DPS’s Phantom Glide treatment has been receiving a lot of attention, and for good reason. If it performs as advertised, this single-application alternative to standard base wax could revolutionize the way people slide on snow. (We covered the introduction of Phantom in this article and on this blister podcast).
If you haven’t already, you should definitely check out our conversation with DPS founder, Stephan Drake, and the lead chemist behind Phantom, Jeff Bates. Stephan and Jeff go over the development of Phantom and the details of how it works:
And we are now putting time on several skis and boards that have been treated with Phantom, and will be posting updates here as we continue to get more time on the product.
Blister reviewer Paul Forward now has over 6 days on the DPS Alchemist Wailer 106 that has been treated with Phantom, so he is the first to offer his initial impressions.
Shortly after I received and mounted the Phantom-treated DPS Alchemist Wailer 106, Southcentral Alaska experienced a relatively cold spell with temperatures in the single digits (Fahrenheit). During this period, I spent several days skiing cold, chalky snow on the Wailer 106, mostly on relatively smooth, grippy groomers.
In the cold snow, the Phantom treatment seemed to perform well, and the glide across flatter sections was at least as good as other skis that I’d recently waxed with standard blue Swix CH6X wax (which has a temperature recommendation of -14°F to 23°F). When we got a few inches of cold / light snow, the Wailer 106 continued to glide well without any hint of extra drag from the new cold crystals.
Recently, things got a bit warmer with temperatures in the high 20’s to low 30’s, and we received 10-12” of high moisture-content snow. After canceling our day of heli-skiing due to the ongoing storm, I headed up to the hill for some inbounds maritime pow skiing. The first thing I noticed when I got off the tram and clicked into the bindings was that the skis felt a little sluggish as I was pushing away from the tram deck. Once I started heading downhill, however, that sensation immediately disappeared and I skied down to the next chair with great glide and overall performance.
Throughout the day, the base treatment worked great, and the only time I had any other thoughts about it was while doing a beacon drill during which I took off my skis for about 30 minutes. When I picked up the skis from the snow to click in again, I was a little surprised to see that quite a bit of snow was sticking to the bases. I opted to just toss them down, click in, and ski away, and this was all it took to get back to excellent gliding.
While having some wet snow stick to my skis while stationary was a little surprising, it is something we were told to expect by the folks at DPS. Specifically, I was told that Phantom “behaves differently than wax, since…it isn’t wax. At very slow speeds (like a lift line) you will NOT feel the slippery, freshly waxed feel. But as soon as the initial friction between the base and snow is overcome you’ll have great glide.”
I would say that this description exactly reflects my experience so far.
After only a few days, I’m definitely not ready to fully endorse all of DPS’ claims about Phantom, but so far, things seem to be working as advertised. We will be getting some other reviewers on skis and boards that have been treated with Phantom, and will be providing updates on how Phantom deals with different types of climbing-skins glue, how it performs in different temperatures, and do some A/B comparisons with traditionally waxed skis. So keep an eye out for updates, but so far, so good.