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Want to Avoid Waxing Your Skis? Consider DPS Phantom 2.0 If Keeping Skis 3+ Years.

marzNC

Angel Diva
#1
As I expected in July when Phantom was discussed at the end of a Blister Gear interview with Stephan Drake, Founder of DPS, Phantom 2.0 came out in time for the 2018-19 season.

July 20, 2018 - Phantom topic starts at 27:52
http://blistergearreview.com/featured/new-dps-skis-products-with-stephan-drake

Keep reading if you are a recreational or back country skier and would rather invest in a base treatment that means not spending time and money on waxing for as long as you keep a pair of skis. Can be useful for racers too but my impression is that most racers prefer to wax their own skis. Although could treat with Phantom as a foundation. Works for snowboards too.

My experience is based on treating my Head Absolut Joys in January 2018 with Phantom 1.0 (Kickstarter pledge). They skied as well at the end of the season after 14 ski days as they did on the first day. I bought Phantom 2.0 as soon as it was available and will be treating more skis in my household for this season. The main advantage is over 1.0 is the substantially shorter cure time. Same price, $99 for a pair of skis (or one snowboard).

https://www.dpsskis.com/phantom-glide
"Since launching PHANTOM via Kickstarter in late 2017, our R+D efforts have been unrelenting to further refine the technology. We set out to shorten cure times and make the application process easier and more consistent. That’s the heart of the advancement of PHANTOM 2.0: a reduction of outside cure time from six (6) hours to two (2) hours, and a formula compatible with a quick and easy indoor shop Cure Station process. As a bonus, while developing the 2.0 formula, we succeeded in making PHANTOM slightly faster than the original formula across all all snow conditions.”
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#2
For those who haven’t heard of Phantom, the marketing description is "Permanent Base Glide Treatment.” Phantom is not wax. It changes the base structure based on a well known chemical reaction that enhances hydrophobic properties. One objective was to provide a good consistent glide for the life of treated skis. For recreational skiers who buy skis that they plan to keep for 3+ years, treating with Phantom can make sense in comparison to waxing multiple times during a season. Especially true for people who are skiing a lot on manmade snow or icy northeast conditions that can require waxing after 1-2 ski days.

DPS is an innovative ski company based in Salt Lake City founded in 2005. Their specialty has been powder skis and light weight skis appropriate for back country skiing. Becoming popular for powder skiing in Japan. Less well known on the east coast. To develop Phantom, DPS partnered with a professor of material science and engineering at the Univ. of Utah.

Development of Phantom started around 2015. Took a year to come up with a formula that had enough promise. The Kickstarter campaign in Fall 2017 was wildly successful, with 2000 backers pledging almost $300,000. No surprise since DPS is very good at marketing. One reason for the Kickstarter campaign was to reach out to snowboarders who have no reason to have heard of the company.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dpsskis/phantom-permanent-base-glide-treatment-for-skis-an

https://www.rei.com/blog/snowsports/dps-shakes-up-the-ski-industry-again
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#3
Between January and March 2018 I skied my Head Absolut Joys treated with Phantom about 10 days in assorted conditions at Massanutten and in the northeast. Without Phantom, I would normally have waxed them at least twice, perhaps 3-4 times. Ideally, I was waxing when skiing manmade snow at Massanutten every 2-3 days, sometimes at home, sometimes getting a hot wax at the Mnut ski shop. Then in May, I skied them for another 2-3 days.

Normally I don't bring two pairs of ski when flying out west. But for a ski safari during late, late season conditions in May to Oregon and California (Bachelor, Mt. Hood Meadows, Squaw, Mammoth), I decided to bring the AJs because I knew the snow would be sticky at some point. Even though they were a bit narrow for the snow conditions, the AJs turned out to be far more fun because they slid much better than my all-mountain skis. Even on the first day when my Black Pearls (2011) were freshly waxed with warm temperature wax, the glide only lasted for the morning. Using a quick paste wax would last for about half a day.

