From the seas to the skis…
Many industries are on the lookout for newer, more sustainable materials to use for their products – including recreational gear like skis…
And while people often don’t think about skis as impactful, the petroleum used to make skis can be harmful to the environment. So, this company found a way to make them more eco-friendly with the help of algae…
But why algae?
Based out of Salt Lake City, Utah, the WNDR Alpine ski company has adopted renewable microalgae as the core material for their high-performance skis to replace the petroleum ingredient.
Algae is useful because it can grow quickly, doesn’t need a lot of resources, and can even grow in waters that are not usable for traditional agriculture. So not only can it produce oils that can be used to build things like skis, but it can also flourish while cleaning pollution in the water.
The purpose-grown algae create an oil that can then be used to create a strong but lightweight core that decreases the need for petroleum-based carbon in skis.
Here’s how it works:
The skis are created in the U.S., and it takes about nine days to harvest enough microalgae to produce the necessary amount of oil.
After the oil is ready, it’s combined with locally sourced aspen, which increases performance qualities like durability and stability.
But WNDR doesn’t just use algae to create a sustainable core of the skis – it’s also used for the sidewalls of the skis (instead of plastic).
A slippery slope to an eco-friendly future…
Luckily, most of the skis that WNDR is producing are now available for purchase, and the company will continue to focus on creating high-quality performance gear that is also sustainable.
Many companies have been looking to algae and seaweed as alternative materials to create sustainable products that can be recycled or are biodegradable.
The only reason these solutions aren’t more widespread is the cost – it’s not easy to incorporate these materials into the manufacturing process. But regardless of these current hurdles, it looks like the push for natural products is only getting stronger.