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the delights of skinning

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

i just got myself a set of dukes, im not planning on any serious long tours just enough to get away from the crowd and find some nice fresh, clearly i'll be needing some skins to help me along the way, so whats the low down on them?

all advice apreciated

post #2 of 6

Black Diamond blems at GearX. Ascentions have more grip than mohair. Either should do for your sidecountry stuff. Buy as wide or a little wider that the waist of your ski. Have fun and be safe.

post #3 of 6

I think the OP is in Europe smile.gif

post #4 of 6
In the states Black Diamond nylon STS skins are kind of a gold standard for reliability and ease of use, but G3 makes some nice ones too. There are some other proprietary brands like K2, Dynafit, and Volkl that are probably okay, I just am not familiar with them. If you're a Euro you might come across Pomoca and Colltex.

Mohair vs. Nylon material: mohair skins are lighter, more flexible (for packing) and have better glide, but absorb water a little easier than nylon and cost more. Nylon grips better (which may not matter if you don't skin up steep pitches), repels moisture better, is stiffer (an advantage when dealing with them in high winds), heavier, and cheaper. Pick according to your needs.

I like tail hooks as a backup in case the glue fails, but they aren't strictly necessary if you aren't pushing hard or far.

I like to buy skins that are close to the width of the tails of my skis. This generally requires that you trim them (which can be tricky, but there are instructions or you can have a shop do it), but you will get coverage over all the important parts of the ski for the best traction. You can get by with narrower ones, but really, wider is better when you're on the trail. Pre-trimmed skins are available, but cost more and don't always cover the bases as well.
post #5 of 6
Concur with Bob Lee on most counts. I've tested nearly every brand of climbing skin. They are all pretty good and the major distinguishing factors tend to be the glue and the glide. They all have pretty good grip, some better than others but even in the grip department with a little bit of technique there is very little discernable difference in grip. The differences in glide are fairly subtle too - except if you're racing (rando racing that is), or using fat skis. In that case, mohair skins tend to glide better than synthetics (nylon), but some of the new synthetics are pretty slick (BD Ascension, BCA Magic Carpet, and G3 Alpinist).

Why does glide matter? On a long climb with fat skins glide will save you enough energy for another climb and another run of untracked snow.

Regarding glue. Nearly all glues are great out of the box. The key is, how well do they age? And a key part of the aging depends on how well they are cared for. The best glue I've experienced to date is on Gecko skins. Very easy to manage, but I've heard of batch problems with the glue. Be aware nearly every manufacturer occasionally has problems with batches of glue and you won't know until the glue fails you. If it fails within a week of use (7 days use) within a month of buying, then you have a valid warranty issue and most manufacturers will replace your skins, no questions asked. After a month of time it is possible poor handling may be to blame. The number one fatal mistake I see people make is to let their skins get too warm (above 70 degrees F). They should be fine up to 80 degrees, but why take chances. Store your skins cold (< 50 deg. F), especially over the summer.

It also pays to have a good tip and tail kit.

Lots more skin info at EarnYourTurns under the Climbing Skin archive.
post #6 of 6
G3 alpinist skins are great, the unique tip and tail clips allow them to work extremely well on pretty much any ski.
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