Chris Artemis doesn't look like a mystery man. In fact, he doesn't even look like he would be interested in a ski race; he seems the type to be leaning over a chess board.

But Artemis has used his knowledge of chemistry, in which he has a degree, to invent a ski wax that is ready to take on the big boys; Swix and Toko. If you race, and have not yet heard of Saucer Wax, don't worry---you will.

"A ski patroller buddy of mine asked me to come up with a wax that runs well. And I did my paper on the coefficient of friction, and the elements that you use to fight friction are the same regardless of the type of industry it's being used in. So I started researching for something to go fast and last a long time," Artemis, of Golden, Colorado, says.

He began tinkering around in his basement with materials like graphite, molybdenum (a transition metal that does not react with water), fluorocarbon and paraffin. At first, it was just an interesting experiment. But his friend, who is a recreational ski racer, found that the waxes Artemis mixed together were running as fast as the expensive fluoro waxes that can cost over $150 an ounce. He started the Saucer Wax company to begin selling his fast-running wax to racers, who spend hundreds of dollars each season for race waxes for every snow condition and temperature.

"If you are paying a lot for wax, you are paying mostly for the research and development, though some ingredients can be very expensive. There are different grades of fluorocarbon, but the top quality is very expensive. Sometimes, though, you pay more for it than what you get," he says.

Saucer is made from the highest quality paraffin available, and the race waxes use the top grade of fluoro from DuPoint. But there are other ingredients Artemis puts into his waxes, secret things he won't reveal to anyone. He says his stuff is "the most advanced iron-on wax system available, and is engineered to adapt to changing snow conditions, including when cold mornings turn to warm afternoons." It also lasts longer than most ordinary ski and snowboard waxes.

Artemis is bringing out a new line of wax for racers next season called "White Noise," again, with secret additives. At the recent NASTAR Nationals, he gave away six of the round bars of the new high-fluoro stuff for racers to test. "All of them did really well," he said. One competitor who is also a Masters racer said, "It made me about 10 percent faster; I noticed I was two seconds faster on a 20 second course, and beat someone I've never beaten before." In the highest level platinum class at the NASTAR event, many racers were sniffing around for some Saucer stuff; they had heard it was the "secret wax" that was improving results for people who were suddenly winning medals.

Artemis says, "I'm still not a big company. I still have to keep another job. But we have doubled in size since last year. Racers are starting to seek it out, I've gotten phone calls from complete strangers."

He adds that now is a great time to buy race wax, no matter what the brand. Most shops discount ski and snowboard waxes by 30-70 percent in spring so they don't have to hold it over the summer. Though race waxes may fade in color over time, they don't lose any of their speed properties. A discounted fluoro wax will be just as fast next season as it would be when new.

Artemis says that Saucer is having a summer "pre-season" sale of its regular and new race waxes on its web site, "You will see a list of all our waxes, along with the sale prices. But order before September, because after September, the prices will go up," he says.

courtesy of