Alpine ski champion Lasse Kjus didn't set out to change the ski apparel industry. He simply felt that functionality and performance were more important than fashion for a full day on the mountain facing the elements. As it turns out, his desire for functional apparel not only filled a gap, it created a brand. KJUS was forged through a passion to enable people to reach the absolute top of their game.

Lasse started skiing with family when he was just three years old. By 14, he qualified to compete on the national ski team. From there, his ski career made history. His combined career wins include 16 Olympic and World Championship medals and two World Cup titles. For Lasse, progress in sport has always been about setting micro goals, achieving them and moving forward to the next goal. The same can be said for how he approached building an iconic brand.

The concept for technical ski apparel came to Lasse during product development meetings with the Norwegian national ski team’s sponsors in the mid-1990s. "I’d ask them to find different fabrics or increase the tension in products to improve performance," Lasse recalls. Those meetings sparked his desire to create better ski apparel with improved functionality made specifically for skiers who experience all kinds of weather during a day in the mountains. Lasse brought on a friend and one employee, starting out with an office in an old train station in Oslo. They quickly engaged with local creative agency to define the brand’s identity, and this included taking Lasse’s last name, Kjus, for the brand. "Using my name for the brand was probably not the best idea because it’s so difficult to pronounce it correctly. I’ve heard it pronounced many different ways," chuckles Lasse.

"I can settle the debate; It's pronounced, 'Shu-ss.'"

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