Columbia Company History
There aren't too many winter sports brands that started out as hat distributors - but Columbia Sportswear are one of them.
The company began life as a family-owned hat distributor - started up by a German couple, Paul and Marie Lamfrom, who had
fled the troubles of their homeland and emigrated to America. At the time, the company was known as the Columbia Hat Company,
named after the nearby Columbia River. Having suffered problems with suppliers the company made the decision to start manufacturing
their own products, rather than distributing those of other people and other companies, and this change eventually led to
the Columbia Hat Company becoming Columbia Sportswear Company in 1960, as it branched out into other sporting products rather than just hats.
Columbia became a publicly listed company on NASDAQ in 1998 and around this time it was considered to have the largest sales of ski clothing
in North America. In 2003 Columbia bought the Mountain Hardwear brand.
Colombia's skiwear is generally quite conservative and solid. You basically know what you're going to get from it - mainly basic colours and styling.
I know we've made this comparison several times before, but even the styling of Columbia's gear is quite similar to that of The North Face.
Columbia - Performance
Ok, so the styling of Columbia's gear may not be as cool as Norrona, or as sharp as Peak Performance, but when it comes to performance
it's a reasonably solid brand, decent materials and fabrics making a good honest product at an affordable price.
Columbia - Pricing
Given the huge size of the company and the widespread availability of its ski wear, its no surprise to see Columbia coming in the mid-range price bracket for
it's snow sports gear. The prices are generally quite comparable to the other massive American outdoor brand The North Face, with many jackets
around the 200 GBP mark.
Columbia - Stockists
Columbia clothing is available at the following Ski and Snow-sports Shops: