We take another deep dive, this time into the world of waxes, and namely, the upcoming ban on high fluoro waxes next season. Todd Carroll, North American product manager at Wintersteiger and general ski technician aficionado, joins the show to explain the details, give us the facts, and provide perspective on the whole matter (3:54). We also ask about the merits of liquid wax (35:49), grinding skis (40:32), and what makes a fast speed ski (45:31). As always, we take a caller at the end—this one is from Maine (1:00:14). (Questions, suggestions, and grievances to [email protected] or DM on Instagram @jimmy_who_)

Jimmy was born in Boston, MA. He grew up on the slopes of Cannon Mountain, and later Sugarbush--his family moved to Fayston, VT when he started attending the Green Mountain Valley School. He has spent the past four years training with the US Ski Team as an invitee and attending Dartmouth College part-time. He enjoys surfing small waves, touting the Eastern mountains, and making silly videos. He is now enthusiastically hosting SRM's official podcast, "Ski Racing This Week."

4 COMMENTS

  1. Nice discussion with Todd. Some very valid points throughout – from importance of the Athlete to consistency in product, prep and maintenance. Not to mention the shoutout to one the greatest techs – Chris Krause.
    Stay healthy
    Blake

  2. Many excellent points from Todd regarding structure, the effects of excessive heat and the importance of geometry. I had to smile because Krause came to mind as soon as Cuche was mentioned, and then Todd mentioned him a few minutes later. Where I believe the discussion fell short is in the fluorine chemistry and regulatory issues, areas outside both participants’ expertise as they themselves mentioned. The fluoro issue is a multi faceted one with a lot of confusing information for the non specialist: C6, C8, PFOA, PFAS, bioaccumulation, bioelimination, perfluorocarbons, TSCA inventory, the role of the EPA, what happened with Toko, Swix, and others last year, EU2020, the FIS ban, etc. Admittedly, very difficult to tackle all these issues in the time allowed, but the information presented was confusing and often inaccurate, especially regarding TSCA, the regulatory history of fluorinated ski wax additives, and EPA violations. Todd was wisely very cautious about predicting the levels of residual fluoros on the base, but there, too, opinions diverge, especially regarding the presence of fluoro on the base straight out of the factory. Enforcement of the FIS ban is another big question mark. Right now the prevailing thought is that it requires the use of expensive equipment and testing is only realistic for the highest levels of racing and the rest of the competitions will have to rely on an honor system. Many have doubts as to how well the honor system will work and are complaining that the cheaters will have the fastest skis. But the reality is that it is very easy and inexpensive to determine if a ski is loaded with fluoro; realistically, it can be accomplished even at a U12 level. Fluorochemicals are the only ski wax components that are both hydrophobic and oleophobic. (They repel both water and oil.). All other components are only hydrophobic. So if you put a drop of baby oil on the base and it beads up, it is nearly certain that the base is treated with fluoro. Perhaps FIS will consider that. In the interest of full disclosure, I am Thanos Karydas, a PhD chemist specializing in flurorochemicals, with over fifty patents and publications in the field, and I am the founder and product developer of DOMINATOR.

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