Never wax your skis again! Or do. Or don’t. You be the judge. The bottom line is that soon you’ll be able to get your hands on a substitute for ski wax as you’ve always known it.
After employing a team of expert chemists and engineers, and following a year’s worth of development and extensive testing with over 50 compound variations, Salt Lake City-based DPS Skis has developed a patent-pending formula that permanently alters ski and board bases to make them both faster and harder for the life of the product. Said formula is also environmentally friendly as well as safe to the individuals applying it to a pair of skis or a board; the same cannot be said for traditional ski waxes.
Last week, FREESKIER was invited to join DPS Skis at Loveland Ski Area, just up the road from Denver, for the private unveiling of the new product, called Phantom. And to clear a few things up right off the bat: Yes, the Utah-based ski manufacturer is set to disrupt the ski wax market. Also, it’s not wax; it’s being referred to as “permanent base glide treatment.” And finally, the product was launched officially today via Kickstarter. Here’s what you need to know…
Phantom requires just one single application for the life of a pair of skis or a snowboard. Performance remains constant, regardless of tunes and stone grinds. How, you ask? Unlike traditional waxes that coat the surface of your ski base, Phantom penetrates the entire thickness of the base material. Even after a stone grind, Phantom is chillin’, doing its thing.
Performance is on-point
Extensive testing has demonstrated that Phantom provides rockin’, consistent glide across a wide range of conditions and temperatures. Whereas a traditional wax-job will last for a handful of runs or a few days, at best, the glide provided by Phantom simply does not degrade. Phantom permanently alters the hardness of the base material, providing durability in addition to glide.
Environment is key
Traditional “high fluoro” and “low flouro” ski waxes contain toxic chemicals that are dangerous to the individuals applying the wax to skis or boards, and also the environment. Phantom is designed to include the speediest components of traditional waxes, but in safe, “closed chemical” groups (how’s your recollection of high school Chem class?) that are inert to the environment and to the “applicator.” To recap: Phantom sheds zero toxic chemicals. Additionally, for shop technicians who are frequently exposed to nasty chemicals (studies in Scandinavia have shown that ski techs carry extremely high levels of toxins in their bloodstreams), this product may be a saving grace.
Answers to your inevitable Qs
While in Loveland, we had the opportunity to question DPS reps about Phantom. Below, you’ll find answers to some of the more obvious questions.
What is the financial benefit of buying Phantom instead of regular waxing?
The cost of a single Phantom treatment (USD
$70 $80 on Kickstarter, now, or USD $99 beginning on or around Dec. 1), which lasts forever, is equivalent to three standard wax services.
Can a base still be waxed after application?
Yes, you can still apply temperature-specific waxes to a Phantom-treated base. When your temperature-specific wax wears off, you are still riding on a Phantom-coated base, which is far superior to the performance of an unwaxed base, our testing has confirmed.
Can I apply the treatment at home, and can I do it myself?
Phantom can be applied at home or by a ski/snowboard shop technician. The home application process takes about 20 minutes, with six hours of additional “drying” time for Phantom to fully penetrate the base. The Phantom itself is activated by UV light, allowing the product to morph from a liquid to a solid.
Does Phantom work with skins and for backcountry skiing?
Yes. Wax is no longer removed by skins, skin glue is no longer contaminated by wax, and you always have glide in variable snow conditions, all season long.
Can Phantom be used in other sports or applications?
Not at this time. Phantom has been developed to work specifically on alpine ski and snowboard bases. DPS does not vouch for, or endorse, Phantom for any other sport, including nordic skiing, other than for use on alpine skis, and snowboards.
Can you air ship Phantom?
Does Phantom change the appearance of the skis?
Your skis or snowboard will retain a glossy black appearance after a Phantom application. After thirty days or so of use, any base material will begin to look “dry” as snow abrasion starts to take its toll. At this point, a stone grind will freshen the appearance to new.
Is there a shelf life?
What comes inside a Phantom package?
A Phantom package includes: Two pouches of Phantom (approx. 15 ml per pouch which is enough for one pair of skis, or one snowboard), a microfiber cloth and a brush for base finishing.
In a perfect world, skiers and boarders could/should service their planks regularly—ideally every few days to maintain top performance. However, that seldom happens. Phantom is without a doubt a solid offering for those who struggle to wax their skis and snowboards regularly, and who wish to maintain better-than-normal glide, with just one treatment. Phantom won’t provide the same speed of a high-end, traditional wax when compared side by side, over the course of a few runs. I.e. World Cup ski racers will likely not utilize Phantom for racing purposes. However, as aforementioned, when the traditional wax wears off, Phantom will reign supreme.
Our testing showed that at slow speeds, Phantom does not offer the same “slippery” feel that traditional wax offers. Once up to speed, however, Phantom is noticeably slick, providing rockin’ speed, run after run, day after day. Additionally, a skier may experience a slight drag in the first run or two following the application of Phantom; once the original stickiness subsides, however, no such drag will be felt ever again.
The implications of this product are far-ranging: Rental shop managers could potentially eliminate costly and timely servicing of skis; ski shops could provide customers with a one-time, quick-n-easy solution for increased speed; DPS may sell its skis pre-treated as a bonus for buyers; and so on.
Stephan Drake, founder and CEO of DPS Skis, had the following to say about the new product:
“Phantom’s approach is a truly innovative scientific advancement. It’s a recipe that simply works day after day, tune after tune, and forever fundamentally changes our conception and approach to fast-running boards designed for daily use. We came across a history of different alternative solutions attempting to solve the wax problem, but nothing was deemed competitive. 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.”
Now is your chance to get Phantom at a discounted price, with a limited amount available on a first-come, first-served basis via Kickstarter. The first shipments of Phantom are expected to go out in December, 2017.