International Ski Federation bans fluorinated ski waxes |

International Ski Federation bans fluorinated ski waxes

Adrien Theaux of France tucks during downhill training for the Xfinity Birds of Prey Audi FIS Ski World Cup Wednesday in Beaver Creek.
Chris Dillmann /

VAIL — In November, officials at the International Ski Federation’s autumn meeting in Germany voted to ban fluorinated ski waxes for the 2020-21 season, citing negative environmental and health impacts.

“The use of fluorinated ski waxes, which have been shown to have negative environmental and health impact were banned for all FIS disciplines from the 2020–21 season,” reads a news release. “A specialist FIS Working Group led by FIS Experts Atle Skarrdal (Alpine Skiing) and Pierre Mignerey (Cross-Country) including the ski and wax industry will be formed to establish regulations and control procedures.”

In 2016, the Norwegian Federation implemented a similar ban for all U16 racers to act as a test case for the FIS, the governing body for professional ski racing.

Wax is an integral part of the sport, helping racers glide with extra speed on race days. Recently, more environmentally friendly ski waxes have come onto the market, including in Colorado. “Sensitivity to the environment is fortunately at the front of people’s minds,” founder and CEO of eco-friendly MountainFlow Wax Peter Arlein said in a September interview. “When you think about the different types of waxes and some of the chemicals found in waxes and how they go onto the snow and then percolate down to the ground and into our groundwater systems — it’s a real concern both for wild habitat and human water supplies.”

Racers have a year to test before the new rules go into effect.

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