Last week we posted a questionnaire asking for your opinions on the use of fluorinated wax. Below are the results of the survey. We selected only a portion of written responses to publish with today’s story. Thanks again for your feedback.
As of September 26, we had 160 respondents to our ski wax questionnaire.
Here’s a breakdown of how respondents defined themselves as a percentage of overall respondents:
Master aged skier: 55%
Non-master Senior Aged skier: 8.1%
Club Coach: 18.1%
High School Coach: 6.9%
Junior club skier: 5.6%
Junior non-club skier: 0.6%
None of the above: 5.6%
Geographic breakdown of respondents:
North America: 93.8%
Norway, Finland, Sweden: 0.6%
Would you opt into a voluntary fluoro ban (all products) at a major ski marathon? Please explain your answer below.
- Yes – I think competing on an even playing field is important in order to make sport fair. Races shouldn’t be won by out-waxing opponents, they should be won on fitness, grit, and tactics.
- No. I don’t believe others would comply.
- If the governing bodies of skiing asked for fluoros to be banned, I would honor their request.
- I’d be happy to. I would even support every racer being required (probably on an honor system) of using the exact same kind of was for a given race.
- There are far more countries & populations conducting much more horrific environmental abuses than if the entire global ski population used HF waxes very day all ski season.
- yes, with some controls or disincentives for those that would not voluntarily participate and/or cheat.
- I think that it is a good idea to ban fluoros for under 18 regional events. I think that at the major ski marathon level there would definitely be people who didn’t abide by the rules and it would give them an unfair advantage.
- I’m just a punter, in no danger of robbing anyone of their podium. If I still have fluoros and can have a better day, why not?
- Never, I want and need the best and fastest skis possible.
- Nope. Why would this be necessary? Skis and grinds are more important anyway.
- I’m a citizen racer. I can’t afford to compete at the price of top-line fluorinated race wax. Bans level the field and are better for the environment.
- HF waxes are an economic barrier to equal sport. HF waxes don’t improve the sport but instead provide a durable advantage to a sub-group of participants.
- Going faster is more fun.
- I hate the poison but feel non-competitive without it.
Would you opt into a voluntary fluoro ban (all products) at a junior national qualifier/junior nationals? Please explain your answer below.
- No. I don’t believe others would comply.
- I think particularly in youth sports, all skiers should race on the same wax to make it fair. As fluoros become more scarce, it is essential that races ban their use to allow those without access to stay in the game.
- The number of athletes competing is so much smaller and many are waxed by club coaches so it would be plausible that this could be effective. How are the skis being handled? if you leave it up to individual clubs and coaches there will be cheating. If you hand in all the race skis to be done by a select group prior to the race and all skis are finished in the same manner I have no problem with it.
- JNQ yes but until they stop using fluoro on the World Cup, we need to get experience as a nation with waxing and testing at the junior level.
- Fluoros actually act as an equalizer for kids/JR athletes who only have one pair of skate skis. Sure, some parents can buy multiple pairs of skis for their kids who race, but some can not. It penalizes the kid who only has one pair of universal skate skis who is racing against a kid who has 3-4 pairs of skate skis with different base material and grinds.
- Yes. Been doing it for 10+ years for qualifiers. Wanted it for just as long at JNs. If supply becomes limited this is going to make for a very unfair playing field as some programs and divisions have already started to stockpile waxes.
- When I was a junior skier, it was always an extra boost mentally to know I was skiing on the fastest wax available at junior nationals.
- Better for health and time use for coaches, and saves money for teams.
- My team has very few pure fluoro products anyway. It levels the playing field and makes the sport more equitable, lowering the barrier to success for all athletes and clubs.
- My daughter competes in Norway, and a fluoro ban is already in place for under 16 years old. It is difficult with ski contamination though, e.g. she needs a separate ski bag, separate brushes etc. Clubs share the same problem.
- Keep it simple and pool wax all of the skis.
- Ban it or do nothing. Voluntary is meaningless.
- Absolutely! it saves the kids money on the trip and let’s face it, the wax trailers provided to the divisions are not safely ventilated, and the divisions do not all have the money for a $1200 3M mask.
- Again “voluntary” and “ban is an oxymoron. It is either one or the other.
