Green Ice Wax introduces Nate Holland’s N8 wax. This wax is biodegradable and is available as a rub on and iron on wax. The eco-friendly aspect aligns closely with Nate Holland’s attitude towards preserving the envrionment. Nate Holland won 7 X Games gold medals in boarder cross, so he understands the importance of a high quality performance ski and board wax. The environmentally friendly wax is made from renewable resources such as plant waxes and oils. It helps reduce the carbon footprint by no longer using solvent, plastisizers or any petroleum by-products. These attributes eliminate the harmful effects on the user associated with applying iron-on waxing containing flurocarbons. More information on these harmful side effects can be found in our blog .
“I’m excited to be a part of Green Ice Wax. As an environmentally minded snowboarder, it is a pleasure to introduce a fast, biodegradable, earth friendly wax to the world. I can’t wait to raise my board on the podium with Green Ice Wax shimmering on my base, knowing that I didn’t leave any toxic residue on the mountain.” – Nate Holland
More information on Green Ice Wax’s newest product line, N8, is available online at http://greenicewax.com/collections/signature-series.
It is always good to start with the basics. Skis or snow boards do not ride on snow! They ride on water. As a ski slides over snow, friction melts a thin layer of the snow, turning it into water over which your ski/board glides. The water then re-freezes after the ski/board has passed, leaving a fresh track on the trail.
Ski/board’s bases are made of plastic (usually polyethylene) with a specially-designed structure. This structure helps channel the water from the tip to the tail of the ski as you ski/ride down the hill. The idea here is to reduce the friction causing the ski to glide more easily and with less friction. Less friction means more speed.
Wax is used to reduce this friction even further, and preserve the integrity and structure of the ski. Over the years, typical waxes have been made from paraffin wax (a product derived from petroleum). As skiers became more conscious of the benefits of wax, wax formulators introduced additives into their products, such as fluorocarbons. These chemicals are excellent in reducing friction having a very low coefficient of friction. Overall, fluorocarbon waxes are great; however, they are dangerous to your health if you happen to breathe in the fumes during application. They hurt the environment, introducing fluorine into the snow. As for high fluorinated waxes, most skiers will not even experience the full benefit of the wax because they are designed specifically for high-humidity snow conditions. Additionally, these waxes are very costly.
To combat these shortcomings of highly-fluorinated and potentially dangerous waxes, we borrowed a technology from the cosmetic industry.
This additive is not hazardous to your health and is more eco-friendly. Its coefficient of friction is very close to fluorocarbon, making it an excellent replacement additive. Both GI1K and 2K utilize this technology. The GI2K contains a highly advanced polymer which makes it more durable and longer lasting.
If you were wondering why waxes are made to perform at different temperature snow conditions, the reason is simple: The colder the snow, the harder the crystals. It is most beneficial to use a wax with a hardness matching that of the snow. Therefore, all Green Ice ski waxes have been formulated with differing levels of hardness. If however, the snow conditions will be unknown, choose the middle temperature wax (18-28 degrees F) as this wax will suffice for most conditions a rider/skier experiences.
Green Ice 1K and 2K waxes have been proven to be very durable. They last longer than average fluorocarbon waxes and tend not to whiten the base of the board or ski. They perform well in all humidity conditions. Green ice 2K has excellent static and dynamic properties. There is minimal stick upon take off and your skis will glide over any terrain the mountain throws at you.
Finally our Green Ice Ultimate ski wax is 100% safe for the environment. We borrowed the plant waxes used in the automobile industry to create an environmentally friendly wax with plant bi-products as the only raw materials. Green Ice Ultimate uses absolutely no chemicals, solvents or plasticizers, only pure natural materials made from plants. Green ice Ultimate also incorporates a natural friction reducing additive, making it an excellent race wax or everyday recreational formula.
In summary: Green Ice ski waxes are more durable and longer lasting. They work over a wide range of snow temperatures and in all humidity conditions. They are also eco-friendly and do not require a respirator to make the application process safe. Finally you will find them a cost effective wax solution for all skiing and riding levels.
Pine Tar Waxes
Going way back to the late 1600’s, Scandinavians discovered the need to condition their wooden skis. At that time, the main reason to condition or wax the skis was to prevent the wood from becoming soaked with water. When wood is exposed to water over time, it becomes saturated. In order to prevent this process from occurring, skiers began to coat the ski bottoms with pine tar or pitch. Distilling lumber produces pitch, turpentine and rosin. It is the combination of the rosin and pitch that produced an ideal ski wax for the wooden bases. The mixture was insoluble in water and thus would prevent the water from penetrating the ski’s base. The mixture also formed tiny water beads under the ski when gliding of the snow. It is this action that allows air to mix with the water and thus reduce the friction under the ski. The down side of the mixture was that it was not entirely smooth and thus added resistance to the ski. Later, athletes discovered that by boiling the pine tar it could be applied evenly to the ski, reducing the friction created by the pine tar itself. This mixture of pine tar and rosin remained popular for many years, up until about the 1850s, when a few California athletes developed innovative mixtures of glycerin, whale oils, and candle waxes to increase glide and improve water repellency.
