Technical skiwear company Spyder claims to be the first to provide ski racers with new reduced-impact technology.

The material is being used in Spyder baselayer tops and race suits worn by US and Canadian alpine ski teams in the Winter Olympics.

Spyder said the technology used in the d3o material uses intelligent molecules that stiffen on impact to provide protection against collisions with race gates, which can easily be at 60 mph or faster. Once pressure is lifted, it reverts back to a pliable material.

The reaction is instant and repeatable, according to Spyder. The material's geometric mold shape is configured to promote air passage through the system for improved breathability.

Traditional materials such as hard plastic inhibit the athlete's range of motion, Spyder said. Because d3o material is flexible when not encountering force, it moves with the body and offers higher comfort during competition.

d3o is placed in direct contact areas such as shins and forearms.

The material meets all porosity requirements and body contour conformation regulations set forth by FIS, the governing organisation of ski racing.

Spyder will offer the technology in select race apparel at retail beginning in September 2006.