We tend to only notice ski wax when it’s gone: A well-waxed ski glides effortlessly, but when your friends drop you en route to a rope drop powder shot, you’ll be heading to the shop later for a hot wax.
It was another often overlooked aspect of ski wax, though, that caught my attention. Nearly all ski wax is made from petroleum—frequently laced with even nastier fluorocarbon chemicals. Much of that wax gets scraped off in the ski shop and then landfilled. The rest, the stuff that fills the pores in your ski base and improves glide, gets scoured out by snow crystals and enters the snowpack. Eventually, it works its way into local lakes, rivers, and aquifers. In aggregate, we dump millions of pounds of petroleum-based ski wax directly into the global environment every year. While I wanted fresh tracks and good glide as much (or more) than the next person, I didn’t think glide should come at the expense of our mountain environment. What followed was a two-year research and development journey into what would become North America’s only line of plant-based ski wax.
From humble beginnings, mountainFLOW began in a wax shed near my home in Carbondale, Colorado. I began testing plant-based waxes by looking for the elements that comprise a great ski wax—slip, hydrophobicity, and hardness. After 200-plus formulations, I finally created a product that I believed would perform like a conventional daily ski wax. I then borrowed some race timing equipment from the local ski club to prove it. After numerous trials, with different snow conditions on different courses it turns out that mountainFLOW’s four temperature plant-based ski waxes are just as fast as a conventional, petroleum-based waxes for recreational use.
We recently launched our new mountainFLOW wax on Kickstarter. The publicity has helped us land accounts with retailers and resorts throughout the U.S. and Canada. We also offer a line of plant-based climbing skin wax and rub-on quick wax, rounding out what we believe to be the most eco-friendly wax line on the market.
Looking forward, we’re developing a line of eco-friendly bike cleaners and chain lubricants. Similar to ski wax, such products quickly shed off your bike and end up on the trail and in our water as invisible micropollution.
If we can replicate the performance of conventional, petroleum-based products by using biodegradable, plant-based ingredients, it just makes sense to do so. Our mission is simple, we aim to provide amazing ski wax while protecting the mountains we love.
For more on plant-based waxes go to www.mountainflowecowax.com