Fluorinated Ski Wax Ban: Skis with Functional Surfaces as an Alternative

Using a laser, LZH researchers have introduced microstructures onto the ski surfaces. (Photo: LZH)
04 January 2024
Press releases

The winter sports industry is searching for a substitute for the banned fluorinated ski wax. Scientists at the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) have developed an environmentally friendly alternative that does not compromise performance: skis with an innovative microstructure.

Whether in professional or recreational skiing, waxing skis and snowboards is crucial for smoother gliding and higher speeds. Typically used products contain per- and polyfluorinated alkanes, known as PFAS, some of which have shown health risks in animal tests. Consequently, the EU has set very low limits for these substances, and the International Ski Federation (FIS) and the International Biathlon Union (IBU) have completely banned the use of fluorinated alkanes in their competitions. LZH scientists, in collaboration with ZIPPS Skiwachse GmbH from Waldbrunn, have researched an alternative: "Green wax" combined with a novel microstructure on the surface is designed to provide skiing enjoyment without fluorine.

The partners in the SkiWachs project have developed an environmentally friendly alternative to fluorinated wax. (Photo: LZH)

Lasered microstructures for speed

As part of a research project, LZH researchers developed a method to create a specific structure of the ski surface. Using a laser, they introduced microstructures into the ski surfaces. Combined with the newly developed fluorine-free ski wax by ZIPPS Skiwachse GmbH, these two innovative changes ensure a pleasant skiing experience, reduced friction, and higher speeds.

Tested by professional athletes

The performance of laser-structured skis was successfully tested on snow by experienced professional skiers, with the German Ski Association serving as an official test partner.

About SkiWachs

The SkiWachs project was funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action as part of the Central Innovation Program for SMEs (ZIM) under the funding code KK5111702BR0.