Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Article on Green Wax

Making the Ski Industry a Little More Green

By Alexis Overbye - Skiing Business

Founded in 2007, Green Wax was created by Ken Avery, an avid elite-level mountain biker who started snowboarding as a form cross training.  Combining his passion for snow sports with his love of the environment, Avery created Green Wax as an alternative to many chemical-ridden waxes on the market.
Skiing Business caught up with Avery to get the latest scoop on his all-natural wax.
What makes Green Wax different from other waxes?
There are no PFC’s or petroleum, which is a big difference.  Green Wax is a universal wax, and most universal waxes work really well in temperatures between 10 degrees and 20 degrees, but our wax works well in all conditions.  It is also very durable. We made it as hard as we could, but you can still rub it on. Because it is so durable, some shops say end up using less wax, which saves them money.
How did you come up with the idea?
I’ve been a snowboarder and mountain biker for 20 years, and I love being in the mountains. I wanted to create something that would make a difference, but I had three main criteria: it had to be environmentally friendly, have the ability to be made in the U.S., and I wanted it to be related to a mountain sport.  I thought about ski wax, but regular wax is petroleum based with PFC’s (perflurocarbons), all things that affect nature. I wanted to make something without PFC’s or petroleum, but it had to be compatible with the industry’s existing machinery.
Your wax is PFC free. Tell me more about that.
Fluorocarbons and petroleum are added to create lubricity, and are generally the cheapest on the market, but we pretty much reverse engineered it.  We didn’t care as much about cost at first. We started by finding slippery ingredients and used those ingredients to create a wax. But I can’t tell you what’s in it.
Why make a “green” wax when the industry, as a whole, isn’t very green?
Someone needs to. I love skiing and snowboarding and it seems silly that you could love something so much, but, at the same time, cause so much damage. Most mountains have a pond at the bottom of the hill that is used to make their snow, and every spring the pond is filled again by the run off. Most chemicals that have been left on the mountain, flow into the pond and are put back onto the mountain the next year. It’s a cycle of harmful chemicals. We want to help eliminate that.

How are you distributing your product?
We are attacking it from a few different points.  Montana makes high-end tuning machines, and its headquarters is here in New England.  They have a huge distributorship and wanted to be the first to distribute it. They are the main reason we have gotten the number of dealers and resorts that we have.

Between shops and resorts we felt we had a pretty good base, but we really wanted to hit up the junior riders. These kids are part of a movement, and they are definitely the future of the sport.  They are helping to spread the word and show people that Green Wax is a great product.  
Where is it being sold?
Everybody from the small ski shops to big resorts and everything in between. As people hear about it, they ask if it works, and then they use it and want it. It’s green and it works and the price works too.

Who is your target market?
A mix of everyone. If you like sliding down snow you will need wax.  Targeting just one demographic would be tough. Our biggest concern is that we need dealers to believe in a “green wax.” Other companies have made soy waxes, but they aren’t solving the problem. Ours is soy free because soy is slow, so that’s a big differentiator.

How does your wax work in the different arenas of snowsports?
We only have one formula. We don’t have the different formulas because we haven’t found a need for it.  Probably 99.9 percent of people using Green Wax are getting what they want out of it.

Does Green Wax cost more than other waxes on the market?
It is absolutely more expensive.  The ingredients and manufacturing it in the U.S. inherently make it cost more because domestic labor costs more.  We have found a way to make less margin, but get the product out there for the good of the industry and the planet.  The wax originally cost a lot more when we first launched, but since then we have been able to partner with ingredient companies that have helped the price go down quite a bit.

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