Gecko Climbing Skins Review Update


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

Update, April 8 2012: Lisa and I are both using Gecko skins here in Europe, and we have quite a few use cycles on both pair by now (Lisa easily over 40 days). Both pairs of skins are leaving unacceptable residue on our ski bases every time we remove them, and mine or showing large patches of missing adhesive. Trying to review these things continues to be difficult. They solve one problem (durability), then another problem crops up. Now that we’re seeing this happening, we are withdrawing our recommendation for Gecko climbing skins until further notice. Our advice is to shop for and use conventional skins such as the Black Diamond, G3, Pomoca, Coltex and Dynafit brands. This is very disappointing, but reality. Lou

Original review: User friendly climbing skins? That’s like claiming a tire rotation system for your truck you can do in your kitchen. Yeah, we’ve all gotten used to climbing skin glue that was probably invented during WWII to secure uniform badges. We’ve made the stuff work, though doing so has engendered phrases such as “climbing skin hygiene.”

I mean, hygiene? I have enough trouble remembering to brush my teeth twice a day, let alone handling climbing skins with heart surgeon techniques.

Gecko climbing skins review abuse.

Gecko climbing skins review abuse, they held up fine. I tore into the things like a mountain lion dining on mice. For comparison, I also ripped apart a pair of old nylon skins I had laying around. Gecko and nylon were of similar strength. In the field, I skied them over some rocks just to make sure. They came through with no more damage than any other quality skin I've used (though we of course don't recommend skinning on rocks.)

Gecko skins use a different kind of adhesive, a sticky silicone formulation that adheres to smooth non-porous surfaces such as ski bases. Yet it’s not “sticky” in the conventional sense. For example, you can use Geckos as a head turban if needed,and they’ll part from your hair with hardly pulling apart one small bit of your coiffure. Or, let the wind blow them to your fleece jacket — no stickum. You could even let your dog sleep on them, adhesive side up, and they’d still work.

Perhaps best, Gecko skins come apart easily after storage, and come off your skis much easier than some of the positively molecular glues on some climbing skins these days (little concern if you’re a sasquatch, but smaller guys and gals may have a struggle with conventional glue.)

Washing Gecko skins.

In my opinion, the coolest thing about Gecko skins is how easily and completely you can remove contamination. I ground this skin down on my garage floor till the stickum had absolutely positively no stick. Like dropping your conventional skin in a pile of stove ashes. You could perhaps clean some of such contamination from a conventional skin by washing it, but the Gecko comes out from a wash amazingly clean. In fact, by light scrubbing with soap and a brush, I removed 100 percent of the garage floor junk and took the skin back to perfect condition. Really something to behold if you've ever had to deal with something like a dog sleeping on your regular glue skins.

Brief history: A few years ago, the Gecko developer, a ski tourer, noticed that the sticky cell phone tray on his car dashboard. In an aha moment, he thought, “I wonder how that stuff would work on climbing skins?” Development ensued. The adhesive appeared to work, but a few years of hit and miss with their skin textiles put a damper on what was otherwise a viable alternative to conventional stickum.

We’ll, I’m here to tell you that any concerns about Gecko skin durability should be put aside. The test skins I have here have no raveling on the edges after trimming, and plush that’s holding up as well as any other mohair skin I’ve used (though we do need to realize that no mohair, which is goat hair, will last like synthetic). Thing is, because of its glide, mohair is the latest greatest thing in skin technology, even though it’s been around for at least 40 years. With today’s wider planks, one simply doesn’t need to haul rugs on his feet with the glide of steel wool. When it comes to glide, mohair rules.

(Caveat: Most mohair skins are built to optimize glide; don’t expect them to provide the climbing traction of nylon. If you like super steep skin tracks, mohair of any brand is not your best choice unless you have world-class skinning technique and strong arms.)

So, with durability questions out of the way, how do these things work? The adhesive is virtually unchanged from several years ago, when I tested a pair of Gecko with about 30 days of backcountry skiing in Europe and Colorado. Following is from previous review, edited: Gecko adhesive is viable alternative to conventional skins, but follow directions to the letter.

Gecko skin review for backcountry skiing.

During testing of Gecko skins, I deliberately coated them with snow by kicking them around, then belted the snow off. They cleaned up and stuck to my skis, but what seemed to happen is if fairly cold the snow cleaned off well, but if temperatures were around freezing and any water was present, it was harder to get the skins to stick. Fairly similar to what happens with conventional skin glue, but a bit different. In terms of which type of glue performs better during snow or water contamination, in my opinion it's a wash, you just have to get to know the subtleties. Again, perhaps the most important thing is that overall the Gecko is not going to stick as clingy as a well performing glue skin, meaning they're easier to handle but conversely might be more sensitive to compromised adhesion.

So, to emphasize: While snow is easy to clean off Geckos, these skins are conversely more sensitive to any snow that remains between skin and ski (one small patch of snow keeps expanding as it picks up snow from the trail, and eventually fails the whole skin, probably because they don’t stick as firmly as a conventional glue skin).

Moisture on the adhesive surface of the Gecko skin also compromises adhesion, as it does with conventional skin glue. Thus, you still have to practice a modicum of care if you’re doing multiple laps and thus changing out your skins in the field.

Though some folks are running Gecko skins without tail fix, we strongly recommend you use a tip and tail fix that lightly tensions the skin. Also, when trimming, be sure the skin is centered on the ski, so later you won’t inadvertently tension the skin to the side while applying to your ski base (this true of skin with any type of glue).

