Eco Shred

Carbondale's Peter Arlein on the Snowpack-Friendly Ski Wax of MountainFLOW

RFL: Your company began as North America's only plant-based ski wax. What's the scoop?

Arlein: "Well, when we started we offered the only line of plant-based ski wax in North America but since we launched, there have been a couple other companies that began making plant-based as well. We welcome the competition and love to see more plant-based wax on the market. We are still the only folks to exclusively offer plant-based wax, since all of our competitors make petroleum-based wax as well. Two years ago, we recognized a huge hole in the market. There wasn't a truly eco-friendly (plant-based) ski wax on the market. Ski shops and consumers were asking for it, so we began the research and development process. After more than 200 iterations, we developed a formula that was made entirely from plants and worked just as well as a conventional wax."

How does the environmental impact of plant-based compare to conventional?

Arlein: "Traditional ski wax is made from petroleum. This means that we are drilling oil to make ski wax and furthermore, whatever you put on your skis goes directly into the snowpack and then into local rivers. About a third of the global ski wax supply is made with fluorocarbons or PFAS. These substances are highly toxic and carcinogenic. PFAS are referred to as a 'forever chemical' because once they are in the environment, they simply do not break down—ever! Fortunately, environmental regulating bodies have begun to ban PFAS use in ski wax. MountainFLOW is biodegradable and non-toxic. Even our packaging is biodegradable."

Give us the rundown on your line of products.

Arlein: "First is Plant-Based Hot Wax: We offer a full temperature range of wax (Cold, Cool, Warm, and All Temp). This wax is available for consumer use and also sold in bulk for backshops and rental operations. Same application process as a conventional ski wax: melt on, scrape off, drink a beer. Next is Plant-Based Quick Wax, a rub-on paste wax in two temperatures (Cool and Warm). It's really easy to apply, doesn't last quite as long as the hot wax, but it's great for folks on vacation who may not have access to a full waxing/tuning setup. It works awesome on all equipment but is especially nice on fish-scale nordic skis which are notoriously difficult to wax. And last, we offer two types of Skin Wax in a spray and rub-on. It prevents icing on climbing skins and adds extra glide."

How did you conduct testing to ensure your wax performed as well as or better than petroleum-based?

Arlein: "Before launching, we ran a series of controlled performance tests. We borrowed some professional timing equipment from Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club and set up a speed trap. Two pairs of the same ski, waxed with different products. The skier was blind to the wax and made multiple runs down the course. After crunching the numbers, we determined that mountainFLOW's wax was just as fast as a conventional petroleum-based wax."

What's your vision of the perfect day of spring skiing in the valley?

Arlein: "The day would start early on Panda Peak with my kids. And since this is a 'perfect day' there would be more runs than hot chocolate and there wouldn't be any meltdowns. After some french fries on the deck at Bumps, I would meet up with some buddies at Highlands to hike the bowl. Then maybe a lap or two through the bumps on Scarlett's and down to the Ale House deck for a couple cold ones!"

Social: @mountainflowecowax

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