If a fluoro ban was put in place, would you trust that the field was “clean” with regards to fluorinated ski bases? Please explain your answer below.
- If you leave it up to individual clubs and coaches there will be cheating. If you hand in all the race skis to be done by a select group prior to the race and all skis are finished in the same manner I have no problem with it.
- I would expect that I was probably the only one racing without some form of fluoro wax.
- Not sure. After all, I’ve seen people skating in classic races.
- No, because I would use Fluoros!
- If there isn’t a simple compliance test, no doubt some people will cheat to win.
- It depends on the extent of the ban. If the ban was only on blocks and powders, I would trust that skiers could race without those. However, if the ban is on any kind of fluorinated wax (including LF and HF paraffins), there are no guarantee skiers wouldn’t put on a base layer of LF.
- I would like to trust that the field was “clean”, but I think I would struggle to do so if it were to actually happen. Furthermore, I think that any stellar performance by an athlete would be subject to suspicion, regardless of whether or not they were “clean”, and that this would be unfortunate.
- I’m sure some would ‘cheat’ but in a few years this would be eliminated. Our local provincial races series have been fluoro free for a 5+ years in the younger age categories and entirely Fluoro free for two years. I am confident that all clubs abide by the rules.
- Fluoros are banned from USCSA competition.
- A 20%+ advantage in some snow conditions? Yeah, that’s a big incentive. I can’t imagine it working.
- I am sure several masters racers with large wax stores would still use them until they were depleted; I would expect races to be clean in several years and primarily clean in the interim.
- At the World Cup level, I probably wouldn’t trust the field to be clean, because there is a lot at stake, and some people already dope, so I’m sure they’d have no qualms about fluoro doping. However, at the US level, I have a lot more faith in the nordic ski community and I honestly believe that anybody that is seriously competing to win super tours and represent the US at world championships would do so honestly.
What would deter you from using fluorinated wax products if a race posted a zero-tolerance fluoro policy?
- A verifiable test
- Penalty / Fine / my athletes being kicked out of the competition, logical and appropriate uniform ski prep for all athletes.
- Much like doping, I have no interest in cheating. I am out there to measure my best honest effort, not to beat other competitors.
- Test all podium finisher waxes. But what if it moves a skier from 10th to 5th? Do we just test all skis?
- If I were in remote danger of being competitive, I’d not use them.
- Would have no problem complying with not using fluoros if requested…but if at these events there are too big of differences between ski speeds, non-complying skiers, then I’d likely stop attending these events…and if was consistent at too many of my regular favorite events then I’d most likely move on to another activity…life is too short to be pushing water uphill if not having fun! 🙂
- Testing of ski bases.
- If they could show me definitive evidence that the fluorinated waxes are truly harming the environment. The amount produced and used is so minuscule.
What deters you from using fluorinated waxes?
- Environmental damage from making the waxes, plus the risk of damaging bases applying powder.
- Nothing I like speed.
- A ban and knowing other people are not using the.
- Nothing, currently.
- Expense. I use fluoros for races only, and when I wax for the race I only powder one pair of skis. As a solo skier, it is just too expensive to use powders without discretion.
- I currently use them to learn how to help my son (U20 Skier) in his pursuit of a career as a skier. As a relatively new skier, it is a big challenge to help him maintain a competitive ski fleet.
- I wax for Junior ski racers and protocol is low fluoros only. I personally ski on low fluoros. Cost, environment, and rules dictate what I do.
What would deter you from using fluorinated waxes?
- Proven health concerns.
- If the ski world universally adopted a position against it – professional and recreational
- I think having a way to do random tests of skis would help but still, I don’t want this to turn into a game of doping. I really don’t know what the best solution is but I definitely think that a ban for fluoros under 16 or 18 at most races is needed now. (and I am 15)
- No further deterrent is needed beyond cost, ethics, and health. A cheap/accurate/effective ski base test would deter further.
- Rules and the honor system, it’s also a better way to level the playing field in regards to the wax budgets/capabilities of teams.
- I am deterred. It wouldn’t hurt if US Ski and Snowboard decided to ban fluoros at all US races. A top-down approach would send a clear message and make black sheep of those who might cheat around local/regional rules.