For single laps or fitness uphilling, Gecko type adhesive should be anyone’s top choice. It’s that nice and I have no hesitation giving the stuff my highest recommendation for that type of use. Indeed, I’d predict that within a few years nearly anyone doing fitness uphilling or fairly simple backcountry days will be yearning for a pair of skins with Gecko adhesive — or already have a pair.

If you’re a core backcountry skier Gecko will work for you as well, but be willing to learn the pros and cons, as they do behave differently than conventional glue skins. Mainly, once Geckos have a complete adhesive failure they can be difficult to revitalize, especially in full conditions. Hence, again, use tip/tail fix and know your tricks for attaching skins with failed adhesive. Carrying a an extra set of skins, as many core backcountry skiers do, is something to consider as well (again, something to consider no matter what type of adhesive you use.)

Previous Gecko Review.

Comments

75 Responses to “Gecko Climbing Skins Review Update”

  1. Chris Cline November 21st, 2011 11:43 am

    Thanks for the info– will the company be making nylon skins with the gekko adhesive? Your caveat gets to the heart of the reason that I ask my question. It should be amended to “…If you like super steep skin tracks,…” *or want to ascend up the skin tracks commonly being set in the Wasatch*…
    I am a total fan of mohair because of the glide–you can even get a pretty respectable kick-n-glide going on lower-angled sections of trail, which is hugely energy conserving as well as fun. But I’ve had to give up on Mohair in the Wasatch because even though I’ve got damn good technique, I need the upper body strength of a mountain goat if there’s even a bit of glaze on the trails :)

  2. Lou November 21st, 2011 12:28 pm

    A Gecko representative will probably chime in here eventually. Myself, I’ll let them speak to that… But I’d IMAGINE they’re working diligently to offer a nylon version. Lou

  3. Mark November 21st, 2011 1:05 pm

    Thanks Lou – they certainly sound more durable, however only suitable for quick run up the piste or a well skied in track from the sound of it – any terrain where snow may get on the adhesive surface of the skin is likely to lead to adhesion failure – deep, new snow or even spindrift perhaps.

    To emphasize that spare skins need to be carried (and expected to be used) is no recommendation at all for long days out or multi-day trips. I’d much prefer to carry skins that i don’t expect to fail and carry a single spare in case of loss or irreparable damage.

  4. Joe November 21st, 2011 1:08 pm

    Hey Lou – Thanks for getting this up. Very helpful.

    The one thing I noticed on their site is price. At over 200 beans folks are gonna think hard about whether the non glue option is where they wanna go. http://geckoclimbingskins.com/Gecko-Store.html

    That said, ditching hair farms, er, conventional skins I mean is attractive.

    Joe

  5. Andy November 21st, 2011 1:18 pm

    Lou, I have a vaguely-related question about skins.:

    I made the early-season rookie mistake of going skiing without scraping my summer wax off the skis first. I now have skins that are coated with wax. I’m a little nervous about using an iron to get it of because I don’t want to mess up the glue or the iron. I scraped aggressively with a metal scraper, but there’s still a fair bit of wax left. Any advice? Thanks!

  6. Lou November 21st, 2011 1:21 pm

    Joe, especially for the one-lap crowd or fitness uphillers, take my word for it, the user friendliness of the things is VERY attractive and may easily be worth the money.

  7. Lou November 21st, 2011 1:40 pm

    Andy, the only way I know of to fix that is to have the skins re-glued or do it yourself. Anyone know of a way to get embedded alpine wax off a skin? Sometimes glue skins will keep working after quite a bit of contamination, but it’s all a matter of degree and need for stickiness.

    As a last resort, perhaps you can figure out a temperature of hot water that melts the wax but leaves the skin glue intact. Just heat up a bucket of water to that temp, immerse the skins, let the wax float up to the surface and pour it off. Might work great and worth at least a bit of testing…

  8. Crested Butte Mountain Guides November 21st, 2011 3:10 pm

    Lou,

    Great review…we’re pretty psyched to be using and testing the Gecko Skins at Crested Butte Mountain Guides this season. If anyone is around the Gunnison Valley, we will be the retail supply outlet for Gecko Skins this winter, and hope to have a few pairs around the shop for ‘demo’ purposes as well…

    - Jayson @ Crested Butte Mountain Guides

  9. Janne November 21st, 2011 5:29 pm

    Great skins! No problems, just rub the water out against the skis and brush away snow with a gloved hand. So easy to pull apart and stick inside the jacket. I’ve yet to try them in really cold weather but regular skins are pretty difficult in -30C anyway.

  10. Yorick November 21st, 2011 6:11 pm

    I tink website say lightweight…any stat or observe re weight.

  11. Pablo November 22nd, 2011 6:18 am

    Hi Lou!, great review thanks for it! (again and again)
    As you can imagine, snow here in Spain is not so fresh and dry as that you have there (Damn!) So we have to get our skis well waxed for wet snow most of the time if we wanna have fun.
    This makes a lot of adhesion mistakes with our tipical glue skins.

    Do You know if Geko skins do manage better with extra waxed ski bases?

  12. doug November 22nd, 2011 12:24 pm

    Similar question to Pablos — I wonder as well what effect the Gecko has (or doesn’t) on the skis wax. I notice it especially on some wide powder skis – I put glide wax on nearly every time I head out — mostly because it feels like each time I put skins on/off the glue ‘sucks’ just a bit of wax off the bases each time. After a long day out – the skis no longer slide as easily. Is there any indication that Gecko ‘adhesive’ pulls less wax off the bases than traditional ‘glue’ skins? Thanks much.

