Getting in at least 40 resort days every season, and having to tune and wax my skis more than I enjoy, I was intrigued when I heard about DPS’ Phantom Glide. The first thing that I learned was that it’s not actually wax!
What is Phantom?
It’s a waxless glide treatment for your skis or board. You can use it on any ski or snowboard and it even works with a backcountry setup and skins.
How often do you have to apply Phantom?
Once! Unless you destroy your bases and need a large area repaired and therefore lose the Phantom in that spot, you only need to apply it once during the life of the skis or board. Since Phantom penetrates the entire depth of your base, you can still stone grind and won’t lose any of the Phantom effectiveness.
Who applies Phantom?
Your local shop! They apply it and have a curing station with a UV light to set it.
Is Phantom better than wax?
Well, that depends! What do you need it for? If you want a low-maintenance situation, aren’t trying to win races and normally ski in Tahoe, it could be superior. If you only ski or ride on below zero or mashed potato days, you may not like it as much. More on that below.
Is Phantom eco-friendly?
DPS says that cured Phantom is inert and harmless to humans, plants and animals.
How I put Phantom to the test
I have about 5 groomer days on my Phantom-treated skis and tested them in everything from below zero temps to 40+ degree days.
My first day out, it was on the cold side for California, between 20-30 degrees. I immediately forgot I was even looking for some kind of difference in the skis, so I’d call that a complete success for Phantom.
The next few times, it was a lot warmer, with daytime highs in the 40s and melting and softening snow in the afternoon. This is where I noticed a difference.
I should point out that the difference comes in when comparing Phantom treated skis to just-out-from-under-the-wax-iron skis.
When just starting out or in some kind of stop-and-go situation, like the chairlift line, there is a little bit of stickiness in just getting going. That stickiness disappears as soon as you’re on your way.
If I were to compare Phantom-treated skis to the barely-maintained state of many of our skis and boards up here in Tahoe, I’d say Phantom is a big improvement.
Instead of that fear of ‘the suction’ deceleration when the snow changes partway down a run, I could confidently glide all the way down. This was a good trade-off for me and I was sold.
However, if you ski anywhere other than Tahoe, the decision might not be so easy.
Next, I skied at Keystone, in Colorado, on a frigid day. It was somewhere between 0 and -5 degrees and the temperature remained fairly consistent throughout the day. For the first couple of hours my skis were so sticky that I couldn’t do anything that looked like skating when I was trying to get around.
It was more like a glorified and unbalanced duck walk navigating around the mountain. My new ski buddy probably questioned my skills based on that performance!
Starting out was similarly sticky to what I experienced in Tahoe in the warmer conditions, maybe worse.
I was also slower than normal all around that morning. Later in the afternoon, although the temperature didn’t seem to change much (maybe a couple of degrees?) everything seemed back to normal. I could skate and was speedier on the flats.
The only difference between my slow morning and fast afternoon was that the sun was mostly out in the afternoon. I am guessing the snow texture change is what changed how the Phantom performed.
Phantom in the powder?
Since we haven’t had a powder day in weeks, I am not sure how they would perform in the powder.
- No fuss, no maintenance, smooth skiing in most Tahoe groomed conditions
- Much better than your typical not-well-maintained Tahoe ski
- More environmentally-friendly than most waxes
- Sometimes sticky when just starting out in warmer temps
- Ultra-slow and sticky in temps around and below zero
- Maybe a little slower than having the proper color wax on and being freshly waxed
- The price might not be worth it if your skis or board are already a few years old and you don’t have many planned days left on them.
My Phantom recommendation
Go for it if you plan on keeping your skis/board for a while and you mainly ride in Tahoe or somewhere with similar weather and conditions.
Phantom Cost and Deals
- $50 OFF of Phantom when you buy a full ski package – boots, bindings, and skis
- Application Only (for those who already have Phantom product): $50
- Phantom + Application: $150
- Phantom + Application + Base and Edge Grind: $250
Ready to never wax again? Head to Tahoe Mountain Sports and get the Phantom Glide treatment!
Former park ranger turned writer/marketer. Always down for a sufferfest, as long as it ends with ice cream. Favorite activities include backcountry skiing, trail running, and backpacking.