University of Utah materials science and engineering assistant professor (lecturer) Jeff Bates has created a new ski wax that not only has caught the eye of recreationists but also of Popular Science magazine.

The well-known science and technology magazine just named Bates’ Phantom ski wax for its 31st annual Best of What’s New award in the recreation category. The magazine listed the 100 greatest technological innovations for the year in categories including aerospace, gadgets, cars and security devices.

The Phantom wax, developed by Bates last year for Salt Lake City-based ski company, DPS Skis, involves a special formulation of polymers that can be applied to skis only once, eliminating the need for additional applications like regular ski wax.

“I was very shocked and honored to see that one of my inventions made it into the Best of 2018 on Popular Science,” Bates said. “I am excited to see that Phantom is doing so well, and I can’t wait to see what happens with it in the future.”

The average skier typically applies ski wax, which is used on the base of skis to help reduce the friction with snow, at least a couple of times during a season. But Bates’ formula binds to the base and doesn’t require additional applications for life.

The idea came from Stephan Drake, founder and president of DPS Skis, who then turned to Bates for help.

Bates’ special polymer isn’t applied like regular wax that uses a hot iron and emits harmful vapors. Instead, the Phantom wax is poured on and spread with a special squeegee. The wax performs as well, and in some cases better, than regular wax depending on the temperature. And it is more environmentally friendly since the material doesn’t wear down with friction like traditional waxes that leave harmful particles in the snow.

The $99 application is now on the market after first being introduced as a Kickstarter project the end of last year. A 2.0 version is currently being sold, and Bates said he is working on a 3.0 version.