The backbone of most ski/board wax is paraffin or micro-crystalline wax. Although these waxes are non-hazardous, they are long chain polymers produced from petroleum. They are not known to be biodegradable.
Recently, some wax companies are touting their micro-crystalline wax as biodegradable. We find this misleading to consumers looking to reduce their carbon footprint. The only true biodegradable waxes are made from renewable resources (i.e. plants). For years, many skiers and riders have been reluctant to use these waxes. Green Ice sought to tackle the challenge by developing a higher performance biodegradable wax. We determine the wax’s effectiveness by its ability to reduce static friction created by the base on the snow. The product can be made as hard or soft as required through formula adjustment and thus effective on all snow conditions.
In order to improve performance of wax, formulators mix a variety of additives to the micro-crystalline base. The most common of these additives is fluorocarbons. As mentioned in previous GI wax blogs, these additives can be hazardous to the applicator’s health if protective equipment is not used. It has also been determined in earlier EPA reports that fluorocarbons can be broken down to smaller molecules which get in our streams and rivers and eventually fish.
Other additives like graphite and molybdenum are used for dirty snow conditions. They are believed to repel dirt. Graphite is a type of carbon black which is known to contain carcinogens, while molybdenum is a transition metal similar to chromium. Both these compounds cannot be considered biodegradable or eco-friendly. GI wax also uses and additive to improve performance in GI1000 and 2000, however, this additive is safer during the application process and significantly more eco-friendly.
GI Ultimate, Paste and N8** product lines solve both the initial and secondary issues. The wax is 100% biodegradable and reduces static friction significantly as compared to its predecessors.
It is GI’s contention that buyers beware that not all ski wax is biodegradable safe and eco-friendly. Therefore, consider GI wax for your next wax purchase.
* N8 is a brand produced by Green Ice Wax for Nate Holland,. x games gold winner in snowboard cross
** Results of cross country skiing both racing and recreational produced by Carters XC ski resort, Bethel Maine.