  13. Mark W November 22nd, 2011 12:30 pm

    Hoping to trim the shop demo pair today. Plush looks really nice. I’ll use G3 tool with vise grip. Works amazingly well. I’ll give review soon.

  14. Lou November 22nd, 2011 1:03 pm

    Mark, really looking forward to your take. Lou

  15. Lou November 22nd, 2011 1:10 pm

    I would guess the Geckos do pull less wax off the ski, but I have no hard testing or data on that. Now that you guys bring it up, I’ll pay attention. One thing for sure, you know how older glue skins sometimes leave little dots of glue on the ski? No way a Gecko is going to do that, so that’s a clear plus. Lou

  16. Ian Lamphere November 22nd, 2011 5:42 pm

    Nice review, Lou! Thanks for the insight!

    Andy: you might as well use complete re-gluing protocol and with a hot iron, melt and draw the wax (and debris, and some glue) into a fabric (or, and I suggest this hesitantly, newspaper – or if you want to be fancy, BD’s “transfer sheets” here http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en-us/shop/ski/skins/glue-renew-transfer ($40) Then re-glue them, I guess ($15), or go Gecko and don’t worry about glue ever again!

    We’ll follow up with the nylon and /or mix Gecko developments.

  17. Steve November 23rd, 2011 1:47 am

    I used Gecko’s on my BD Justice’s all last year and they were great. They have definitely worked out the “durability” issues of the earlier models and they look like they will last at least another season of heavy use for me. I never experienced this “complete adhesive failure”. Even when they got snowy or wet, I just rubbed the moisture off and they worked fine. And to answer Doug’s question…I have not had any issues with the Gecko’s pulling off wax. After getting used to wax and the occasional p-tex come out of my ski, the Gecko’s seem to release just fine and leave the important bits on the base where they belong.

  18. Bar Barrique November 23rd, 2011 7:59 pm

    Regarding the BD skin glue “transfer sheets” ; I wouldn’t recommend them. This glue is so sticky, that you may not be able to pull the skins apart while touring, and, it gets worse as the temperature drops. If you do use this stuff, we have found that it is best to use the mesh storage sheets that come with some skins (BD, G3) while touring.

  19. Sven Brunso November 23rd, 2011 8:14 pm

    Lou-I have been using Gecko skins almost non-stop for the last month. I have skinned everything from cold smoke to man-made at the resort. The skins have performed exceptionally well in all conditions. The glide is much better than other skins I have used in past seasons, but they are also climbing very well. I am a fan of euro-style low angle skin tracks, but I have follwed some near vertical path’s tis month and not had any moon-walking experiences.

    The adhesive can only be compared to a sticky note. Sticks well enough to serve the purpose but comes of with little to no effort. I have spent many long days on these skins and haven’t had any issues with snow build up on the skin or between the ski and skin. I agree that the tail clip helps tension the skin and reduce the chance of snow building up between the ski and skin. I have purposely laid skin tracks in gullies with wet south facing snow on one wall and cold snow on the other. Haven’t had a single issue with snow adhering to the skins. These gullies have proven very problematic in the past with competitors products.

    In my book they climb as well or better than anything I have ever used. The adhesive is better than anything I have seen and the low weight is just an added bonus in my book. I would be very confident to take this as my only skin on any BC mission, anytime. I rarely have spare room in my pack for a back up pair of skins so I need a skin that works and the last month has given me great confidence in GECKO skins. I have put GECKO skins through the paces and they have delivered the goods.

  20. Lou November 23rd, 2011 10:12 pm

    Sven, really appreciate you sharing your take. Everyone, take note.

  21. Pablo November 24th, 2011 2:14 am

    I love to hear such great comments about Geckos.
    But anyone had tried the Colltex CT40?? It looks to be very similar to Geckos.

  22. Michael November 25th, 2011 8:02 pm

    Would you experienced folks recommend using Geckos on the 112 Wailer given their maximum width is 130 and the ski width dimensions are 141/112/128? Or should I stick with a glue skin such as G3 or BD that is 140 width and would then cover the entire width of the ski?
    Thanks.

  23. Tom Wolfe November 25th, 2011 11:04 pm

    Pablo — CT40 is nothing like the Gecko material.

    The Gecko adhesive, compared with CT40, seems a bit bulkier and heavier and it really does, at first glance, seem like it will work.

    CT40 on the other hand is barely noticeable — when I first saw it I thought they’d forgotten to put the adhesive on the back of the skin. It feels dry to the touch and has virtually no tack (compared with the Gecko, which does have some tack to it, though nothing of course like traditional skin glue). However, once you press the CT40 onto the ski base, it sticks very well. I haven’t used them a ton — but I used them guiding an 8-day ski traverse of the Northern Selkirks in Canada last spring (a tent-based trip in all snow and weather conditions with a heavy pack) and a few other smaller trips and they have been totally solid.

    The Mohair on the CT40 skins is great too — like any other Mohair skin I guess, it’s light and it glides well in a wide range of snow and conditions. I like the tip and tail attachments as well. I’ll report back after this next season if I have any complaints.

