Beginning in 1877, Helly Hansen and his wife started making jackets and pants for cold wet weather workers and over the next 100+ years, their apparel business grew to include new fabrics and new products, including a line of waterproof, windproof, breathable, and durable ski wear for men and women!
Helly Juell Hansen started working at sea at the age of 14. At the age of 35, in 1877, he and his wife began producing oilskin jackets, trousers, and other items that they made from coarse linens, soaked in linseed oil for waterproofing. Within a few short years, a company was born and in 1878 they won a "diploma for excellence" at the Paris Expo, and soon after they began exporting product.
At the founder's death in 1914 the company was headed by his son, Leiv Helly-Hansen who had become an experienced merchant in his own right.
During the 1920's a new fabric they called Linox was developed. It's surface was glossy and attractive – and, perhaps best of all, not sticky. As time progressed, the Linox product lines would transfer to a newer fabric called PVC (polyvinyl chloride).
Helly Hansen Ski Clothing Research and Development
Another change for the company came in 1949 when Helox was developed wherein a sheet of translucent PVC plastic started being sewn into waterproof jackets, coats and hats that became popular products for the company. At this time, roughly 30,000 Helox coats were produced each month. Soon thereafter, Plarex, a heavier-duty version of Helox, backed by a fabric, was developed.
One particular product that was developed specially for the outdoor workwear markets was Fibrepile which features an insulating layer for wearing under waterproof outerwear. It was first used by Swedish lumbermen, who were happy to find that it not only kept them dry, but also offered insulation against the cold, yet it was easy to ventilate it during hard, physical work, so it became very popular.
LIFA is Born
The apparel layering story was completed in the 1970s when LIFA was developed. Italian researchers who discovered how to spin yarn from polypropylene fibre were rewarded with the Nobel Prize in 1963 and this fiber soon became a component of LIFA, at Helly Hansen. This unique, new synthetic fiber keeps the skin dry and warm by pushing moisture away from the body (wicking), making it the ideal base-layer fabric for outdoor use. This lead to the birth of the 3-layer systems of winter weather dressing where LIFA was close to the body as a first layer, Fibrepile was used as an insulating middle layer, and rainwear shells were on the outside for waterproofing.
Helly Hansen Ski Clothing Technology
During the 1970s the company developed survival suits for offshore oil workers and in 1980, the company's breathable, waterproof fabric system – soon to be called Helly Tech – was launched.
H2 Flow Technology in Helly Hansen Ski Clothing
It wasn't long after Helly Tech was launched before Helly Hansen introduced another new product concept, what they call H2 Flow Technology. In 2012 the H2 Flow Jacket won an Award for Design Excellence from the Norwegian Design Council. The H2 Flow Jacket features an airflow venting system with a protective barrier that allows adventurers to regulate their body temperature.
Whether you're looking for a Helly Hansen jacket, pants, hat, or boots, Rocky Mountain Ski and Board has you covered. Visit our ski shop in Atlanta on Roswell Road or shop our inventory online. You'll be able to find everything you need for a great day on the slopes.