This article first appeared in print in the December 2018 issue of Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine.
It’s a cool autumn day and sun glints off a freshly washed Honda motocross bike. We roll the bike deep into the garage, past cartons of snowboard wax, to its resting place for the winter. I remind Kaz to stuff a rag in the exhaust pipe — as the mad scientist behind Board Butter Glide Wax his mind has likely drifted to the complex chemistry of ski and snowboard wax, or to the new challenges of international distribution that he‘ll soon be tackling. Or has it?
“Ahh, I’m so stoked for this winter, gonna be so good!” remarks Kaz with a smile and a glance out towards to the fresh snow on Mount Macpherson.
Our conversation naturally drifts toward winter forecasts, dreams of deep pow slashes, and other clichéd conversations that still bring a gleam to our eyes. Kaz loves snowboarding as much as anyone and if you’ve seen a bright orange flash in the glades disappear into a cloud of coldsmoke, you’ve probably seen him. Or if you’ve seen a stylish skier speeding down a CAT track on just one plank at a time, you’ve probably seen one of the wax testing methods that Kaz employs to make Board Butter the best wax on earth.
Born Kazuhito Hayashi, Kaz grew up near Nagano, Japan and ski raced throughout his childhood. Years later he landed a dream job with Honda designing motorcycles, including the top end CRF450R now tucked away in the garage. But eventually the demands of work pushed Kaz to take life in a new direction, and he soon landed in the deep snow and tranquil summers of our sleepy Canadian mountain town. With his basic understanding of wax chemistry, experience in product and visual design, a solid crew of supporters, and a name from Mike at The Taco Club, Board Butter Glide Wax was born.
Board Butter is unlike any other wax. Most waxes contain synthetic ingredients like perflourochemicals, which give the wax low friction coefficients, but which also end up in our snow, our water, and our food chain. Board Butter, on the other hand, is 100% biodegradable, mixed with locally sourced paraffin and other waxes, and every bit as fast as toxic flouro wax. It’s a coveted enough secret that Kaz will soon be providing the base compound — but not the formula — to a partner in Sweden who will then blend it with their own locally-sourced paraffin. This business model reduces shipping costs and CO2 emission, supports local manufacturing, and helps make our natural world just a little cleaner. With a little luck, Kaz hopes this will help the business grow into a worldwide clan of like-minded people.
“One day I realized, I don’t just have a company, I have company. I have friends. And these amazing people from all over the world who reach out to Board Butter are my passion and motivation,” explains Kaz, whose motto is ‘more friends on powder days’.
The garage door slams shut and I can see in Kaz’s forlorn smile that he’ll miss riding the motocross bike that he poured so much of himself into. That’s alright — with another snowy winter on the way, the future is looking good.
For more, find Board Butter Glide Wax at boardbutterglidewax.com.