Varnish Based Waxes
Between 1920 and 1940, companies began experimenting with varnish waxes. Some waxes were intended to last entire seasons, while others introduced by companies such as Holmenkol and Toko were rubbed directly onto the base and lasted about a day on the snow. They were not applied by heat like the long-lasting waxes and were by-products of other industries, such a leather manufacturers.
In 1943 a Swedish firm, Astra AB, hired Martin Matsbo, a cross country Olympic bronze medal winner to develop a synthetic wax made from paraffin. Then in 1946, Swix Wax Company took shape and began using this technology to manufacture wax with different hardness ratings intended for varying temperature snow.
Over the next 20-30 years, various additives were used to further reduce friction. Examples of additives include graphite, surfactants and plasticizers. There was a time when ski manufacturers touted ski bases that never required waxing. Athletes never bought into these claims, and continued to apply wax in order to protect their bases. For this reason, the ski wax industry has grown into a $10MM market in the United States, and totals $25MM worldwide.
Not until the late 1980s did fluorocarbons enter the ski wax. This additive helps to increase the level of water repellency. Although the additive inflates prices significantly, many skiers and riders use it today.
As a response to the introduction of fluorocarbon ski wax, Green Ice Ski Wax has introduced an environmentally-friendly alternative, containing additives that are bio-degradable and very effective. The wax maintains high levels of water repellency, without the harmful effects of fluorocarbons (See Effects of Fluorocarbons in Ski Wax on Humans and the Environment ) Green-Ice also sells a 100% biodegradable wax, made entirely from renewable resources.
In order to understand proper ski or snow board waxing techniques, it is important to understand the composition of the base. High density polyethylene is a widely used polymer, typically referred to as “plastic”. Polyethylene is inert to the majority of chemicals, but also considered to quite soft. Polyethylene does not absorb moisture (hydrophobic) and can be shaped to form structure on the surface of the base, making it perfect for constructing ski and snowboard bases. However, the softness also has a downside. It can scratch, gouge or pick up dirt. Ski shops may repair any damages incurred on a base with P-Tex or a weld, depending on the severity of the defect.
Ski manufacturers create bases with fine polyethylene powder, which is heated and pressed into shape through a process called sintering. A structure of fine grooves is then added to the base in order to channel the water from the tip to tail of the ski or board as it glides over the snow, a concept similar to that of the treads of a car’s tire.
Even though polyethylene is quite inert, it can still oxidize and form a white chalky layer when exposed to ultra-violet light. This oxidation can cause the ski or board base to become brittle and crack. Over-heating the base, such as during the waxing process, can also harm the polyethylene and structure of the base. A crystal structure in the polyethylene is formed during the manufacturing process, and adding too much heat can change this structure and make it amorphous (not crystalline).
Two physical properties of interest when considering the right polyethylene for a ski or snowboard base is the thermal glassy transition temperature (Tg) and the temperature at which the material melts (Tm). Tg is the temperature at which the plastic is in a molten, or rubber-like, state. Polyethylene’s Tg is -125°C. Generally, lower Tg temperatures signify softer plastics. Harder more brittle plastics will correspond with a higher Tg . On the other hand, the melting point of polyethylene (Tm) dependents on the density. High density polyethylene’s melting point ranges from 248°C to 266°C, while low density polyethylene Tm ranges from 221°C to 239°C. These two properties of the polyethylene will determine the flexibility and durability of the plastic.
Knowing the composition and properties of the ski or board’s base helps to understand the importance of waxing. Waxing will prevent the board or ski from oxidizing. The wax will provide a layer of protection on the base that will prevent the UV light from destroying the polyethylene. Wax will also prevent dirt off from coming in direct contact with the base. However, it is critical that wax is applied properly and frequently. If the iron-on technique is used to wax the ski, one should closely monitor the temperature of the iron. Too much heat can damage the base of the ski or board. Although the melting temperature is generally much higher than the iron temperature, applying excessive amounts of heat for long periods of time (i.e. holding the iron in one place on the base) will cause the structure of the base to become amorphous and softer. Therefore, set the iron temperature to the wax’s specific melting point and keep the iron moving constantly when applying the wax to the base.
For those technicians that feel the direct heat from the iron to the ski or board’s base is detrimental to the structure, an alternative technique exists. Once the wax is melted and dripped to the base, a piece of parchment paper (available from the grocery store in the isle near the aluminum foil) can be placed over the base. Then, place the iron on top of the parchment paper and melt the wax further, while spreading the wax across the entirety of the ski or board. When finished ironing in the wax, leave the paper in place until the wax hardens completely. It can then be removed easily, as wax will not stick to parchment paper. In addition to the protection feature of the parchment paper, it also hold in the heat longer and forces the wax to cool at a slower rate. This increases the wax’s penetration into the pores of the base. This is a similar theory to using a “hot box” to keep the wax softer for longer, while it penetrates the pores and cracks in the polyethylene.
Green Ice Ski Wax is available in various grades of waxes to suit the needs of any skier or rider. These waxes apply easily and safely using either iron-on or rub-on techniques with no threat to the health of the athlete.