Let me start with Alan's comments:
1. Only rarely manufactured, sporadically distributed and quickly and quietly snatched up by cognoscenti, Cuben Snow Down is produced by infusing Ice Nine with high pressure Argon gas and then feeding it to Northern Ukrainian Snow Loons. Birds don't start producing until their fourth year and less than 5 grams of top quality down clusters are produced by each loon per year.
2. Fortunately, with a fill power of over 3000 cubic inches per ounce (as verified by BPL scales) it only takes a few birds to produce one 8000 Meter Parka or 20 degree sleeping bag.
3. As this product is virtually never available there is no known market price. The only people I know of with sufficient cash and connections to purchase products made with this material are the Casino betters who bankroll Team Laurel Mountain Designs' annual effort to prevail in Le Monde Monte Carlo Remote Adventure Survival Race Of Death. See <mountainlaureldesigns.com>
4. For more information on Ice Nine, refer to Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s technical paper on the subject entitled "Cat's Cradle".
Alan: Just so the folks in the "MLD Black Helicopters" don't come looking for you I will only say you were closer than you want to be on a couple of ideas in pare 1 - 2 & 4. As for pare 3 all I can say is that "Professor Fate" aka Ron Bell? is after it but has been foiled at his attempts to get the secret of Cuben Snow so far by Leslie and his man Hezekiah.
Several years ago the Russian Space Industry built a module for the new Space Station. They had to insulate the walls but didn't have the money to used the type of insulation the US modules used. NASA had a super insulation created and the machinery to produce it. The Russians did not have the money for this type of insulation. The Russians had to come up with something just as good but more "home-made". They had to go back many years to WWII when the solders of the USSR were issued a pouch of sorts to wear over there private parts. This kept them very warm and their were able to handle extreme cold weather. This pouch had been but knitted by Russian Peasant women out of the Down of the, you guessed it, the Great Northern Ukrainian Snow Loons. They had learned to spin this special Down into a fiber. This technique had been a long kept secret but now it had to be revived. Quite by accident the Snow loon keepers discovered that they could accelerate the growth of the Loons by feeding them food rich in Cuben tobacco leaf. This is where the nick-name "Cuben Snow" came from. The flock grew fast and by the time the insulation was required enough Down had been produced and turned into the necessary insulation. The spinning of the Down is still a closely guarded secret. This unique insulation was mentioned in a PBS Special made about the Russian Module. The TV Special talked about how the insulation was made by hand by a group of very old Russian women but didn't cover the real story. How the Down was processed. I saw this TV program and just thought how interesting.
I am a hand spinner and weaver though I don't do a lot of spinning anymore. I was in a Spinning Workshop presented by a noted New Zealand artist a few years ago and three of the other workshop members were Russian women. Two younger and one old. It turned out to be Great-Grandmother and Granddaughters. They had been in the US for a few years. The younger women spoke very good English and had been English teachers in Russia. They told me there Great Grand Mother had been given a large amount of money for working on a special Space Station Project and she used the money to immigrate to the US with them. I said Oh was she one of the group that made the insulation for the Russian Module? They about fell off their chairs. They were stunned. I told them I only said that because I had seen a TV program about that. The Great Grand Mother wanted to know how much they told about the insulation and I said "nothing". She then told me the story of "Cuben Snow". Over the next several months the four of us became very good friends. When she taught me how to process and spin the Cuben Snow she just said she would trust me to be careful about who I shared the technique with. She had gotten a small amount of the "Cuben Snow" out with her by stuffing it into home-made pin cushions and children's stuffed toys.
The Down was truly amazing stuff. Its loft was almost unbelievable.
The end result is a "woollen" style yarn that has really great loft. If you understand the different ways wool can be spun you will understand the term "Woollen". This is then knitted or woven in a lose sort of way to allow the yarn to loft to its full size. The main reason for using the Down in this way was to gain full advantage of the Down insulation but use much less Down to achieve the same loft. You also have a control over the Down yarn that you don't really have with lose Down in Baffles. The insulation quality of the Down from the Great Northern Ukrainian Snow Loons was so great that a small amount of Down went a long way. Out of necessity this technique developed. The spinning technique made It possible to take full advantage of this type of Downs great insulating ability and use no more Down than necessary.
Since they could not produce more birds back then they could make more things out of a smaller amount of Down.
The flock of Great Northern Ukrainian Snow Loons from the Space Module Project were released back to the wild after the Space Module was lunched into space. There are rumors from time to time that a small flock is being garthered deep in Sibera and there is a search on for anyone that knows how to process the Down. It seems there is another nation with space plans that is interested in the technology.