THE BEGINNING OF THE END OF SNOW SPORTS AS WE KNOW IT
FROM WAXING TO NOT WAXING
My name is JD the inventor of 100% wax-free solutions for skis and snowboards.
I have been asked to tell my Snow Sports innovation story. A very unlikely story in fact about how I from my hometown of Wells Somerset in the southwest of England and the slopes of Austria came up with the invention to make skis and snowboards wax-free forevermore, even better 100% ECO.
It all came about because I got so sick of waxing only to find it did not work as the conditions had changed overnight or from hour to hour. It was very important to me that my skis glided effortlessly while I was working as a trainer and ski instructor on the slopes of Austria throughout the winter. It was then I thought or I remember thinking, there has to be a better way to make skis and snowboards work and glide better than they do.
Years past but I must say that I was always on the lookout for a solution as I kept moving back and forth from the UK and Austria as the seasons changed. In the Summers I worked as a specialist panel beater and winters as a ski instructor and trainer. One could say I had a perfect balance.
But it was destiny caused or set in play another chapter/event of my life. It meant I was living in Austria all year around. This event I call an event because if it had not happened as it did I would not be here writing this today to all you snow sports fans on Snowplanners.
Let’s say destiny has a funny way of putting you on the road you were born to travel sometimes. It was in the spring of 2010 I made the first-ever 100% wax-free run in Hoch Fügen in the Zillertal. It was a day, an exciting day, a day I had been waiting for, a day I felt my skis glide and cut through the snow and slush like a hot knife through butter effortlessly. A day I will never forget, a historic day when snow sports changed for me in so many ways.
I knew that day after exhausting my legs beyond any point of being able to ski anymore that day in the ever-changing and challenging snow conditions I had found what I was looking for. Little did I know at the time or did I envisage what was to follow next.
INTO THE UNKNOW
I had found a way to make skis flow, glide, speed through any sort of snow condition effortlessly. I was very happy but then the questions started to flow their millions. Like: how was I meant to go up against the wax companies that owned the monopoly of the market to the total of 400 million a year.
Again destiny got involved as I was speed testing skis on a very cold day in Hinter Stoder. It just so happened that some environmental scientists were taking samples of snow and plant life etc near me and the rest of the resort. How could that be? What were they up to?
After talking to them they suddenly got very interested in what I was doing and gave me a card with their contact numbers on it and told me to call them later so I did.
To cut a long story short they introduced me to a lot of connections in the environmental sector. I learned over the next coming months that followed ski waxes were killing! Yes, I say killing animals, infecting animal embryos, causing birth defects, killing plant life, affecting the trees, skis wax chemicals were even found in the leaves of the trees, even in humans and contaminating water sources, and food the list goes on. I was horrified that for over 25 years I had been a part of this.
It put a whole new meaning and direction to what I was working on and how to present it to the world. One would think this was great but one would be wrong. The industry did not want to know about these issues and had even covered them up for decades. I have even warned off in not so many words of bringing my innovations to market can you believe.
This only made me more determined to fight on and to prove scientifically my innovations, my products, my methodology to be true and real and the answer to stopping this horrifying contamination to our wonderful natural environment. So! head down and strong I went on and proved it in a university laboratory.
We proved my innovations to be:
– 100% eco
– Very long-lasting
– Part of the base not a surface coating like waxes
– Improved the gliding properties
– Improved the life of the skis and boards
– Ideal for the rental industry
– Ideal for the manufactures
– No need for specialist tools like wax irons
Was a cold treatment which meant it did not negatively affect the core construction of a ski or snowboard like heat from a wax iron does.
I also pushed on all other fronts like; I got my patents underway; I tested more and more; I worked with burton. I pushed the products and methods to the limits and beyond and even to the destruction of the skis or boards. I sought out and skied in the most difficult conditions whenever I could to prove the skis would glide and run through anything as I wanted them to and they did. I started to attend shows like ISPO and talk with ski manufacturers about my work. Started to work on names for the products. I started to learn about marketing and how I could use multimedia. This was when I saw there was more to just coming up and proving a great idea or innovation.
It’s true to say the road or journey one takes or find him or herself on is one fraught with new challenges, ups, and downs, wins, and losses, excitement, and pain plans that work and plans that don’t, decisions that were good even great and the opposite wrong and even a big mistake or a lesson learned, even the breaking of body parts in the testing processes, as I said I took skis and myself to the limits and beyond.
I can tell you, dealing with the snow sports industry as a whole to bring my innovations to where it is today 10 years on has been so! I more than care to remember some days. But I have never given up, never let them put me down, only learned from. A mistake in judgment or a wrong decision can be a win to surprisingly.