My old Black Pearls are past due for a stone grind. I’ve decided to keep them as rock skis for early and late season and will treat them with Phantom. Also plan to treat my daughter’s BPs that she hasn’t really had much chance to use since I bought them a few years ago.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#4
Recently a couple of the experienced techs at Ski Essentials (Stowe, VT) had a chance to check out Phantom for themselves. They were on DPS skis that were treated the day before using the new Cure Station. Spent the day at Killington in assorted snow. Bottom line is that several techs plan to treat their personal skis.

Ski Essentials review October 2018
http://www.skiessentials.com/Chairlift-Chat/DPS-Phantom-2-Wax-System-Explanation

DPS announced that the Aspen ski shops, Four Mountain Sports, will have Phantom available. Probably means at least one shop will have the Cure Station.

Whistler will also have Phantom available.
 
#5
If you take your skis in for a tune, do you let the shop know that you have the phantom wax on them? Is it something a shop can/will remove if necessary for ptex etc?
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#6
Before I did the application process for Phantom 1.0 in Jan 2018, I watched the training video a few times. I also wrote up notes and had the video handy when I did it. The process is not particularly hard, especially for anyone who has ever waxed their own skis. But it's a different approach so a little hard to remember. The actual application of the stuff in the packets is easy but fiddling with a liquid is different. Rubber gloves are included and having the floor covered was emphasized in the instructions.

Real warmth was not suggested for Phantom 1.0, just a day of full sun. I treated my skis the day after a snowstorm in Raleigh, NC. It wasn't frigid but it was in the 30s. Since then I've heard that it's okay to have a gap between the two curing periods. I started at 8:30am in order to finish early enough in the afternoon for the second 3-hour curing period. I did the actual application inside my house.

DPS discovered pretty quickly that people who lived in the PacNW and the northeast had trouble getting a good cure for Phantom 1.0 during the winter because the sun was not strong enough. With Phantom 2.0 the temperature recommendation is over 32 degrees for the 1 hour of sunlight for DIY application. That means folks up north probably can't do the application themselves during the winter months because the sun isn’t strong enough and it’s generally too cold for optimal bonding.

Over the summer DPS created a custom Cure Station to provide the UV light required for a good cure. The Cure Stations are being distributed to dealers around the world. As shown in the Ski Essentials video, after spreading Part A and the skis are put in, just push a button and the Cure Station takes care of the rest. Then repeat for Part B. Start to finish about 90 minutes but most of that time the tech can be doing something else.

For the Cure Station, go to the 15 min mark.

A few Phantom Cure Stations are already set up in the U.S. and Canada. It’s a big red box with UV lights made specifically for curing Phantom. Shop techs won’t use the little pre-measured packets. They can get Phantom Parts A and B in bottles and measure out the needed amount for each ski or snowboard. The process for each Part includes 15 min to set before 20 min of UV in the box.

The ski shops with Cure Stations listed on the DPS website as of Nov. 1 were in the PacNW, Tahoe City, Park City, and Denver. Ski Essentials in Vermont is the first online retailer to offer Phantom treatment as part of a ski purchase but it’s wasn't on the map yet.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#7
If you take your skis in for a tune, do you let the shop know that you have the phantom wax on them? Is it something a shop can/will remove if necessary for ptex etc?
It's not wax. The base of the skis is permanently changed. That's why a stone grind only exposes a new fully treated layer. So impossible to remove and unnecessary if a ptex repair is required. A small repair doesn't really need to be treated. I suppose a shop that has a Cure Station could treat a larger section.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#9
According to the Nov. 14 Freeskier article about Aspen Four Mountain Sports and Phantom, every demo ski will be treated with Phantom for 2018-19. Not on the DPS Dealer map yet.

Ski Essentials (Pinnacle in Stowe) and Escape Route Alpine Demo Centre in Whistler have been added to the DPS Dealer map.
 

Ski Sine Fine

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#10
I bought my first pair of skis last February and don’t wax them myself. This phantom is very appealing to me. As I understand it, the bases have to be clear of wax before application. Would using a base cleaner be sufficient?
 
#11
I bought my first pair of skis last February and don’t wax them myself. This phantom is very appealing to me. As I understand it, the bases have to be clear of wax before application. Would using a base cleaner be sufficient?
What the DPS Phantom trainer said in the Ski Essentials video is that they've learned that a base cleaner can interfere with the bonding process unless it's really wiped off thoroughly. I'm pretty sure he was recommending lots of brushing to get out as much wax as possible as an alternative. Obviously for new skis, a base grind is not worth paying for.

