Face masks are quite popular in many winter sports, so in our country they are often called simply "ski masks", although they are far more widely used. Another popular name you may increasingly find on this item of equipment is balaclava. In fact, this is the main name they are popular with in the West.
The classic balaclava is made of wool and has one or three openings on the front. It can cover the whole head or be worn as a simple hat. Today, different materials are already used to make this type of mask - from cotton and silk to acrylic, polar and neoprene. Their application is wide ranging from winter sports like a ski mask, through motorcycling to police and military operations.
It is precisely as an element of military equipment that these types of masks are gaining popularity. The origin of the name balaclava is closely related to their historical use during combat. They were known and used by army units in Central and Eastern European countries, such as the Polish Lancers. The most widespread use of these masks was during the Crimean War of 1853-1856, when the Russian Empire fought for control of the Crimean Peninsula against the allied forces of the Ottoman Empire, France, the British Empire, the Sardinian the Kingdom and Nassau County. The region's harsh winters make these masks particularly popular among soldiers. And one of the largest centers for their production is the town of Balaklava (today a quarter of the city of Sevastopol in Ukraine). British troops began to call masks by the name of the city and over time they gained popularity under this name in other European countries. Balaclava soldier
The use of balaclava by army and police units continues to this day. The mask is used not only when it is necessary to protect the person from adverse weather conditions, but also when it is necessary to hide the identity of the fighter / officer of the order. It can also be used as an element to enhance overall camouflage. Last but not least, it is used because of the psychological effect it causes on the opponent.