  24. d November 26th, 2011 2:20 am

    I have noticed that the Gecko silicon ‘adhesive’ is quite easy to remove from the skin backing – or at least damage – using a finger nail, a little like peeling a thin veneer of silicon from a window pane. Obviously this is only in very small quantities, however over 100 days of use if you lose enough of the adhesive, is there an option to re-apply more silicon? Or would most people just buy new skins at that stage?

  25. Matt November 26th, 2011 2:08 pm

    We also have some Gecko skins here at Sawatch Backcountry in Leadville! Pretty excited to try a pair for myself.

  26. Andy November 28th, 2011 11:28 am

    Thanks all for your recommendations! I installed STS tail clips (a workable solution) and have been experimenting with various water temps for melting off wax but not glue. I’ll post another update with that magic number if/when I figure it out.

    Also, those Geckos are looking better and better!

  27. Mike November 28th, 2011 11:34 am

    Andy — I’ve made that same mistake before. I got some brown paper bags, cut them into strips, put them over the skins, and then used an iron to heat the wax and transfer it to the paper bag. It’s not 100% perfect, but definitely did the job. I think you’ll ultimately need to reglue the skins, but that might help

  28. Tall Hall November 28th, 2011 4:26 pm

    Any clear photos of tip/tail assembly?

  29. Cameron Millard December 12th, 2011 8:15 pm

    I just tore a six-inch gash in my new Gecko’s while playing in our thin Colorado snowpack. Although I sewed them back together, I anticipate having problems with snow build up. It also seemed like the sticky material delaminated a bunch around the tear, as well as in a few other random spots. I’m not sure if I’ll get another pair, although I do like them. I suppose any other skin put to that kind of abuse would have ripped as well. What are your thoughts, Lou?

  30. Tom Wolfe December 12th, 2011 8:34 pm

    I’ve torn a small gash in G3 skins, which are super tough, but that was while gliding fairly quickly downhill and I hit a sharp rock pretty hard. Were you gliding downhill when it happened or just walking?

  31. Cameron Millard December 13th, 2011 12:36 pm

    Going downhill in faceted snow, so I did hit them with pretty good force. I think the durability isn’t the problem, but it is interesting to see the glue-like material start to delaminate around the tear, as well as in a few other spots.

  32. Lou December 13th, 2011 1:13 pm

    Cam, sure, you can tear any skin and my testing of the Gecko indicated it is virtually as strong or even stronger than other brands and models. They can make skins that would never tear, but they’d weigh as much as your skis, or could be made with Dyneema and cost as much as your skis.

    Sorry to hear you wrecked your skins. Not a bad idea to have a set of “rock skins” for early season during years like this.

    Lou

  33. Lou December 13th, 2011 1:15 pm

    If I have time today, I’m cutting another set of Gecko and using their stock tip/tail fix. When I do that I’ll post some photos. Don’t they have some photos of it over on their website?

  34. Mark W December 13th, 2011 1:38 pm

    Two of us in my shop have now tested the Geckos. We both agree that the glide is noticeably better than 100% nylon (or perhaps even the 70/30 mohair to nylon ratio), but grip on steeper climbs is noticeably less than 100% nylon skins. Tail fix works pretty well, but I’d lose the clunky rivets in favor of something trimmer.

  35. Lou December 13th, 2011 2:04 pm

    A full rat tail wrapping up over the tail of the ski is always best (grin). Installing the rivets now.

  36. Dirk December 19th, 2011 3:46 pm

    I used the Gecko skins last season after a recommendation from an old american Ski bum in St. Anton Austria. To begin with I was super happy with the. They climbed well, were easy to handle and seemed durable.

    After ther first couple of trips the problems started. The rivets that hold the tip loop ripped through the skins. First one then two. I got that fixed and continued using the skins. After a few more trips the skins lost their “Gecko” qualities at those parts that got a littel bit dirty. I tried cleaning those parts, but they would just not stick anymore.

    The shop where the old american Ski bum worked was super nice and replaced my skins without asking questions and sent me some Colltex CT40 which so far (only 6 trips) are working perfectly.

    I do like the idea of the Gecko skins but it seems that there is some room for improvement left.

    Has anyone else experience similar problems with the Gecko skins or did I just get a bad pair?

  37. John Gloor January 29th, 2012 9:49 pm

    I just cut a pair of 120mm geckos to my new skis. I have not used them yet, but so far I am not impressed with the tail connector. I want something which levers over the tail and does not change its length all the time. I am going to install a BD stretchy type

  38. stephen March 2nd, 2012 8:22 am

    Does anyone know if more Gecko “glue” can obtained and appled to these? Or how well they stick in very wet conditions? Thanks. :)

  39. Lou March 2nd, 2012 8:54 am

    I’d agree that the Gecko stock tail attach is a few years out of date, but is easily swapped to something more modern. We cut Lisa’s as a Rat Tail, sewed the Gecko webbing on to the tail, then put our usual loop of bungie cord on them. Somewhat customized to say the least (grin). I tried making a full Rat Tail by just using the skin material and wrapping a narrow strip of the skin up over the ski tail, but it wasn’t strong enough to hold up to abuse, hence the webbing. The tip loops seem to be fine, but I was careful to rivet them just right. They could easily be upgraded to the Black Diamond type, which are super nice. In fact, I’d pretty much recommend doing that… come to think of it. Stephen, I’ve not heard of the Gecko glue being available in a can or tube… In my testing, when the ski and skin were wet they worked about the same as any other glue, that is, not that great. But they were easy to squeegee the moisture off of by using the edges of a ski. Main thing, as with any skin, is to have a bomber tip/tail attach system for when conditions are not ideal. If you have that, all you need is a couple of accessory straps for the middle of the skins an and they’ll usually stay on good enough to get you home.

