Contour Hybrid Climbing Skins — Review


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | January 13, 2015      

Yep, could this be the year of the climbing skins? After a visit to Contour Skins here in Austria, I’m thinking that’s so. Everywhere I turn I’m seeing innovation, and that’s especially true of Contour.

Since the Contour Hybrid glue doesn't stick to itself very strongly, it works well for a basic split skin, which with 'normal' skin glue would tend to become a huge mess.

Since the Contour Hybrid glue doesn’t stick to itself very strongly, it works well for a basic split skin with no center section, which with ‘normal’ skin glue would tend to become a huge mess. Conventional one-piece skins are available as well, of course, but the split skin illustrates how versatile this product is. Because these split skins have no center section, they can work for a variety of ski widths. It’s a cool concept that’s been tried before, only in this case enabled by better glue.

These guys (Koch Alpin is the parent company of Contour) have been around the block — they’ve been making and distributing ski touring climbing skins for 40 years. Starting out as partners with well known climbing skin brand Coltex, they actually shared the Coltex brand and manufactured Coltex skins for Austria and Germany. A few years ago they parted with Coltex and began only making skins under their own Contour brand using the same production methods as Coltex, as well as picking up their pace of innovation.

Result: Three years ago Contour went to retail with a way of producing “hybrid” skins with better glue. We’ve been using them. They work. In fact, so far they’re awesome.

Climbing skin fabric is made in sheets, which are usually cut with a computerized textile cutter.

Climbing skin fabric is made in sheets, which are usually cut with a computerized textile cutter.

Box says 'unique combination of 2 different layers of glue,


Box says ‘unique combination of 2 different layers of glue.’

At a meeting with Contour a few days ago at their factory near Innsbruck, Austria the Contour owners explained that the challenge with making adhesive climbing skins is that the glue has to stick to the skin backing, as well as having the perfect tack for your ski bases. The two things can be mutually exclusive. Sticky enough to cling to the skin fabric? Perhaps too sticky for storage. More, glues with better temperature range may not adhere correctly to the climbing skin. Solution: use two layers of glue.

Two layers of glue make up the Contour Hybrid skin glue system.

Two layers of glue make up the Contour Hybrid skin glue system.

Enter the Contour Hybrid glue system. Executing this is quite complex and subject to some trade secrets, but easy to describe. Contour uses two layers of skin glue. A bonding layer sticks to the skin fabric. In turn, a nice layer of “working” glue that’s tuned for ultimate consumer friendliness is stuck to the bonding layer.

This is not a hotmelt system. According to Contour, hotmelt glues as used by the majority of climbing skin makers are very temperature sensitive. They have to be, as you need to melt them to apply them to the skin. The Contour glue is applied in sheets, it is not hot-melt, and can thus be much less temperature sensitive, as well as having a finely tuned “tack” that’s optimal for ski bases without regard to how the glue sticks to the skin backing. Both glue compound layers are chemically stable and have a wide temperature range. After heavy use scrub it with soap and water, or even clean with wax remover.

I have two sets of Contour skins (one their mohair/nylon mix and one pure mohair), already tested in a wide variety of conditions and temperatures. So far they’re living up to expectations. The glue is fantastic, coming apart easily after tack-to-tack storage (said to be totally ok) and adhering adequately while very cold in Colorado. The bane of some other skin brands is that when tuned (sticky) for colder temps they leave residue on the ski bases or eventually become useless goo. So far no problem of that sort with Contour. They’re tip and tail attachment systems are excellent as well.

Out of the box, the Contour tip attachment system comprises a pair of white plastic clips that are amazingly complex for a skin tip fix, but are actually quite effective in a tool-less kind of way. You cut the skin tip with the supplied pattern, insert the skin and a metal tip loop (3 sizes supplied) in the clip, press clip together and latch with two tiny red slider tabs. Seemed fiddly at first, but quickly grew on me.

