aledonian Road in north London is hundreds of miles away from any ski resorts, but it’s home to a business aiming to make snow sports more ecologically friendly.
Nix (the Latin word for snow) was founded in 2013 by James Mechie (main picture). From a former Victorian bus factory on a cobbled mews, he builds bespoke skis using sustainably sourced materials and an environmentally conscious manufacturing process.
Each pair of skis is made-to-order, so Nix only uses the materials it needs, translating into a significant reduction in waste. “Most ski manufacturers build their entire winter season stock in advance,” says Mechie. “What is not sold, often ends up in landfill.”
Ecological to the core
Nix takes a sustainable approach to ski manufacturing. To make the ski core, it mostly uses bamboo, a natural and ecologically friendly material. Compared to most hardwood alternatives, bamboo grows more quickly without the need for fertilisers, pesticides or much water. It also generates more oxygen and helps to prevent soil erosion, so is vastly more sustainable.
The core is reinforced with fibres from flax – more sustainable than fibreglass, it consumes less energy in production and is also biodegradable.
All the materials that go into Nix skis are fused together using a plant-based resin, instead of traditional epoxies – chemical compounds that release hazardous air pollutants when produced that harm human health and the environment.
And the natural resin offers higher resistance to high UV light as well as the low temperatures typically encountered in the mountains, making the skis more durable. “This means they’ll last for many seasons to come,” says Mechie.
A sustainable business model
Longer-lasting products mean there’s less waste and less pollution – all contributing to a healthier environment. And when customers do eventually want to upgrade their skis, Nix offers to break them down so the sustainable components can be recycled, rather than adding to landfill. Alternatively, Mechie refurbishes the skis for new owners, further extending the product life.
Mechie is proud to be part of a new eco-conscious winter sports community and says consumers value the company’s eco-credentials, which he highlights via social media. “We try to use trending sustainability hashtags in our posts,” he says, citing #protectourwinters, a movement that aims to turn outdoor enthusiasts into climate advocates.
He adds: “The past year has been tricky because the travel restrictions made it harder for people to get to the slopes, but we have seen steady growth since I started the company and sustainability is a big part of that.”
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