  40. stephen March 2nd, 2012 9:40 am

    So if the glue isn’t available, what is its life expectancy and what does one do if/when it needs replacing???

    I’m curious as I’m about to buy some new skis nd will need skins to go with them. It sounds as if the Gecko skins might have many of the advantages of Clipskins, without being such a pain to set up, but if they have a short use-by date my enthusiasm will be somewhat reduced.

  41. SKI-R March 2nd, 2012 11:17 am

    Gecko’s for ~3 weeks use now.

    Turfed the stock tip loops and the tails right off the bat. Used the BD fixed tip loops and no tails at all (same as I’ve run my skins for years) – no issues with adhesion in generally moderate temps thus far (-2C to -22C), in the Canadian Rockies and North Columbias (including on some typically vertical Roger’s Pass uptracks).

    So far no glue loss issues that I can discern, better glide than nylon, lighter weight – although I would suggest from my limited use that they are slightly more prone to damage (edge frays) than the BDs I typically use.

  42. Lou April 7th, 2012 11:23 pm

    Gecko climbing skins, we have to withdraw any recommendation we implied in the review above. Both our pairs of skins here in Europe are leaving icky residue on our ski bases, and mine are showing large patches of missing adhesive. I’ll attempt to handle this while I’m here by visiting the Gecko folks, but we’re not on an industry visit trip (we’re here to ski and write about it) so I’m not sure we can make that happen. Meanwhile, I updated review above and recommend any of the usual skin brands. For example, we tested Black Diamonds new adhesive and nylon plush quite a bit this winter, and it seems very nice. Lou

  43. Dirk April 8th, 2012 3:01 am

    Hi Lou,

    I was kind of waiting for you to withdraw that recommendation. I bought a pair of Gekko skins a couple years ago as I thought the idea was ingenious. Unfortunately, after a few trips they started to fall apart. The adhesive was coming off in patches, the front attachment broke on both skins and the edges began fringing.

    Gekko skins are a great idea, but the end product just does not work. When reading in austrian, german and swiss forums, it seems that many have had the same issues.
    My dealer kindly switched them for some Colltex CT40 free of charge and so far they worked as they are supposed to.

  44. Lou April 8th, 2012 6:53 am

    Hi Dirk, the issues have been separate, so once they got the durability problems worked out, I was basing my opinion on the previous experience I’d had with the adhesive, which worked fine through many days of use. But this recent experience for Lisa and I has been very disappointing. The worst part is we were getting such good results with the Geckos that we committed to them for this Europe trip, and now it looks like we may end the trip with our skins strapped to our skis with duct tape. We’ll try to stop by and see those guys when we visit Innsbruck in a week or so. If I pull that off, I’ll report back here. My suspicion is they WILL get the bugs worked out of these things, but man, I wish they’d get off this consumer testing kick, it’s making bad karma. Lou

  45. stephen April 8th, 2012 8:10 pm

    Pity this didn’t get posted a week ago before I ordered a set based on the +ve feedback here. [sigh]

    Did the problems arise suddenly, or have the skins been getting slowly worse???

  46. Dave April 8th, 2012 8:32 pm

    I purchased a pair of Gecko skins after seeing them at the OR show this past January. I used them for a couple solo days and then for a three day hut trip in the Wallowas without any issues. In fact, i was singing the praises of the Geckos to all my friends. However, i recently spent a week at the Sorcerer lodge in BC and ran into MAJOR issues with the residue being left on my ski bases. For whatever reason, by the end of day 1 at Sorcerer my skis were not gliding well when skiing down. By day two it was so bad that i was “pirouette-ing” on nearly every turn. My first assumption was that i had the wrong wax so I heated up a pan on the stove and rewaxed my skis that evening. Unfortunately, the issue did not disappear. Next up on my “process of elimination” was the skins (remember, i hadn’t had issues with them so they weren’t likely the cause in my mind). I stripped the wax and all residue on the base using a copper dish brush and rewaxed the skis. Luckily, one of my hut mates works for BD and had an extra pair of nylon ascension skins. The next day I used these traditional skins and had no issues on the way down. My only conclusion from this was that the Gecko’s were leaving residue on my bases that greatly inhibited the ability of the ski the glide downhill properly. Personally, i can’t trust the Geckos going forward. It made skiing bottomless pow a struggle. Nonetheless, i sincerely hope they are able to work out the kinks. Lots of potential with this product…..

  47. John Gloor April 8th, 2012 8:33 pm

    Apparently this was not the season to be an early adaptor of new products, not that that is ever a great idea. I bought Gecko skins and Dynafit Radicals for a powder touring setup. This season the new skis did not see any use other than a resort test skin, so everything works fine, for now

  48. stephen April 8th, 2012 9:15 pm

    Yes, but the Gecko skins had been around for a few years and my impression was that the current iteration had had the previous problems ironed out, so I thought being an early adopter wasn’t an issue at all. I’ve got a few months before our winter to decide what to do with them (eBay?), but unfortunately sending them back isn’t a viable option.

    The Radicals are starting to become the default Dynafit bindings; I’ve noticed some shops aren’t offering the Verticals any more apart from perhaps the RV12 FT version, not at all suitable for my weight.

