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Skis

Fluorocarbon Wax Ban

U.S. Ski & Snowboard and the Canadian Ski Association have joined the International Ski Federation (FIS) and International Biathlon Union (IBU) in banning the use of fluorinated ski wax in competition from all disciplines in North America beginning with the upcoming 2020-21 season. 

NOTE: The FIS Council, in accordance with the recommendation of its Fluorinated Wax Ban Working Group, has approved postponing the implementation of the ban of fluorinated waxes until the start of the 2021-22 season, beginning on July 1, 2021.

In order to provide U.S. Ski & Snowboard members, coaches, and officials guidance with the policy, we are providing the following information:

Fluoro-Free Wax Products

The following is a list of U.S. Ski & Snowboard ski wax pool suppliers that provide fluorocarbon-free wax products. Click on each company name to access the manufacture's fluoro-free products. Please note: U.S. Ski & Snowboard does not approve or certify any products listed. The end-user fully bears the responsibility in using each product.

Fluorinated Substance Removal

The International Ski Federation (FIS) has provided guidance on removing fluorinated substances from tools, brushes, skis & snowboards, etc. The document can be found in the Resources Section.

U.S. Ski & Snowboard Cross Country Fluorocarbon Free Policy and Procedures - 2020-21 Season 

Fluorinated wax, and the raw perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) compounds that make up these wax products, have been scientifically studied for their negative environmental and health impacts. In the United States, many of the compounds found in fluorinated wax products contain ingredients listed in the Toxic Substances Control Act. In July 2020 the European Chemicals Agency banned the sale, manufacture, and import of all products containing PFOAs.

In order to preserve the health and safety of our environment and our community, U.S. Ski & Snowboard (all sport disciplines) will move forward with banning the use of wax products containing fluorocarbons at all non-FIS sanctioned NRL events for the 2020-21 season and beyond. For more information on the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Fluorocarbon Wax Ban and a link to fluoro-free products from a variety of manufacturers visit: https://usskiandsnowboard.org/fluorocarbon-wax-ban.

FIS Sanctioned Racing in the USA

The FIS ban on the use of fluorocarbons has been delayed until the summer of 2021.  Therefore, there can be NO fluorocarbon testing or imposed repercussions for use of fluorocarbons at FIS sanctioned events during the 2020-21 season. Events that wish to utilize a Ban on Use of Fluorocarbon Waxes for their event should remove their event from the FIS calendar and host it as a non-FIS NRL.

U.S. Ski & Snowboard strongly cautions Event Organizers against attempting to ban fluorocarbons in FIS sanctioned events because sanctions cannot be provided for an athlete that does use fluorocarbons, per FIS. By attempting to limit fluorocarbons, the Event Organizer is risking the sanctity of the event; impact the competition results, possibly selections to international trips, and potentially negatively impact the FIS point system. 

Fluorocarbon Testing at U.S. Ski & Snowboard Sanctioned Events

A designated Equipment Controller will conduct random testing for the presences of fluorinated wax products at select U.S. Ski & Snowboard competitions in the 2020-21 season. The intent of testing is to detect a level of fluorine that is consistent with the intentional use of fluorinated products, not with any residual fluorine that might remain after following the prescribed cleaning protocol or any environment background fluorine.

All competitors are required to report to Ski Control prior to their start at selected events. They will need to allow five extra minutes from their normal routine when reporting to the start to allow for the possibility of their being selected for testing. If selected for testing, they will be directed to the testing area. No skis may leave the Ski Control area after they have been checked in. Notification of the implementation of Ski Control will be given prior to the competition in due time to allow for competitors to adjust their pre-race routine.
 

U.S. Ski & Snowboard will be testing skis for the presence of fluorocarbons at certain NRL events during the 2020-21 season. Randomized testing will be conducted primarily in the start pen, and all athletes will be subject to a mandatory ski check pre-race, so please allow 5 extra minutes to get to the start line.  A wax bench will be located in the start pen and labeled “Ski Control.” Ski Control is mandatory. When a competition has been selected for fluorocarbon testing, notification will be provided at the Team Captain’s Meeting.  A public announcement sign will be posted prior to the start corral for a further reminder of Ski Control.

TEST PROTOCOL:

  1. Adhesive sampling film is placed over a 4cm section of glide zone in two separate locations.
  2. Take a second sample (B sample) following the same procedure as outlined above in step 1.
  3. Tape is placed into a sample container, sealed, and a sample control number is provided to the athlete.
  4. Ski is wiped with an uncontaminated lint-free cloth after sampling (i.e. Fiberlene)
  5. A numeric sample is sent for analysis and may take 10-14 days for the report to be finalized

SANCTIONING

  • In the case of an adverse result of the fluorocarbon test sample, the Cross Country Judicial Committee will consider all evidence, including the test result, in determining the appropriate sanction, per articles 223 and 352 of the FIS Cross Country ICR. The range of potential sanctions includes disqualification.
  • A competitor who fails to report to Ski Control will be subject to a sanction by the Competition Jury, per articles 223 and 352 of the FIS Cross Country ICR. 

APPEALS

  • Sanctions issued by the competition jury are subject to appeal to the Cross Country Judicial Committee, and from there to the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Judicial Committee, and from there to the USOPC.
  • Sanctions issued by the Cross Country Judicial Committee are subject to appeal to the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Judicial Committee, and from there to the USOPC.

Remember: Testing can indicate the degree of fluoro contamination. Our intention is to catch intentional and unethical fluorocarbon use; the goal is not to sanction individuals for traces of fluorocarbons from prior waxing, those present in the ski base, or the environment.

Removing Fluorocarbons from Ski Bases

If you will be racing in both FIS and non-FIS sanctioned events this season, please utilize this process to clean your skis between races. 

  1. Step 1 CLEANING - Clean the ski thoroughly using an appropriate FLUORO CLEANER. Once the cleaner dries, brush it well with a “dirty” (fluoro-contaminated) brush. Repeat that process a second time. Wipe all dust off the ski with a shop-towel.
  2.  Step 2 NEUTRALIZING - Wax two times with fluoro-free glide wax. Allow each application to cool thoroughly. Use “clean” (fluoro-free) tools to apply, scrape, and brush the wax. These steps can be training wax or just repetitions to effectively clean the ski.
  3. Step 3 RACE WAXING - Use whatever fluoro-free race wax you’re planning to use. Go race fast. Don’t worry.

It is advised to have dedicated clean (never seen fluoros) and dirty (used for the initial step of cleaning or for FIS events) brushes for this season.

If you follow these steps it is very unlikely that your skis will be 100% clean, and in fact, such a thing doesn’t exist. But you will NOT be bringing any unfair fluoro advantages to your fluoro-free competitions, and you will have fully complied with the spirit of the fluoro-free regulations. 

 

Resources
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Steps to clean equipment from fluorinated substances.