One option in the Mid-Atlantic is to ski off as much wax as possible first if you don't have appropriate brushes. Could take as little as a couple days on snow. Then use a little base cleaner. Don't wipe down with paper towels. Use microfiber cloth.
 

Ski Sine Fine

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#12
What the DPS Phantom trainer said in the Ski Essentials video is that they've learned that a base cleaner can interfere with the bonding process unless it's really wiped off thoroughly. I'm pretty sure he was recommending lots of brushing to get out as much wax as possible as an alternative. Obviously for new skis, a base grind is not worth paying for.

One option in the Mid-Atlantic is to ski off as much wax as possible first if you don't have appropriate brushes. Could take as little as a couple days on snow. Then use a little base cleaner. Don't wipe down with paper towels. Use microfiber cloth.
Good idea. I suppose when the skis get sticky, I can take it to a shop and ask them to rotobrush the rest of the wax off?
 
#13
Good idea. I suppose when the skis get sticky, I can take it to a shop and ask them to rotobrush the rest of the wax off?
Makes sense to me.

I got lucky last winter. I wanted to do a stone grind for my AJs since I'd had them a few seasons. The little independent ski shop near Massanutten can do that service. The young man who does the tech work is the son of the owner. He'd heard about Phantom and was curious. Did a quick stone grind for free. I was doing the multi-week lesson program so was back the following weekend to give him a report.

The first two runs I did happened to be on Geronimo (short green) because I was doing a semi-private lesson with a friend that morning. We were working with the Examiner on staff, Peter. He thought there was something really wrong with my skis because he'd skied with me before. But after the second run, they were fine. Later in January when the heat spell meant temps in the 50s, it was clear I did better with Phantom than the other skiers in the lesson program who had traditional wax.
 

Ski Sine Fine

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#15
He thought there was something really wrong with my skis because he'd skied with me before. But after the second run, they were fine.
What was happening that he thought something was wrong?
Later in January when the heat spell meant temps in the 50s, it was clear I did better with Phantom than the other skiers in the lesson program who had traditional wax.
Last March was the first time ever I encountered spring slushy sticky snow. It was an experience totally unknown to me and I actually thought something went wrong with my AJs. I asked the mountain shop and they laughed and said I needed waxing . I was such a noob (still am)!
 
#16
What was happening that he thought something was wrong?
That first day was a cold day with good cold snow at Massanutten. For that matter it had snowed the day before. Not only at Mnut but also at my house in NC! But getting off the lift I could barely move. Making a turn was hard. I think my bad side was worse than usual. My forward/back stance was off because I was having to deal with skis that were sticking for no apparent reason. Essentially I looked like a beginner and he knows I'm a solid advanced skier at this point.

AJs being treated in NC - Jan 2018
DPS Phantom on AJs Jan 2018 - 1.jpg

In all the materials about Phantom, there is mention that the first few runs may be odd. Also possible to not feel the usual "fresh wax" glide in a lift line. I've never noticed a difference in a lift line since the first day. The guys from Ski Essentials didn't have issues on the lift line either. They were testing out a pair of new DPS skis that they watched being treated with the Cure Station the day before. Killington had just enough terrain open for them to go play. While they'd all heard about Phantom, no one in the shop had experienced it first hand last winter.
 
#17
@Lmk92 , @mustski : any other questions?

For me, the fact that Aspen spent last season testing Phantom 1.0 and is going to treat all of the demo skis for Four Mountain Sports with Phantom 2.0 using the Cure Station is a pretty big deal.

The other product that was invented in Europe called Juice is still around and being marketed from the UK. The retail product is a spray good for a limited number of runs. But easy to apply since no prep is required. The bulk liquid called Permanent Juice is only being sold to "rental stores and professional service centres," presumably mainly in Europe. One big difference is that the liquid Juice has a limited shelf life, around 6 months I think. Not exactly sure what the story is for Juice Infinity, which is a spray available retail. It's implied that Juice Infinity "lasts forever."

