January 10, 2018 From the Mountains, for the Mountains
Mountaineering specialist Salewa combines wool from the Tyrolean mountain sheep with modern Celliant technology and utilizes a highly functional natural fiber harvested by local mountain farmers.
South Tyrolean mountain sheep wool can be found in many winter jackets made by the mountaineering specialist Salewa. This idea from a few years ago was the brainchild of Peter Veider, Managing Director of the Tyrolean mountain rescue organization:
“We wanted to outfit the mountain rescuers with natural fibers from the region,” explains Veider.
However, beyond all sustainability efforts, the quality had to be right. Fulfilling this requirement wasn’t easy at first. Despite all its advantages, the Tyrolean mountain sheep does not produce a fine wool like its cousin, the Merino sheep.
“The end user has become a little spoiled in this regard. Primarily when the textiles are worn directly on the body,” says Christine Ladstätter, Head of Product Innovation at Salewa’s apparel division. According to Christine Ladstätter, the mountain sheep’s wool is excellent for one thing – as an insulation material in the form of highly functional wool padding.
This is why Salewa ultimately agreed when Peter Veider came to them with his idea of promoting the Tyrolean mountain sheep and supporting their owners as a local supplier of raw materials. A raw material that until recently – it should be mentioned – was rarely put to use and was often discarded after shearing.
The sustainability concept not only includes the short transportation routes, but also the cleaning and refining process that takes place in Bergamo and Cittadella. Once the wool is washed, it is refined.
Ecological insulation aid
This refining process includes the initial step of oxygen treatment called Oxy- Wash, a patented wash that differs from conventional processes in that it forgoes the use of chlorine, which is harmful from an environmental standpoint. This ensures its washability and makes the wool soft, odorless, and more breathable. Above all, the sheep’s wool in most jackets (Puez, Ortles, Fanes) is also furnished with an insulation aid that is crucially important when it comes to the competition for the best winter jackets: Celliant.
Functionality and sustainability
Technically speaking, Celliant is a patented mix of thermoactive minerals in a fine powder form. The material is embedded in recycled polyester fibers and absorbs the body’s long-wave infrared rays and radiates them back over a longer period of time. Similar to a small infrared sauna, the rays stimulate local circulation.
Put simply: The body stays at operating temperature longer. Once the multifunctional Tyrolean mountain sheep fleece is finally stitched and packed in a dense fiber weave, a successful symbiosis of functionality and sustainability emerges.