What are the consequences of waxing my skis? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 11-29-2010   #1
Gunnison, Colorado
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 1
What are the consequences of waxing my skis?

My name Jay and I am a pre professional outdoor educator. (student) I am currently enrolled in a course foccussed on sustainability in the outdoor industry and was challeged by my instructor to look into a topic of relevance and to make myself and my findings heard in a public forum. How better to do that that on the world-wide web?
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Old 11-30-2010   #2
lmyers's Avatar
Buena Vista, Colorado
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Interesting stuff. Guess I wasn't aware that ski wax was so toxic.

There are several grammer errors in your paper. I would suggest proof-reading it if it has to be turned in.
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Old 11-30-2010   #3
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up in them thar hills, Colorado
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You should contact every major ski resort in the area that claims to be "green" and see what kind of waxes they are using in there on mountain shops. I work at one of them and I am going to just that.
Your paper is short and to the point maybe you should post it to the ski resorts web sites.
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Old 11-30-2010   #4
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Portland, Oregon
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I've come across a couple of companies that are making "all natural" waxes, but I'm sure there are others out there. It appears that there are some options out there, but I have no idea about the level of performance they provide... that said, I am planning on trying some of them out.

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Old 11-30-2010   #5
Salida, Colorado
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Really good article on a subject that I have not thought about in years since I am not over a wax bench everyday anymore.

I do remember getting some headaches years ago and wondered if that melting chemicals onto skis had something to do with it.

You should cross post this over to the teton gravity forum and see what those guys have to say about this, as that is a dedicated skier site with a ton more eyes on it.

It would be interesting to see some of there comments on this.

Any way good work, I think I will be switching over to using Purl wax which is available at quite a few Colorado stores.
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Old 11-30-2010   #6
Louisville, Colorado
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As a sciency type, I'd love to see some actual references in your paper. Certainly the act of skiing is not good for the environment (driving, the manufacture of the equipment, the development of alpine riparian zones as base villages), but if I don't see references that I can go look up myself I tend to view such articles as unsubstantiated. I guess not all classes and publication require references though.
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Old 11-30-2010   #7
Arkansas during the off-season Nomadic during the summers! :), Arkansas & Colorado
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Did you notice the cutoff on the title on the front page reads:

"Consequences of waxing my..."

I clicked to see where this thread was going
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Old 11-30-2010   #8
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Numbers are off

I am a scientist, and this paper and related info on the 'green' wax websites is clearly overstated. First, I am concerned with persistant pollutants of which PFOA is one, and the statements about it being in our blood is well documented. Toxicity is also evident, but concentration is always a key.

Again I am not saying there is no PFOA released on ski slopes by users of teflon based waxes, just not near the levels stated. The Purl website has a letter written by a high school graduate that appears to be the source of this mis-information. First off, PFOA doesn't come from the breakdown of teflon (which itself is far more stable than PFOA), but rather PFOA is a contaminent in teflon, rarely present above 10 ppm levels. Teflon itself is not toxic. Then she assumed use of 3/4 of an ounce of wax per day! This is absurd. I don't know exactly how much wax gets applied onto skis (there are probably those out there that do), but from my experience we are talking probably 1/100th of that amount. And how many actually wax on each outing (not me). Next she assumes evreyone is using it, which is equally absurd since the Stix Cera F waxes are specialty products for racers. So I would say the 2.18 million pounds is probably more like much less than a pound, dispersed world wide. In other words, not something to get too worried about.

Having said that, if you work in a ski shop and use the Cera F wax you might want to ventilate the fumes since they no doubt do contain PFOA and I wouldn't want to be inhaling it.
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Old 12-01-2010   #9
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Riverdale, Utah
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Jay, you are not supposed to burn your ski wax; turn down the iron (you're using a waxing iron, right, not a clothes iron from the thrift shop? . I'm all in favor of less-toxic waxes though.

A more economical approach is to hand-rub wax on your bases. Its not as high performance, but you don't scrape off 3/4 of the wax right off the bat, either. Your wax goes alot further, and no fumes at all.

This is a little OT, but it amazes me in this day and age, when I go into a climbing shop that does not have a ventilated rope/webbing cutter. Those fumes from melting/burning the ends of climbing webbing are seriously TOXIC, I'm sure they are way worse than ski wax. Dripping Ptex into your skis gives off similarly toxic burning plastic fumes, especially when the ptex candle goes out. Do not do that in your apt!! Go outside, or have a shop do it (they have guns that don't smoke). As a former firefighter, I know that avoiding the fumes of burning plastic is basic survival 101 for a firefighter. You don't breathe burning plastic (or nylon/perlon) fumes if you want to live long.

There are some good topics for study.

Another annoying source of pollution at ski areas is the two stroke snowmobiles that the lifties roar by on. Please go with 4 strokes. How about a paper on that one? How about some kind of cost/benefit analysis that would help justify buying 4 stroke snowmobiles. With "statistics". ha ha

BTW, "assess" is not spelled "asses" .
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Old 12-01-2010   #10
dillon, Colorado
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Purl wax also makes natural waxes however they have been hard to scrape and brittle in cold temps so not many techs are promoting them...I believe they are working to change this. Turning down the irons is a great tip, many waxes are very stable until they smoke...then they can be way more volatile and toxic.
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