The most iconic wool sweaters of the north come from the small village of Dale, nestled in picturesque mountains amid waterfalls and galloping fjords. The aptly named Dale of Norway has been crafting winter-ready gear since a textile factory was established in 1879 due to the area’s easy access to wool and strong knitting tradition.
Fast forward to 1956 and the entire world became acquainted with the look and craftsmanship of a Dale sweater because the brand’s Cortina sweaters were worn by the national Norwegian ski team at the Winter Olympic Games and World Championships — and have been since for more than 50 different games. But that’s small potatoes compared to how many times the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has hand-picked Dale of Norway to design the official sweaters for the Winter Olympic Games, granting the right to use the iconic Olympic rings.
I mean, not even Under Armour can use the word “Olympics” in their ads, and Dale gets the stamp of approval.
While the knit of Dale’s 100-percent, Merino wool sweaters has remained true to tradition, design concepts have evolved to pay tribute to the past and let competitors know the Norwegian Olympic team is full of tough-as-steel Viking competitors at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, on on February 9-25.
In fact, the official 2018-2019 sweater for the Norwegian alpine ski team is called the Balder Viking ($359). Balder is a god in the Norse mythology connected to love and happiness, although, by the look of these sweaters you’d guess he was the god of grit and kicking ass. Rough yet contemporary, the dark, ashen colorway features a pattern that recreates twisted ropes used by the vikings of yore. The front zipper is a sleek arrow with intentional leather details.
The Balder is accompanied by matching layering pieces in the new Viking Collection ($249-$359) all of which are marked by two runic symbols (looks like an upright and upside-down Y) that stand for protection and victory. Let’s all say what’s on our minds after seeing this lineup: Winter has come and it looks good. Lucky for you, Dale of Norway makes its high-quality Olympic sweaters available to mere mortals as well.
Dale of Norway (who was recently acquired by the French alpine equipment brand Rossignol) also crafted the official sweater of the overall Norwegian Olympic team, dubbed the OL Passion ($299). Exclusively for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the design is a throwback to 1950s Norwegian sport sweaters, with a traditional cross that is said to ward against evil and nods to falling snow. Flag stripes inside the neck and a colored cross above the heart symbolize passion for the country and the Olympic Games.
Not to be outdone, the Norwegian Cross Country team and Ski Association will get their own threads for 2019 World Championship in Seefeld, Austria. Named after the hosting city, the Seefeld collection ($349) is sporty and retro with snowy patterns and a higher neck. What you don’t see from the outside is the hidden Norwegian flag stripes on the interior.
You’ll never own a sweater that’s got as much Norwegian quality and heritage as Dale — better grab two. The Viking and OL Passion collections are currently available for purchase; further details on the Seefeld garments are forthcoming.
If you need even more Olympic gear, check out these exclusive watches from Omega.
Feature image courtesy of Dale of Norway/Facebook.