Strategically Located. Scientifically Approved.
It may just look like a zipper on the forearm of a ski jacket, but the patented KJUS AC Vent™ as an idea took almost a year of testing in the lab and on the slopes to develop. Designing, testing and tweaking, and testing again, to invent the most efficient, effective and easy way for skiers to cool themselves down when activity on the mountain heats up. This is that story.
The Challenge of Skiing
Skiing is a unique sport, unlike anything else. For starters, the world the sport takes place in, one of snow and wind and wet, isn’t what you could call an “easy” environment to develop clothing for, allowing the wearer to do everything they want. Compromises in the past often had to be made as basics such as insulation against the elements took precedent over anything else however led to problems of working up a sweat while wearing warm, waterproof clothing that trapped the heat and moisture inside.
The Science (and Scientists) that Go into Making a “Vent”.
As a starting point for this challenge, we created prototypes with 15-20 vents on them and headed out to test which vents we felt cooled most efficiently out on our favorite testing zone: the Swiss Alps. From those tests, we then partnered with EMPA and the scientists there to take our prototypes to the next level.
EMPA – the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology Laboratory for Biomimetic Membranes and Textiles – is counted as one of the world’s authorities on innovative materials. Working together we were able to use a “sweating” mannequin in their climate chambers to see the physiological changes different jacket vents had on the overall body temperature under different conditions from 20-30KM wind speeds to -10 degrees Celsius temperatures. The results? Failures. None of those first vent solutions provided what we were after: controlled cooling made for skiers.
Simple but Smart: the Breakthrough
The problem with the initial vent placements was that they were all too close to the body of the jacket, resulting in too great a cooling of the organs and too quick a cooling in high wind-chill and low temperatures. The ideal place for the vents came many (many) trials later thanks to the work of EMPA, as well as with human movement scientists, designers and textile experts: vents on the inner forearms of the jacket.
Here, where blood vessels run nearest to the skin, the trapped heat could escape quickly and the outside air was able to cool the blood before it was taken from the extremities and circulated back to the body’s core. By tapping into the body’s circulatory system and its own natural cooling method we discovered we could help regulate a skier’s entire body temperature simply by cooling the lower inner forearms. It was such an ideal solution a patent was made for the innovation and so was born the AC Vent™.
Putting Science into the Stitching
With the science sorted, the final piece of the puzzle was perfecting the AC Vent™ technology for our jackets. A zipper was found to be easier to open and close one handed by skiers wearing various gloves, and a location of the inside of the forearm became the final position of the vent that was eight years in the making...
AC Vent™ technology is now available on all new ski jacket styles as standard, meaning more than ever, KJUS skiers are in control of their climate. Less time adjusting clothing for feeling too hot or too cold and wasting energy because of it – and simply more time skiing. That’s what AC Vent™ technology is about.