Thought you were fast, a good shot, quick on a sled? Think again—its plastics that help you perform and stay safe when you’re playing outdoors. With excitement for the Winter Games mounting, we thought we’d look back on that time we went out to the Olympic Center in Park City Utah with retired world class aerial skier Fuzz Feddersen and a few friends to experience the difference between pre-plastic equipment and innovative new plastic snow gear. Our Plastics Make it Possible® Winter Games put plastics to the test and helped illustrate the benefits the materials have contributed to modern sports.
Plastics and Modern Sport
“I couldn’t have done what I did and competed in three Olympics if it wasn’t for the technology that plastic made possible in my equipment,” said Feddersen. “My father started out skiing on wooden skis with leather binding.”
Feddersen, an aerial skiing icon led our games to help demonstrate the things that plastics does for winter sports. Our winter sports challenge included snowshoeing, sledding, and an ice hockey slap shooting contest. Each of our participants started out running the skills course with pre-plastic equipment– leather snow-shoes, wooden toboggans, and old-style hockey gear with leather helmets and gloves. Then participants ran the course again with modern plastic equipment.
Always Advancing Winter Sports
Innovations in plastics continue enabling more lightweight, durable, and responsive equipment, as well as tougher protective gear and better insulated, water resistant clothing—helping athletes achieve high levels of performance. “I was very lucky that plastics was part of the technology growing up. Especially in the skis alone, composite cores, polyurethane tops, the bases made of a plastic material that make them very fast and light,” said Feddersen. New hi-tech gear is always in development and is often first available to the world’s top athletes. Brian Currutt, former world class free-style skier said, as athletes prepare to compete on the world stage, they often get access to new equipment. “That’s when a lot of companies like to bring some of the new products out to the forefront, allow the athletes to give them a test run and make sure that the products are performing the way they like them to perform before the integrate the products into the new market.”
So many amazing technologies we often take for granted enable unprecedented safety and performance, learn more about how plastics are at work across a number of winter sports.