The ski sport showed it doesn't need to be fluoro to achieve great performances
We have just witnessed a fantastic cross country city sprint in Tallinn. For the first time, we can say with 100% certainty that all skiers used fluoro-free ski wax. Now, FIS and IBU have decided that this is the future.
"We are witnessing a historic moment," said FIS race director Michal Lamplot as he observed the waxing stations before the race. At the Cross-Country World Cup event in Tallinn on March 21st, all participants without exception used fluoro-free ski waxes. The result was convincing, as was the feedback from the athletes.
The following day, the news came out that FIS and IBU once again decided that the ski sport should be fluoro-free. A new ban against fluoro will come into effect after this season. It is now the third time that FIS and IBU have attempted to remove all toxic fluorine substances from our sport.
"Our time's biggest chemical environmental threat"
"There is no reason for ski sport to continue to spread fluoro substances which pose a health risk and includes environmental concerns. The substances have been labeled Forever Chemicals, and European authorities have identified it as our time's biggest chemical environmental threat with significant health hazards for everyone exposed to them," says Christian Gløgård, research and development director at the Brav Group, responsible for ski waxes of two of the leading brands Swix, based in Norway and Toko, based in Switzerland.
Both, Toko and Swix have been at the forefront of wax development and innovation since decades. Actually, Toko's ski racing history began in 1948, when Toko offered the first waxing service at the Olympic Games in St. Moritz. Since then, Toko and Swix are highly respected amongst both cross-country and alpine skiers.
In 2021 both brands stopped all production and commercial sales of fluoro ski wax. This season, Swix and Toko's waxers have traveled to ski races worldwide without fluoro in their luggage. While nations, teams, and other suppliers have continued on the same path with fluoro wax under their skis, Toko and Swixused the time to develop, test, and sell in fluoro-free products to the rest of the industry.
"The fluoro-free products we offer today are excellent and result from thousands of hours of research and development with our partners. We use highly innovative technologies to replace fluoro. We are grateful for the support from the Research Council over the last ten years. It has made possible an economic investment that would otherwise not have been possible and ensured to remain leaders in lubrication technology," continues Gløgård.
The best is still the best - even without fluoro.
Tuesday's evening race in Tallinn was a milestone. For the first time since the fluoro entered in the 1980s, all skiers went without the harmful substance under their skis. The race was just as entertaining for the TV viewer as if they had used fluoro, and the best showed that they are still the best.
We have been waiting for a fluoro-free ski sport and are finally looking forward to it happening next season.