    Maybe I should, as you say, stick to uphill skiing and save myself some trouble!

  49. Lou April 8th, 2012 10:26 pm

    Yeah, the Geckos were working perfectly for quite a few days, so no reason for us to downgrade them. But, then the adhesives seemed to self destruct. The bummer for us (actually, quite a bummer) is we’re leaving on a 5 day hut trip and they’re the only skins we have. I’ve got about 1/2 hour to try and cook up a solution for something to carry that we can use to clean our skis off, perhaps a thinner soaked rag in a double plastic bag, or something equally as heinous. Huge bummer.

    BTW, everyone, Lisa and I will be a bit out of pocket during the next few days so if you don’t see many blog comments from us, that’s why. Joe, our Production Assistant, will be keeping an eye on things.

    If we don’t return, it’ll be because the Gecko residue on our skis stuck us to the side of the mountain permanently (grin).

    Lou

  50. stephen April 8th, 2012 11:59 pm

    ^ You should be okay then as long as you and Lisa can get the skins off your skis…

    The bottom line here seems to be that traditional skins, with all their shortcomings and annoyances, are still probably the best option since the problems with them are both gradual and fixable, not sudden and hard to do anything about. I’d really hoped that there was a better solution, especially for the wet snow common here but so far I’m not seeing one – other than waxless skis or booting up. [sigh] Back to the drawing board.

    Maybe I can use the Gecko skins for catching insects…

  51. Dan April 9th, 2012 8:13 am

    Nobody ever said that product testing was easy! Many thanks to you and Lisa, Lou, for testing the waters and keeping us informed. It may be that traditional skins are the way to go for the forseeable future, but “hope springs eternal” anyway.

    I think the Europe trip reports are great and appreciate the effort/self-discipline it takes to put a TR together after a day of skiing, esp. when on “vacances”.

  52. Ian Lamphere April 10th, 2012 10:36 am

    Hi, All:

    The manufacturer is calling this a batch issue as the skins from last year seem to be fine, and there has been minimal occurrences in Europe (1 out of 1,000), while the bad silicone batch appears on this year’s skins over here is affecting – so far – 2 out of 5 pair, but we can’t really tell which widths/lengths if any, are specifically affected as MP Sports doesn’t use UPC codes (yet). If anyone has them, we have a full warranty on them, remember, so, so swap them out if any silicone begins to “roll” off or otherwise peel. We have replacements in this week, that should cover all warranties this spring, so please swap them out for new ones if yours are affected. In the meantime, we are told, the silicone has been “hardened”, and the tip and tail kits reconfigured. There was no “consumer testing”, btw; we brought test batches into N.America in 2010 and legitimate guides, athletes and industry folk alike (Steve Banks, Jeremy Jones, Matt Herriger, Sam Von Trapp, Dean Decas, myself, etc., etc, etc..) tested/used them with no problems whatsoever the entire season and following summer before beginning distribution in 2011 with no problems, so it is especially disappointing for us, having launched a new winter product in the worst winter ever, only to have warranty issues! Alas it is not the end of the world; my Avalung pack was recalled, and thought that was dire, but that got sorted. Ah bien, the bumps aren’t in the path; they are the path.

    ian

  53. SkiPow April 10th, 2012 4:29 pm

    Just want to add my praise for Gecko, I’ve been using them all season (N.A and Europe), in all sorts of conditions. And while I experienced a bad batch skin, Ian already has told me a replacement is heading my way. These are still great skins and way better than my old BD Ascensions. Props to Gecko for getting on top of this.

  54. See April 10th, 2012 9:47 pm

    Emboldened by skin glue and snow machine sticker reviews, I think I’ll go out on a limb and share a couple of thoughts that are not exactly on topic:

    First, my experience in sunny California has been that skin glue tends to fail, not by loosing stickiness, but by becoming a gooey mess that sticks to ski bases after a while. I have observed this in different brands, and wonder if temperature and/or type of wax used for our prevailing conditions has anything to do with this, and what (if anything) can be done to prevent or forestall this problem.

    Also, I often find myself skiing out through areas with a lot of shrubs and bushes. The skis I use most in the backcountry are Dynafits with the skin attachment fitting on the tip. I have removed these and eliminated the notch in the tip with an epoxy/carbon bumper. I just don’t feel comfortable skiing through all those little branches with a fitting designed to lock onto something of a similar shape and size.

    Although I’ve never skied there, I can well believe that “zere ees no word for boosh-wack een French!”

  55. stephen April 11th, 2012 3:56 am

    Ian, thanks very much for posting – I am much happier now. I guess it remains to be seen if Murphy’s Law applies and I will need to send the skins back to Europe, but at least if it’s a known issue with a solution I can relax a bit. :-)

  56. Ian Lamphere April 13th, 2012 12:15 pm

    No worries, Stephen:

    Just remember, send them back to us (in CO), not Europe! And thanks for sticking with us! One note: distributors like us across the board order an extra 10 – 20% for warranty issues; if you think that BD, G3 and other companies don’t have warranty issues than, you’re mistaken. For example, in the slalom ski category for an extreme example, ski distributors pad their orders by up to 40% for warranties! Year after year, with no end in sight.

