"It's a heavy duty," Gardner said. "But the result of skiing on a ski with fluorocarbon is unbelievable."
Mixing ski wax is as much an art as a science, Gardner said. Swix's online technical manual is 72 pages long, while the company offers 47 how-to videos for different wax and ski combinations.
In countries where cross-country skiing is a national sport (think Norway, Sweden, Germany, Russia), ski wax technicians pull up in customized semi-truck trailers to prepare hundreds of skis, each with a different wax combinations. The U.S. team, however, is working out of a smaller van and tent.
"What it comes down to is the resources," Jarrett said. "Not to buy the waxes, but to have large numbers of people testing. The more people you have, the more combinations of wax you can test."
Rival nations keep their ski wax recipes secret, blacking out windows of vehicles or buildings where they prepare skis.
"I know how to wax, but it's gotten to be technological warfare," said Billy Demong, a U.S. skier in the Nordic Combined event, which mixes ski jumping and cross-country skiing. Demong says he relies on his ski technicians to make the right call.