The racing decade
During the 70’s famous racers on the pro tour wore Spyder. Founded by former U.S. coach Bob Beattie, the pro tour’s big money purse attracted top competitors like Jean-Claude Killy, Jimmy Heuga, Hank Kashiwa, and Billy Kidd. “It put a stamp on our credibility,” David said.
While David Jacobs’ young sons were in the ski race circuit, he noted there was only one brand of race sweaters available. He knew he could make a better product and sell it to the close-knit race community. David L Jacobs, Incorporated, began as a small mail order business ‘for racing, by racers’.
They called them spider pants
One of David’s early creations was a blue racing pant with yellow striped protective pads. Skiers began calling them ‘spider’ pants, due to their spider leg-like appearance. David renamed the company in 1978. A passionate sports car fan, he borrowed the spelling with a ‘y’ from the Ferrari Spyder.
An international affair
During the early 80’s breakaway gates changed racing technique. The functional World Cup Pant became the most coveted gear by national teams. “Every team had to have it,” said David. Teams sporting the pant included the Yugoslavs, Australians, Norwegians, Swedes, Canadians, and Americans.
Spyder-man, not Spider Man
After Sports Illustrated called Steven Lee “Spider Man” after his World Cup win, Marvel Comics sent David a legal warning of trademark infringement. Before Marvel dropped action, David believed his business was doomed; “I thought everything collapsed.” AJ Kitt ironically signed this SI years later.
The suits take over
David’s son Jake drew the first web on a solid suit in 1984 as a mock-up, launching web-graphic designs built to this day. Suits replaced padded slalom wear around 1988 when slalom racers began cross-blocking gates, not hitting the gates on their upper body, only on their lower legs.
Spyder Signs on US Ski Team
Spyder became an official supplier to the US Ski Team in 1989, a relationship Spyder continues to support with great pride.
Too fast for competition
David patented SpeedWyre, a revolutionary “trip wire” that reduced wind drag by up to 40%. US Ski Team members wearing SpeedWyre suits captured gold, bronze and fifth place in world championships over the next two years. FIS banned SpeedWyre in 1997, claiming that it gave skiers an unfair advantage.
Freeski apparel arrives
Nothing less than a ski revolution, freeskiing took root. Spyder recognized the new ski genre and in 1998 introduced the Kreitler line, eponymous for pro skier Kent Kreitler, a member of the freeski vanguard. Shane McConkey and Kreitler moved from the pro mogul to and became sponsored Spyder pros.
Spyder signs Canada
As a youth David owned the title of Canadian Downhill Ski Champion, was the top-ranked Canadian FIS Team skier, and eventually became the first full-time head coach for the Canadian National Ski Team. In 2002, Spyder became a sponsor of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team, bringing David full circle.