Molybdenum disulfide is an additive that can be mixed with ski wax to repel dirt and keep your skis clean and running fast. This is accomplished by the dry shearing property of molybdenum and can reduce friction (increase glide!) in the absence of moisture. To truly understand the benefit of molybdenum disulfide in ski wax, one must first understand the interaction between skis and snow that allows skis to glide.
When you ski, you are gliding on a thin layer of water. Your skis create water through friction when they make contact with the snow. Ski wax modifies this interaction by changing the way skis create and manage moisture. If your skis produce too much water and don’t manage the moisture enough, there will leave no room for air, and will create a vacuum between your skis and the snow (hint: this is why ski shops can charge so much for their fancy grinds). If your skis do not produce any moisture, your skis will not glide.
Most people do not take dirt into consideration as much as they should when skiing despite it having a huge impact on performance. With our understanding of how skis glide on snow, we can begin to understand how harmful dirt can be. Since you cannot produce water from dirt, you will not gain any glide. Further, if any dirt sticks to your ski base, it will prevent the smooth flow of water from tip to tail. This is bad friction and will make your buddies beat you on every downhill. It is worth mentioning that glide zone cleaners have become increasingly popular over the past few years and should be used before waxing and after skiing.
Molybdenum disulfide can create glide without water and will help keep your skis protected from dirt. This is accomplished because molybdenum disulfide has a lamellar structure, which is a fancy way of saying it is comprised of several layers. The classic example is to take a deck of cards and press down on them from the top. You will notice the cards do not move, but when you push the deck from the side, the cards shift apart. This is how a solid lubricant such as molybdenum disulfide works as it is comprised of several layers that are loosely held to each other. When your skis contact dirt, the molybdenum disulfide will shear apart at its layers and allow you to glide away unscathed.
How to tell if a wax has molybdenum: Start waxes that contain molybdenum disulfide will almost always say it right on the front of the packaging. Except for magic green (m10), blue, purple, which are special hydrocarbon molybdenum disulfide blends made for the North American market. Our new waxes this season that contain molybdenum are RG Race Molybdenum, RG Race Liquid Molybdenum, HFXT Molybdenum Purple, HFXT Molybdenum Green, and an extension of the magic series into warmer temperatures. Most brands have their own molybdenum waxes, and these are often referred to as black waxes. Be sure that you are not picking up a graphite wax as it serves a different purpose (click here to read about graphite). It is worth noting that molybdenum also can be found in several of our kick waxes and serves the purpose of repelling dirt.
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