Skiers, trade your bad “Forever Chemical” wax for safer products: here’s how to do it

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A Colorado company has a solution for anyone who loves smooth skis but wants to rid their kit of toxic chemicals.

Want to ditch “chemicals forever” forever? MountainFLOW eco-wax wants it too. And this May, the company offers the industry’s first recovery program for traditional fluorocarbon ski wax.

The Carbondale, Colorado-based company makes plant-based, biodegradable ski wax from a variety of plant sources. Founded in 2016, it is now a certified B-corp, and its products are USDA certified bio-based – 0% petroleum, 100% plants.

“[The industry is] drill oil to make ski wax,” mountainFLOW founder and CEO Peter Arlein said online. “It’s crazy, isn’t it? All the wax from your skis ends up in the snowpack and eventually in the local rivers. You can extract wax from a bunch of different plants. We should be able to replicate the performance of a traditional ski wax.

Based on most user feedback, the company regularly proves its concept: consistently, it can replicate that performance.

The Wax Takeback “seduces” skiers

Today, the brand is actively trying to remove fluorinated ski wax from the slopes. With the help of several outdoor-focused university programs in his home region, his take-back program offers skiers and snowboarders two ways to eliminate toxic waxes: (1) visit one of three partner retailers of Colorado or (2) use the mail-in option if you are not in the area.

Why not just throw your old wax in the trash? On the one hand, mountainFLOW bonuses are at your fingertips. You will get swag and discount codes in exchange for sending your traditional wax. The incentive, however, is ultimately “to get people to do their part to get harmful chemicals out of circulation and keep them out of the snowpack.”

bio-based ski wax
(Photos/mountainFLOW)

It’s no secret that fluorinated chemicals – especially PFAS, the main ingredient in petroleum ski wax – are everywhere. They don’t biodegrade, and research has proven they’re incredibly toxic in waterways.

Nevertheless, a wide range of outdoor gear like wax and DWR treatments have relied on it for years. The resulting toxicity problem has forced industry brands to take a stand. The Vermont state government has even banned the sale of all consumer products containing PFAS last year in a series of very decisive votes.

How to exchange your wax

You can reapply your petroleum-based wax from May 1-31 to receive the benefits of the mountainFLOW program.

Drop-off locations include:

If you are in Crested Butte for the Colorado Outdoor Industry Leadership Summit from May 19 to 20, you can drop off your wax at Wright Collegiate Challenge table.

As part of the Collegiate Challenge, mountainFLOW recruited help for the Outdoor Industry MBA Students at Western Colorado University and an undergraduate Industry Studies Program team from outside Colorado Mesa University.

Alternatively, you can even send your wax to 201 Main St., Suite 303, Carbondale, CO, 81623. ‘mailing.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment guides the team on the safe storage and eventual disposal of submitted waxes.

MountainFLOW noted that it would “almost certainly” lose money on the project. But he said: “[We] I believe this is the right thing to do and hope it inspires others to take action.

Arlein, “Fluorinated ski wax has been a known environmental concern for years, and our take-back program will ensure that this carcinogenic chemical is not exposed to people or the environment.

“We are excited to work with a team of motivated students from Western Colorado University and Colorado Mesa University to solve this important problem.”

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