Nordic skiing according to Odlo: from its Norwegian roots to Olympic champion Martin Fourcade

The history of ODLO is closely linked to that of Nordic skiing. It all began in Norway in 1946 with two sewing machines and the idea of producing high-quality sportswear. The ODLO brand, named after its founder Odd Roar Lofterød Sr, was born. Today, the Swiss national team wears a suit specially designed by the Norwegian brand, as does five-time Olympic champion Martin Fourcade.

In 1963, Odd Lofterød Sr. began experimenting with a new synthetic fiber called Helanca. He used it to create an elastic, thermoregulating suit for cross-country skiers and speed skaters. It was a first for athletes.

The following year, at the 1964 Winter Olympics, the national teams wore the suit, including the Norwegian national team. The latter won a series of medals at the Innsbruck Games. History was made.



The Olympic Games to convince the world

In 1972, at the Sapporo Olympic Games, 25 national teams wore another ODLO innovation: ODLO Thermic. This was the first fully synthetic “base layer” to wick away perspiration and keep participants dry, at a time when teams had to pay for their own equipment. Sponsors didn’t yet exist!

In 1979, Odd Roar Jr. took over the management of the company and, in 1986, transferred ODLO’s headquarters from Norway to Switzerland, while honoring ODLO’s strong Norwegian roots. 1987 marks a turning point in ODLO’s history: Odd Roar Jr. and his partners invent the revolutionary Athletic Clothing System, based on the now well-known three-layer principle.

The system is designed from the skin outwards, starting with the “base layer”, later called the “first layer” or simply underwear. This base layer ensures optimum moisture management. The second, intermediate layer helps to regulate temperature, while the third, outer layer, seals everything in and protects against elements such as wind, rain or snow.

Martin Fourcade in off-piste Nordic skiing. ©Nicolas Joly

Two ambassadors of choice: the Swiss National Nordic Ski Team and Martin Fourcade

75 years later, the secret of ODLO’s performance clothing and reputation still lies in its pioneering, innovative know-how. Proud of their Nordic roots, they continue to push the boundaries to create high-performance skiwear specifically designed to enhance the cross-country skiing experience.

Earlier this year, the brand announced its return as Nordic outfitter to Swiss-Ski, the Swiss national team, until 2027. In addition to Swiss-Ski teams representing the brand at all Nordic events, this latest partnership also sees Swiss-Ski athletes contributing to product development and taking part in a new athlete apprenticeship program at ODLO’s headquarters in Hünenberg, Switzerland.

Martin Fourcade. ©Nicolas Joly

I grew up watching my idols
win wearing ODLO
Martin Fourcade

The icing on the cake is that five-time Olympic champion Martin Fourcade has also joined the ODLO ambassador team. CEO Daniel Eppler enthusiastically explains: “This is the start of a new era for our brand, one centered on our passion for physical activity. We’re delighted that Martin is joining us to help us bring our technical clothing to more amateur athletes“.

Martin Fourcade will bring all his sporting know-how to bear on Nordic skis, of course, but also as a practitioner of many other mountain sports such as running, cycling and hiking. “I’m honored to join the ODLO family” Martin Fourcade said of the announcement. “I already have a long history with ODLO, which I’ve had the opportunity to wear throughout my professional career. I grew up watching my French and Norwegian idols win wearing ODLO, so it’s with great pride that I join this renowned brand. I’m very excited to inspire other people passionate about outdoor sports all year round.”

Discover the entire ODLO FW23 cross-country ski collection

“I really like the new insulation vest.
It’s a perfect combination of lightness, cold protection
and style”.

Martin Fourcade

The Zeroweight Insulator sleeveless jacket is a versatile and elegant model that provides extra warmth over a cross-country ski jacket. Its four-way stretch windproof fabric ensures remarkable freedom of movement and breathability, as well as protection from the elements. It features two zipped hand pockets for storing valuables, and reflective details to optimize visibility in low-light conditions. Also suitable for running and everyday use. (170 €)

ODLO’s carefully crafted Engvik cross-country ski jacket (€189.95) and Engvik cross-country ski pants (€169.95) are named in honor of a town on Norway’s west coast known for its harsh, cold winters. Their lightweight construction provides exceptional comfort in inclement weather.

Highly breathable, their wind- and water-resistant fabric protects against inclement weather and provides added warmth. The laser-cut jersey insert on the back of the jacket gives total freedom of movement, while the adjustable hem/belt on both models optimizes ease of movement. Practical features include zipped pockets for storing valuables, zippers on the pant calves and reflective details.

For those who prefer tights, the Ceramiwarm cross-country ski tights are a concentrate of performance that doesn’t compromise on comfort. Its brushed fabric ensures warmth and water resistance. Zippered calves make putting on your boots child’s play, while the zippered pocket is ideal for storing small valuables. For the coldest days, it pairs perfectly with ODLO’s new Insulator cross-country overshort. (119,95 €)

Discover the entire ODLO cross-country ski collection here.