Outdoor Writer

Looks like wax. But DPS says this stuff is way different.


The Inertia

 

The Phantom ski wax system by DPS may completely change the way that we wax skis and snowboards. That’s what DPS is hoping anyway and claims its Phantom wax will allow a single application to last a lifetime – you’ll never have to use your hot iron in the cold garage again.

Each year, we welcome the new winter by gathering around a homemade plywood workbench. Snow falls outside while we take turns waxing bases. We laugh over beers, make up lies about the previous winter and prepare our equipment for the quickly-approaching season.

It’s a fun ritual but it’s safe to say that we all get lazy as the winter goes on, preferring to go with, “what got ya there” on powder days. Which is exactly why the world needs a product like this. But will it work?

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DPS is making three big claims that they say sets the product apart. First, you apply it once and it lasts as long as the ski or board is around. Next, the wax performs consistently well in a wide array of conditions and temperatures. And finally Phantom is made of non-reactive chemical functional groups that are both inert to the environment and safe to those applying it – something that traditional waxes have never been able to achieve.

“The convenience of Phantom’s one-time application means skiers and boarders can spend more time on the mountain and less time prepping their gear,” Alex Hunt of DPS told The Inertia. “The skis and boards will always have great glide. If the base suffers damage from something like a rock, and it needs a stone grind – no worries because Phantom is part of the base material and will still be there after the grind.”

It kinda sounds like Hocus Pocus, but apparently the guys over at DPS have been testing the product for years. Their team of chemists and material science engineers created and tested 50 compound variations through lab and field work. Ordinary wax, Hunt maintains, remains on the surface of the base, giving your skis or board a sleek and flat surface. The Phantom wax system fully penetrates the base, almost acting as an entirely new base over your old one. This is called the polymerization process. In addition, Phantom actually alters the characteristics of your original base, making it harder, stronger, more impact resistant, and much more durable, performing in any snow condition, the company says, from manmade, to groomed, to fresh powder, and even late-season corn.

 

Piers Solomon putting Phantom wax through to the test in Engelberg, Switzerland.

Ski wax has been around since the 1850s and it remains a vital piece of the snow-sliding puzzle. In the past 170 years, it really hasn’t changed much, though. In fact, the only changes have included adding toxic chemicals that are harmful to the environment as well as the person applying it.

“We came across a history of different alternative solutions attempting to solve the wax problem, but nothing was deemed competitive,” says Hunt. “We then began a developmental relationship with a group of top material scientists to research and attack the problem via an advanced free radical polymerization approach.”

Though Phantom is not yet available directly from the DPS retail website, you can get yours on their Kickstarter campaign. If you donate $90 or more, you will receive a single application system. DPS makes a nice ski but only time will tell if their wax system can stand the test of time.



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