There is also a spray product being sold out of Austria by a company called Gigaglide. When I looked into that a while back, I found that the Austrian leading that company used to work with the Juice inventor. At least the Austrian was named on the Juice Kickstarter. The UK engineer who invented Juice is British but was a ski instructor in Austria. Gigaglide claims their produce was invented in Austria.

I'm going to stick with DPS when it comes to a ski base treatment based on hydrophobic properties. I think they are far more organized. Also happens that I like DPS skis, although unlikely to ever buy a pair because owning a powder ski doesn't really make sense given the number of powder days I'm likely to have as a traveler who flies for skiing out west.
 

diymom

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#18
@diymom : have you treated a pair of skis yet? Getting a little on the cold side in Boston for a good cure.
I did treat my Thrilluvits when I got them, after watching the weather reports for a few days. I set my skis across the corner railing of my back deck, where they were in full sun for most of the day. I had no problems my first day out on them, but I can’t really say much more yet since I didn’t get those skis out much last year. I would certainly consider treating another pair, especially if I could find s deal on the 2.0
 
#19
Besides Whistler, a few more ski shops in Canada were mentioned as getting the Cure Station soon in this late Oct 2018 interview by Tom Wolfe, a professional mountain and ski guide. Jason Billings is a DPS distribution in Canmore, Alberta. A little funny that Wolfe still thinks of the product as "wax."

https://sawback.com/articles/phantom-dps/

Q – There are reportedly shops with UV treatment lamps that substitute for the sun’s UV. Where are these available?
A (Jason) – “Shops that will be getting rapid cure stations in the next month are Monod Sports, Valhalla Pure Revelstoke and MEC Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. Escape Route in Whistler currently has one.”

Q – What do you recommend if I need to do serious repairs to my bases using P-tex candles or glue-on base material?
A (Jason) – “As for repairs, the Phantom is permanently saturated and cured through the entire thickness of the base. A base grind just exposes more Phantom. If you did a base repair (ptex or patch) that spot would not have Phantom. I think you would have to have had many repairs, or a really big repair (ie. base patch) before you would actually notice a glide difference, but technically you could re treat the repaired area with Phantom.”


Q – What’s your personal experience with Phantom been like?
A (Jason): “I ski toured around 15 days on Phantom last winter. A mix of snow types, from cold powder, to moist spring snow. The skis glided equally well on the last day as the first day after the application – the same as my skis have felt in the past after a fresh “all temperature” wax (I typically use red Swix or KUU wax).”


". . .
Conclusions

I really enjoy skiing on freshly waxed skis, but during a busy winter of ski guiding I just don’t hit the wax room twice a week to give my skis a proper tune-up — more like twice a month. A lot of the time, especially when dovetailing back to back guiding weeks, my bases are a sad shade of grey. Phantom doesn’t promise to be a substitute for regular, professional tuning with traditional wax. It promises to do better than what I do now, and I don’t think I’m alone — most of us would rather be hanging out around the dining table with a glass of wine in the evenings instead of hovering over a smoking iron!

So I ordered a package and received it in the mail last week. Immediately I was struck by how small the packages of wax were — I’m not sure what I was expecting, after all it’s a single application!
. . ."
 
#20
Skied at Killington yesterday with the Phantom 1.0 Absolut Joys. The very slight stickiness on the first moves to the first chair went away by the time I made the first turns.

For those who know Killington . . . I took the Snowdon triple and the easiest route down for the first run. Coverage was good with manmade on top of a solid base from recent snow and snowmaking.

The rest of the day the AJs were pretty much as I would expect if I had waxed them at home before the trip. I skied blues and blacks, groomed and ungroomed. By the afternoon there were more slick spots. Just as much fun if the snow was skied out natural snow (trails with no snowmaking, thin cover warning signs) or not.

I've used the AJs for three full seasons (bought new Summer 2015). Intend to keep them for MidA and northeast skiing. At some point, I'll get a stone grind to take out the little imperfections from using them as "rock skis" during early and late season. But it's certainly nice on trips not to have to think about getting them waxed in some way. Meaning either doing a wax in a hotel room or paying for a hot wax.
 

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