The U.S. Team's Sweet New Suit

Spyder's new Slippery speed suit promises to shave seconds. Will the FIS ban it from competition?

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We remember Spyder Speedwyre—a speed-suit technology so effective it was banned from FIS competition (naturally, since it was unavailable to European racers, and Americans Hilary Lindh and Picabo Street were winning World Championship medals in it). Now comes the Slippery, a new suit incorporating technologies that Spyder says will save precious hundredths of seconds for its U.S. and Canadian competitors.

The Speedwyre incorporated strategically placed piping on the leading surfaces of a skier’s body, where they would break suction and reduce drag. The Slippery takes a couple different approaches toward the same end. The surface of the suit’s material is a finer knit that reduces the coefficient of friction. (It still meets FIS regulations for porosity. Non-porous materials, like rubber, are illegal.) Meanwhile, Spyder has switched to a less bulky padding material that creates less wind-resistance. The new d30 pad material is said to provide the same protection in the event of impact, but its lower profile will allow racers to slip through the air more efficiently.

Want a Slippery of your own for Beer League races? You’ll have to wait. The U.S. and Canadian national teams get it to themselves until next season, when it’ll be available to consumers.