Tip clip is beautifully ingenious industrial design.

Tip clip is beautifully ingenious industrial design. The sharp pins hold the skin inside a plastic sandwich. Other than cutting the skin to proper shape, the process requires no tools other than your hand.

Step one: lay the skin into the sandwich shell.

Step one: lay the skin into the sandwich shell.

Step 2: insert the tip loop, various sizes included.

Step 2: insert the tip loop, various sizes included.

Step 3: add the other half of the sandwich, the one with the spikes.

Step 3: add the other half of the sandwich, the one with the spikes.

Step 4: firmly squeeze closed to jab pins into skin.

Step 4: firmly squeeze closed to jab pins into skin.

Step 5: slide tiny red catches closed with your fingernail, these hold the sandwich together.

Step 5: slide tiny red catches closed with your fingernail, these hold the sandwich together.

Tails attach with the usual friction slider over-center clip, only this one is hollowed out in the middle so it nests better over curved ski tails and resists sliding to the side. I’m not sure if Contour will offer a disposable off-set cutter like other brands, but their more dealer oriented cutting knife is the best I’ve seen.

Contour dealer type skin cutter.  You'll want one if you cut more than a few skins a year.

Contour dealer type skin cutter. You’ll want one if you cut more than a few skins a year.

The Contour cutter works super nicely.  These are the mohair Hybrid Skins for my Fischer Hannibals.

The Contour cutter works super nicely. These are the mohair Hybrid Skins for my Fischer Hannibals.

The Contour cutter works super nicely.  These are the mohair Hybrid Skins for my Fischer Hannibals.

The Contour cutter works super nicely. These are the mohair Hybrid Skins for my Fischer Hannibals.

In closing, I got a few tips in-person from contour regarding skin care. This applies mostly to their skins, but translates to others.

1. Skin glue can be UV sensitive; dry out of direct sunlight and don’t store on a hanger in your window.
2. Storing Contour skins glue-to-glue is totally ok in normal use, but a mesh liner is recommended for long-term storage.
3. Not all mesh liners are equal, some have chemical coatings or treatments that may impart to the skin glue. Contour’s are guaranteed to be pure.

Storage mesh alternatives--beware the colored stuff.

Storage mesh alternatives–beware the colored stuff.

4. With any brand, it’s possible that skin glue can be ruined by extreme heat in shipping containers. Thus, if you get a new pair of skins from any brand and they just are not right, be sure to warranty right away and consider the damaged glue might not be an inherent fault.

Centering skins on the ski is important for a good sidecut.

Centering skins on the ski is important for a good sidecut. I’ve always done this by just hanging the skin under the ski and pulling it tight. Contour owner Werner used the floor as an assist–good trick.

The goods, before cutting.

The goods, before cutting. Perhaps skis will be this wide by next season?

Where to get ’em in North America (easy in Europe)? CAMP USA is the importer of Contour skin products, they can find you a retailer or otherwise help you acquire. If anyone knows who the North American etailer is, please inform.



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Comments

59 Responses to “Contour Hybrid Climbing Skins — Review”

  1. wyomingowen January 13th, 2015 8:56 am

    Do you see Fischer pro-foil out there?
    I like to discuss adhesion vs cohesion when discussing skins.

  2. Colin January 13th, 2015 1:51 pm

    Slick, but schiza are they expensive as listed on Camp’s site.

  3. Brett Merlin January 13th, 2015 2:53 pm

    US Retailers for Contour include:
    Haute Route Gear and Apparel
    Aspen Expeditions
    Mammoth Mountaineering Supply
    Mountain Outfitters
    Skimo.co

  4. DavidB January 13th, 2015 4:22 pm

    Interesting concept Lou.

    I like their logic re the 2 layers of glue.

    I also like the split skins being fitted to DPS skis and the obligatory pastries in shot.

  5. afox January 13th, 2015 5:41 pm

    Interesting. Any idea how they compare to the new Volkl Vaccum skins?

