We’ve followed Kikkan Randall’s career with particular interest and a very personal stake in her growth as an athlete in her chosen sport. That’s because when Kikkan made it her intent to be an international caliber Nordic skier, there weren’t a lot of Americans doing just that. Kikkan comes from an athletic family. Raised in Alaska, her aunt was a skiing Olympian and the culture she grew up in was supportive and outdoor focused. Still, to win as a cross country skier at the highest levels take years of patient work, a careful attention to detail and faith in the journey.
When Ibex began, just over fifteen years ago, around the time Kikkan was entering the junior ranks, there weren’t many people using wool for outdoor clothing. Synthetics owned the market and the prospects for a company based solely on outdoor wool clothing were misty. We knew to make great wool outdoor clothing, it would take patient work, a careful attention to detail and faith in our path.
Kikkan was steadfast in her journey. She kept moving up the ranks, from junior skier to domestic racer, eventually notching higher steps up the results page on the World Cup circuit until she was at the top. Last year, Kikkan won her second World Cup Sprint Title and took home gold when paired with teammate Jessie Diggins, Kikan won the World Championships Team Sprint event, a fast-paced relay on the technical courses of Val di Fiemme, Italy. Today, with the Olympic theme songs springing up on primetime television and expectations of rarely-won American medals in the upcoming Sochi games, Kikkan is reaching the pinnacle of the journey she began years ago. After a second place last weekend in a World Cup sprint in Davos, Kikkan wasn’t content, “While I really wanted to win here today, this close finish is really good for my motivation and my training focus from now until Sochi.”
We’re inspired by Kikkan’s indomitable focus in the face of bigger challenges, better racing and great competition. In our world, there are more Merino wool offerings available for outdoor sport than at anytime in history. This little industry we started is thriving and while we remain true to our original goal of making Ibex , the finest outdoor wool products available, we’re thrilled about the growth in our world and thrilled to see the natural fiber getting love from outdoor athletes. We’re also thrilled about advancing wool forward, keeping our focus honed and continuing to make high caliber clothing outdoor-focused folks like Kikkan can count on.