    Rest assured, we’ll take care of everyone. And, being a two person family business in Crested Butte, we actually REALLY care, about your experiences and feedback. Our only focus (and products) are for ski touring, so you can bet your ass we’ll take care of it! And you can call and talk to me about it, without holding for a 5 minute customer satisfaction survey. ;)

    Ian

  57. stephen April 13th, 2012 5:51 pm

    Thanks Ian, but I’m in Australia and my skins came from Europe not you guys so that’s where they’ll have to be sent back if Murphy wills it.

    While you’re there, can I ask for everyone here at WildSnow whether there is some way to renew the glue on the Gecko skis, given this will presumably wear out at some point, even when not defective?

    Once again, thanks for your input.

  58. Barry April 19th, 2012 10:11 am

    I just got back from Europe where both myself and my son used Gecko’s on the Haute Route. For both gliding and climbing they worked great and the ease of use and light weight were wonderful. However…. if there was any snow on the silicon base of the skins they did not adhere well and just got worse. Never had a skin come off and after a few hundred meters they began to bond to the base just fine. The tail attachment is terrible however. Despite adjusting tension over and over they still lost tension or popped/slipped of the tail of the ski. Very annoying when kick turning up steep pitches! I did notice some residue left on the bases and the silicon material seems like it can be easily damaged but overall no real problem. Maybe after more usage it will become an issue.

    I did hear at the SIA show they are changing the connectors- so hopefully they will warranty my 2 pair.

  59. alpine world ascents May 8th, 2012 7:40 am

    Read through the string of comments…. I bought 2 pairs of Geckos mid March directly from the US rep. I used one pair locally in Colorado and Rogers Pass in Canada (total of ~14 days), the other pair in Europe (Austria, Norway). Since the tail clip is so bad, I affixed a BD tail. other than my bad craftmanship on one pair, the one I actually affixed in a decent way started to stretch around the screws but remained workable. While out of the box they were awesome, the problems I soon encountered with the Geckos mirror everyone’s comments on here. I eventually switched back to my BD mohairs (which by the way are still my favorites, together with Colltex). As a full-time professional ski & mountain guide I was excited about Gecko’s concept as the superior alternative to glue – however, Gecko skins clearly are still in the development phase and have a lot of issues to work out. Until then, my recommendation is to stay away from them!

  60. J October 2nd, 2012 8:00 pm

    My G3s suffered catastrophic moisture failure more, my Orange(?) skins and purple Ascent. skins are too huge for my fats but the glue works great. Like my Gecko’s fine with hardly any extra care…around here, I usually get 1st tracks and ‘get’ to break trail…angle no problem.

  61. Philip.AK October 12th, 2012 6:12 pm

    I have a pair of last season’s red ‘race’ Geckos for my splitboard. I love the way they work and had lots of warm spring days on them. The adhesive started to leave a gooey, slimy residue on my bases after a few weeks of use. Base cleaner eventually got it off my boards, but it was tenacious stuff. The adhesive has not come off the skins themselves so far in any patchy way though, and I still like the way the skins work (base adhesion, ease of handling, traction, glide, etc). If the ‘glue’ gets softer and slimes my bases more in the future, I may reasses, but for now I still prefer the Geckos to conventional glue skins.

    You can rejuvenate old glue on conventional skins in a number of ways (reapply, or heat through parchment paper and so forth). I wonder what you can do to perk up old and tired Geckos after a season or two, or are the supposed to be eternal in their function?

  62. Pierre November 3rd, 2012 1:31 pm

    Hi Lou, just wanted to thank you for this very useful info. (and all others that responded and added in more of their experiences). I was mesmerized by the Gecko specs but also a bit skeptical as in “if it sounds too good…” And as always when in doubt I come to Wildsnow and you always have the goods so yet again:

    THANKS A TON!

  63. Lou Dawson November 21st, 2012 9:41 am

    Folks, please don’t leave notes implying that people shop for deals on Gecko skins. As far as we know, all Gecko skins in retail channels may be defective. If we hear otherwise and can test them yet again, we’ll update this blog post.

  64. Ian February 27th, 2013 7:36 am

    I have been using Gecko skins this entire season on skis and a splitboard. I have had mixed experiences with the skins. When they work, they work well. If it is > 20 degrees F, it is true that you can brush off any snow that gets on the adhesive (despite the claim to be “glue-less,” there is adhesive). If it is colder than 20 degrees F, it is nearly impossible to clean off any frosty residue without damaging the VERY fragile adhesive. The fragility of the adhesive is the deal breaker for me. If your skin peels on the side or the adhesive is touched by anything sharper than a silk scarf, the adhesive will be removed/damaged from that area. I have had two pairs of skins now become nearly unusable from this. I tried repairing them with BD gold label only to find that it will not adhere to the base. As far as I know (please please correct me if I am wrong) there is no ability to reapply the adhesive as there is with just about every other skin out there. A ~$200 pair of skins that cannot be repaired??? This seems unacceptable, and is the reason I will be sticking with BD, Coltex, Pomoca, G3, CS Direct, etc from now on. I would NOT recommend buying Geckos unless you are satisfied with being able to use the skins for about 1/2 season before you can pretty much throw them away (and the ~$200 you spent on them). I appreciate any comments/feedback from anyone who has been using the skins this season (12/13).

  65. Lou Dawson February 27th, 2013 7:43 am

    Hi Ian, we are hoping to some day here positive reports about this technology. But so far, no joy and we continue our non-recommendation. Thanks for confirmation. Lou

  66. Dave March 4th, 2013 8:41 pm

    I am having the same problem with my Gecko skins…black globs of adhesive on the ski bases that is hard to scrape off, unreliable adhesion to skis after a few on-off cycles, and trouble with the tail hook setup.

