|Canada's Jan Hudec, centre, wears the ski team's new "Royal Canadian Mounted Police" outfit while standing with two actual Mounties following the alpine skiing at the Men's World Cup Downhill in Lake Louise, Alberta November 27, 2010. (REUTERS/Andy Clark)
When the Canadian Alpine Ski Team took to the World Cup course at the Lake Louise Saturday, they were wearing race suits that would be familiar to any Canadian.
The custom-graphic suits were inspired by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's iconic scarlet tunic and were meant to pay tribute to the RCMP's work.
And while nobody would have mistaken the men's alpine team for real Mounties in their tight racing suits, the bright red uniforms were certainly unlike the uniforms worn by any of the other countries at the World Cup. They came complete with an imitation cross-strap, belt and breeches.
The suits were designed by Spyder Active Sports, the company that produces all of the alpine team's on-hill apparel. Spyder approached the team earlier this year and asked them to come up with a design for any suit they wanted.
Spyder had already made up a mock-up Mountie suit as a joke, but because the RCMP present the podium finishes every year the Lake Louise World Cup, the team thought the suits would be a perfect way to thank the officers for their support.
"They guys got together and we wanted to do a tribute for the RCMP officers because they're out here every year coming out and supporting the event," said Jan Hudec, the top Canadian in Saturday's men's downhill event. "Beyond that though, obviously it's a huge tradition in Canada and it's such a big part of our Heritage and just such a Canadian thing."
Spyder produced only eight of the specially designed suits, and while the team will only wear them for the World Cup races in Lakes Louise, Hudec said he'd be keeping his suit as a unique souvenir of his time with the team.
"I'm definitely keeping it, there's no way I'm giving it away," he said. "I was talking to the RCMP guys and they got a kick out of it. There were only eight made, so it's pretty special."