She may be officially retired from racing, but Lindsey Vonn is still living the ski lifestyle — and dressing the part.
The Olympian unveiled her latest collaboration with Head Sportswear, a line of skiwear that combines technical materials and a newfound focus on the après-ski tradition of the sport. “It’s more retro,” Vonn told FN during a preview last week in New York of Head’s 2022-2023 winter collection. “Everyone used to wear sweaters (while skiing) and I wanted to bring back that retro vibe but also keep it really chic and elegant and versatile. A lot of times people just make one collection that can’t be interchangeable. I wanted people to be able to mix it up and create different outfits, it’s not one size fits all.”
Vonn is in her fourth year in partnership with the sports apparel and equipment company for its Legacy line of upscale women’s winter sportswear, though the brand has been supplying the athlete with hard goods (skis, boots, bindings, poles, etc.) since 2009; Vonn won her first Olympic medal using gear from the brand.
While the previous Legacy collection included a jumpsuit — inspired by one that Princess Diana wore in the 80s, no less — this time around, Vonn was intent on creating her own version. The result is a graphic white one-piece accented in black and made of a technical fabric intended to give warmth but also hold shape and fit to different body types.
“My dad used to always wear one pieces, for me it was that visual,” said Vonn of the jumpsuit. “You have to have a warm fabric but also one that has some stretch to it. I’m an athlete so I never really fit in to one thing, to one piece. This is the best combination of everything, you get the high tech performance but also the amazing shape. It’s also very warm, I’ve worn it in a full on blizzard. I also wore it in the rain — it unfortunately rained on my ski trip and so it’s 100 percent tested that it is waterproof.”
After undergoing another knee surgery in March, Vonn said she has jumped back into physical activity, working on the latest collection of Project Rock and trying her hand at another sport under the Head umbrella: tennis. “I’ve been playing and feeling great. My forehand is finally better. I can stop on my right leg now,” she said.
The skier still frequents the slopes, too. Her routine, however, has shifted since retiring from racing in 2019.
“I’m more of the après-ski situation now, which is reflected in my choices (in the collection),” said Vonn. “I’m having fun with my friends and family. I started skiing with my family and it was such a great sport to do together and now I’m back to where I started. I went on vacation to Courchevel, and I had raced there so many times. But I had never skied any other trail besides the race trail. It’s one of the best mountains in the world and I had never skied there! (During competition) it’s the warm up hill and the race hill and these two trails were the extent of my exploration on the mountain. I feel like I’ve been to these places but I haven’t actually been to these places. So now it’s kind of a nice thing for me to go back and explore.”
Vonn said she tests every single piece in the collection, which includes footwear for the first time. To start, the athlete worked with the Head team to develop and all-purpose, hiker-style lace-up boot with metal grommets and an all-over illustrated print on white leather, depicting hearts, flowers and the number “82” (referring to the athlete’s 82 World Cup victories).
The rollout of footwear for the line comes as the Austria-based brand has experienced growth in its ski and snowboard gear and apparel categories over the past year, in addition to a booming tennis business. “In 2020 most of the textile brands in our industry put the brakes on, they made carryover styles, they didn’t invest,” said Roman Stepek, vice president of sportswear for Head. “I said, we need to go full speed ahead, and we went ahead with new designs. We didn’t know what to expect. It was a huge risk. I ordered 200 percent more tennis apparel for February 2022, we shipped on time and the numbers look phenomenal.”
The growth is in line with pandemic trends that have propped up the tennis and ski industries, both of which are Head’s key sports categories. “In the U.S. it was a reinvention,” said Vonn. “It’s a great family sport, I think you’re seeing a lot of people coming back to it that had maybe gotten away from it for a few years.”
The upswing also helped Vonn to expand into another category close to her heart: dog wear. This time around, the new Legacy collection includes coordinating puffer vests that comes in small, medium and large.
“The dogs and I go skiing together,” she said. “I also ski with my sisters, so we had a whole lineup of matching coats with the dogs.”