    Is it possible to completely remove the Gecko (Gunko) adhesive and apply a standard skin glue? the fuzzy side of the skins is great and I hate to toss them! thanks for any help.

  67. Lou Dawson March 5th, 2013 6:03 am

    Dave, I doubt you can change to standard adhesive. Lou

  68. Tom Wolfe March 5th, 2013 5:39 pm

    Scrape off the old adhesive as best you can (i.e. with one of those paint removing scrapers), apply a thin layer of Gold Label, let it dry, and repeat two more times. You can do the same thing with CT40 skins. They’ll be fine. No need to toss them so readily :)

    I just remembered I promised an update to my experiences with Colltex CT40. My experience has been mixed. I like the CT40 (especially the Mohair) but I don’t entirely trust it. It does wear out fairly quickly (about 20 days of use), quite a bit quicker than normal glue, and needs refreshing — which I have to say is a fraction of the hassle with a very friendly paint on liquid, so maybe it all balances out.

    I’m still on the fence between Colltex’s Extreme (normal glue) and the CT40. I got a new pair of Extreme skins this season and the glue is wearing out now after about 50 days of heavy use which I guess isn’t bad. They’re a pain, like most sticky glue skins, to pull apart, but I feel like it’s easier to predict when they’re wearing out. I have a few pairs of the CT40+ (apparently the plus is important — new glue) that I’m going to try next, possibly they will be better.

    Tom

  69. Ian March 6th, 2013 3:08 pm

    Tom- Have you had success at applying Gold Label to Gecko Skin backing (or have heard of someone who has)? I tried to repair my skins with Gold Label, but could not get it to stick. It would just peel off. If there is a trick that you or someone knows of, please let me know. Thanks.

    Ian

  70. Ronny Broen April 3rd, 2013 10:40 pm

    Tried out 2 pairs of Gecko’s this winter, touring in BC, and both have had the same evolution.
    Starting to leave residue on the base after about 5 days of use.
    After 10-12 days of use they leave a substantial amount, and some patches coming of.
    I found that gliding/rubbing the skis on the snow for a minute or two, removed most of the residue, enough to be able to ski down without problems, apart from a slightly reduced glide, as long as the snow was dry.
    With the present spring snow conditions, its impossible to glide it of, the residue is just smeared in to the base, totally hopeless.

    Tom, any news on how the CT40+ is working out?

    Ronny

  71. Bar Barrique April 5th, 2013 9:18 pm

    I like Colltex skins, but I don’t think that the CT 40 glue is comparable to the Gecko’s.
    CT 40 skins must be reattached to a storage mesh whenever you take them off the skis, and, I have read that they can be difficult to get apart if the glued surfaces make contact with each other.
    I don’t think that this CT 40 glue has any real advantage over “regular” skin glue.

  72. Herb Jones April 6th, 2013 2:37 pm

    As a long (4 year) user of Geckos I, too, was disappointed with the glue problems on the latest model with the goofy red plastic slippery tip and tail clips. I still have the first set I bought with the fuzzy white backer that likes to fray. They are still in use and probably have 80-100 days on them and yes the glue is not the best any more. But, the glide is way better than the new Geckos, the simple metal tail clip and velcro tip loop attachments have never failed and the fuzz does not affect climbing or glide. The mohair quality is much better than the new version. The earlier skins were sold full length so fewer issues with snow under the tail end. I went to the trouble of modifying my new skins by replicating the old velcro tip loop and of course included a “runaway strap” for the loop which was sorely lacking in the originals (a short length of 1.5mm cordelette threaded through a hole poked through the skin) . This allows for a tip release and relatively easy peel off without removing skis.
    On the snow covered glue non-adhesion problem? Just turn the skins inside out, yes glue side out, fold in half and wrap around your inner layer I used my midweight patagonia zip tee, and cover up for a few minutes. The glue will not stick to clothing and comes out lint free and warmed up and ready to stick to your skis. I did this on a cold day when a gust coated my skins with powder dust. Try that with regular glue, you’d better not be wearing anything fuzzy. I have not had to use this technique with my new skins which have some minor glue failure/peeling in a 4-5mm strip along one edge but I often stuff skin in my jacket when doing laps or in a hurry and have seen no glue on any clothing. I will probably try to return the skins at end of season and hope the mods aren’t a problem.
    Suffice it to say that I am a big fan of Geckos and hope that they work out their problems. Anyone know where I can pick up a set of the original Geckos in a 180-190 full width length??

  73. Herb Jones April 7th, 2013 8:18 am

    Sorry, I did not specify the width I am looking for in the original Geckos. It is 140 or 130mm x 190 and 180. Also, if it was not clear, the cordelette is “permanently ” tied through the tip loop and skin so you can’t lose it in two feet of powder like I did. Fortunately, I was packing a spare. How many ideas are born from the motivation of feeling stupid??

  74. Larry December 24th, 2013 12:39 am

    Has there been any reformulation of the adhesive for Gecko skins this winter? Seems like a great idea. Hopefully they can work out the bugs.
    How about the Kastle ATtack skin (which looks like a similar concept) any word on them this season?

  75. Ugo February 9th, 2014 8:01 am

    Hi Lou,

    Anything to report on the new Coltex skins from the ISPO?

    http://kundalini.ch/colltex-whizzz/

    Many thanks.

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