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Life After the Deep Freeze

By Dan Balkin, HoliMont Snowsports School

It has to end sooner or later. This winter reminded me of the old joke about my hometown of Buffalo:  “Buffalo only experiences two seasons, winter and the Fourth of July.” We can all agree that it was really cold, but eventually the mercury in the thermometer will rise, the sun will shine and the snow will be gloriously soft.  When that happens, I know of a product that will enhance your ski day.

Let me say as a disclaimer that if I recommend a product – I am paying for it. I believe that it would cross an ethical boundary if I recommended a product if I was being sponsored. That said, I am recommending this product because I have used it for a number of years and I really believe it will put a smile on your face while spring skiing.

The product is known as Zardoz – NOTwax. It is essentially a liquid wax made out of Teflon. My chemistry credentials are thin to non-existent, so I won’t try to explain why it works. But it does work – and it is really great for spring skiing. I buy the product in a round container called the NOTwax Pocket Puck.  As the name implies, the container is the same shape as a hockey puck. When you unscrew the “puck,” there is a small plastic bottle of liquid Teflon and an applicator to buff it into your ski bases.  You can apply the liquid Teflon to your ski bases in about 30 seconds – no muss, no fuss, no bother.

If you are a die-hard who skis until the lifts shut down for the season, this product is indispensable. On those days when your skis start to feel the soggy pull of wet snow, Zardoz – NOTwax really helps your skis keep gliding smoothly. I have found it very effective even if temperatures are in the Fahrenheit range of the 50s and even low 60s. If you get on their Web site, you can get more information.  In my humble opinion, you don’t need any of the base cleaning products they sell.  One of the beauties of NOTwax is that it can be applied to a ski base that is waxed or unwaxed – so to me it is simply a waste of time to do any prep work to your base before applying NOTwax.

The NOTwax Pocket Puck retails for about $15 and can be found in a number of local ski shops. The manufacturer claims that you can get 15 applications out of a single Pocket Puck – but I believe you can get more. In the spring, I regularly apply NOTwax to my skis and my family’s skis, and one Pocket Puck lasts a long time. After experimenting, I think the product works best when you simply put a few drops on each ski base and then buff it in. That way, a lot of the product is not absorbed into the applicator.  That said, the manufacturer also claims that you only have to use the product once a day, but when the snow is sticky it really works better with an early morning and an after lunch application.

To be honest, I don’t use this product in the dead of winter unless I am on a ski trip. I am old school about waxing, and I typically hot wax my skis every other ski day. But on warmer spring days, in my opinion, this product is superior to ski wax. Late in the season, I might be found in front of the chalet with a refreshment in my hand, but because of NOTwax, you won’t catch me there until a hard working liftie chants the two words that always sadden me: “last run.” Fortunately,  there is also a two-word antidote for this momentary depression.  I don’t know who came up with the phrase “apres ski,” but they were really onto something.

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