Everything Elizabeth Lopeman does is done with intention and passion. These same values led Elizabeth to found her clothing company, Schuss Fine Knitwear.
Elizabeth’s family moved to the Jackson area when she was a child, and the 4-year-old quickly found her passion carving down the slopes. Elizabeth soon began racing on the intermountain ski team in Jackson where she nurtured her competitive edge from 9 to 12 years old before continuing her racing career at a boarding school in Maine.
It didn’t take long for Elizabeth to again call Jackson home and she began her backcountry adventures in the area in her 20s. Over the years, she has lived all over the world and taken on a variety of careers, but her passion for the environment has always informed her choices, and all roads eventually led home to Jackson Hole. It was actually while living in Munich, Germany, that Elizabeth was first inspired to start her clothing company.
“I just fell in love with these sweaters,” Elizabeth says. “Initially, I liked how they looked and how Bavarian women styled them because they wear them in a very chic way, but then I started wearing them skiing, and they’re phenomenal for skiing.”
When Elizabeth saw how Bavarian women made the transition from the slopes to an elegant dinner table so seamlessly, she knew the same fashion could make waves in Jackson. As luck would have it, an annual trade show was underway in Salzburg, Austria, and Elizabeth was not going to miss the opportunity. Diving headfirst into research, the former Green Peace worker started figuring out how to make a product that is highly fashionable, functional, and sustainable.
After meeting at the trade show, Elizabeth started working with a family in a small Bavarian village on the Austrian border that has been making knitwear for three generations.
“They’re really great partners,” Elizabeth says. “They really give me a lot of input and educate me and give me ideas and are very flexible.”
Using traditional designs with her own creative twist, Elizabeth’s sweaters are made from first cut, non-mulesed merino lambswool.
“It’s hard to get your hands on a 100% merino lambswool sweater,” Elizabeth says. “They’re usually blended for skiing and they don’t need to be.”
The fine lambswool fibers are super warm and breathable, so the sweaters can hold up against the difficult high Alpine environment in Jackson and last for years to come. “Because wool is antimicrobial, they never get smelly, they resist soiling, and if they’re well taken care of, these sweaters can be handed down to future generations,” Elizabeth says.
Initially, Elizabeth offered her sweaters in trunk shows but has since expanded her online presence and partnered with Teton Village Sports to make her products available locally. She is currently working on a Wyoming-inspired sweater that will incorporate local flora like lupines, balsam root, and Indian paintbrush into a traditional design.
The future is wide open for the entrepreneur, and while she doesn’t want to give away any secrets, you can expect to find new products — including knit sweatpants — as part of her future offerings.