for the 1994 Olympics and the closest we would come to being there for the Olympic Games.  I never took my Windstopper off from the time we arrived in Lillehammer until we boarded the plane two weeks later to come back to Minnesota.  I was comfortable in it riding a long chairlift up to the top of the mountain that would host the Olympic Downhill and then working my way down the mountain through challenging terrain and a stiff north wind.  Ever since, I have been a believer in the Windstopper technology.  That Windstopper is still my favorite weekend companion.  I can be out all day doing errands in our Minnesota winter weather, make some stops in heated buildings and never get too hot or too cold.  It always feels like you are standing in shirt sleeves in your home basking in front of a toasty fire in the fireplace.  

We still have customers who wear their Windstoppers in to pick up this or that in our Rochester store and love to share all the places they have taken their Windstoppers.  In the beginning we thought that they were the perfect thing for our skiers, but as the time went on we noticed that everyone liked how comfortable our Windstoppers are.  From soccer moms to die-hard skiers and everyone in between, our Windstoppers have become their favorite winter wear.

Come in and let us show you what real comfort is all about.  Here are links to our Best Selling Winstoppers for Men and Women.  

Men's Finnskogen Dark Charcoal Winstopper

Men's Ulriken Navy and Sand Windstopper

Ladies Glittertind Windstopper in Winter White, Smoke, & Alium Pink

Ladies Glittertind Windstopper in Light Charcoal, Navy, Cobalt, & Winter White