You can’t ski without ski wax. And you can’t ski without loving the outdoors and appreciating the fragility of our environment. That is where the twain does not meet. Most ski wax is a by-product of the petroleum refining process: blackish-gray sludge, bleached and chemically modified to produce the average bar of wax. Many high-end waxes also contain toxic and carcinogenic fluorocarbons, harmful to wildlife and humans and called the “forever chemical” because it never biodegrades.
The wax that fills in the millions of microscopic pores of the ski (and snowboard) to improve glide is scoured out by snow crystals, left behind to make its way into lakes, rivers and aquifers. Globally, millions of pounds of petroleum-based ski wax are dumped into the environment annually. Now, there is plant-based MountainFlow Eco-Wax that checks off all the boxes of petroleum-based waxes: glide, hydrophobicity, durability, and ease of application.
Peter Arlein grew up on skis in Carbondale, Colorado. While still in high school, he was a ski instructor and a member of the ski patrol. After earning an MBA from the University of Alaska-Anchorage, he explored the great outdoors of Alaska and its fishing industry until he returned to his first loves, Colorado and skiing. As he worked in marketing for the ski industry, he heard more and more concern about the damage done by traditional ski wax.
Peter began his mission in a shed in his back yard. Wax can be extracted from hundreds of plants; it was a daunting task to search for the right combination of waxes and the right ratio of each wax to produce the perfect eco-friendly ski wax. He searched for two years, then tested and retested on multiple courses, using different skiers and in different snow conditions. The result was MountainFlow wax, a proprietary blend of five plant oils that can compete with petroleum-based waxes in limiting resistance and maintaining speed, and North America’s first line of plant-based ski waxes.
- Hot Wax improves performance. You will ski faster, make turns more smoothly, and will notice improved handling, as well as glide right over the flat spots. It also protects the bottom of the skis from damage done by rocks and other obstacles.
- Race Wax is extremely hydrophobic and durable due to the exclusive MountainFlow Ceramic Nanotechnology that creates an advanced hydrophobic layer that repels water at the nanoparticle level. It not only is the fastest race wax, it is the easiest to apply.
- Quick Wax is a rub-on wax that eliminates the snow and ice buildup that interferes with your glide. It provides a buttery smooth glide in all temperatures and all snow conditions, including wet snow.
- Skin Wax is traditionally for backcountry skiers, although an increasing number of Nordic skis come with permanently affixed skins. Skin wax repels water and prevents a buildup of ice and clumps of snow to improve the glide and eliminate the unnecessary weight of snow-laden skis as you trek uphill. Skin Wax comes in a spray and a rub-on.
- The spray provides slightly better glide, but needs to be applied in advance and allowed to dry before hitting the skin track.
- The rub-on is slightly more durable and can be applied in the field.
Peter sources all raw materials and produces everything domestically. He also looks for suppliers who emphasize sustainable sourcing.
MountainFlow Awards and Certificates
At the 2020 Outdoor Retailer Snow Show in Denver, MountainFlow won:
- Outdoor Retailer Innovation Award,
- Gear of the Show from Outside magazine,
- Best New Gear Award from the Gear Institute, and
- Best of Outdoor Retailer from Business Insider.
MountainFlow is a Certified B Corporation, meaning it is committed to using business as a force for good and legally required to consider the impact of its decisions on workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment.
It is also USDA Biobased Certified that assures a consumer that the product contains a USDA-verified amount of renewable biological ingredients, is cost comparable to conventional products, and is at least equal in performance. Biobased products displace around 300 million gallons of petroleum per year in the US.