  6. Phil January 13th, 2015 8:52 pm

    So the teaser split skin shot…. The idea is great. The BD dyneema version should be scaled down for skis wider than ~90 waist. In the photo the contour split skins look to really be ‘split skins’. Friends and I have experimented with that and although they work for travelling, they can be a complete pain to deal with, especially on a windy day! Ours were one piece at the tip but split down the length. You could just use 4 narrow skins but…. not ideal. Any insight on their version? Are they truly split or is there a central fabric/glued section between the fur (like the BD ones)?

    In my opinion the attraction of ‘high traction’ (high resistance), wall-to-wall skins is very strange. With wide skis we have traction galore. We need less skin and less friction, not more. Having skins near the edges but not covering all of a wide ski seems worth pursuing. Lightweight gear isn’t maximized if you have a lot of resistance…

  7. Lou Dawson 2 January 13th, 2015 10:26 pm

    Afox, I’ve been testing the Volkl skin in Colorado (which if I’m not mistaken are Kohla), they don’t work well in the cold temps, a bit of moisture and a cold ski base, or blowing snow, and they just don’t stick very well. Main thing is to remember is the Contour glue is regular glue, not a “glueless” or “vacum” type glue. The idea is the Contour glue has a wide temperature range, does not stick to itself very agressivly, is chemically stable, and sticks to the ski base… I really think Contour is on to something with the Hybrid skin. Very easy to handle. Lou

  8. afox January 13th, 2015 11:29 pm

    Thanks so much Lou, this is extremely valuable information! Ive been searching for a replacement for my clipskins for years, thought the new volkl vaccum skins might have been it, I guess not. I have not seen any decent reviews of the volkyl vaccum skins yet. Sounds like the contours might be the best of the glued skins. I sincerely hope someone picks up where clipskins left off, I believe that the future of climbing skins does not involve glue.

  9. Lou Dawson 2 January 14th, 2015 12:17 am

    Afox, try Contour, they might convince you that the future _does_ involve glue. Really, the glued skin system as a concept is quite elegant, it’s just the execution that’s off. They need to be lighter/thinner as well. I hear that is coming from at least one major brand. Lou

  10. James January 14th, 2015 12:50 am

    Hi Lou,
    What’s your thinking on how wide (or how narrow) the split skin strips could be? From the split skin photo it looks like each strip is 40mm and the gap is ~20mm, so really only a 20% saving. Do you think it could be thinner and save more weight? if the strips were only 20mm then it could be a 60% saving! I think there is definitely room for experimentation here! What’s your thoughts?
    James

  11. Lou Dawson 2 January 14th, 2015 1:19 am

    Hi James, the wider the ski the more you save in comparison to full-width skin… the other cool thing is this type of split skin can work for multiple pairs of skis. From watching Lisa use these I don’t think the strips should be any thinner, but someone who was careful about technique and route finding could probably get away with much thinner. I’ve actually tried this type of split with conventional skins, the glue tangle turned me off, but I did try much narrower strips and they worked. Lou

  12. Werner Koch January 14th, 2015 1:25 am

    Hi James and Phil,

    let me try to explain our split skin concept compared to the split skins you find on the market. The contour free skins are not folded in the middle, one strap after the other like you had 2 skins per ski but folded one to the other, By not using a buckle but 2 “Y” shaped straps and a clip on both ends, it is very easy to mount and take off, Detach one clip on either tip or tail, peel off ski base, slightly pull on the skins and they fold to each other. Just go over the joint straps with your gloves, that’s it. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBIHQvsvddE
    The straps are 40 mm in the center and 55/50 tip and tail, tapered on the outside. Weight is less than 500 gms / about 17 oz per pair. And remember: no cutting/trimming required, all 4 edges are sealed.
    More questions? Take care, Werner

  13. Wookie January 14th, 2015 2:06 am

    Hey Guys – I’ve been using these skins for years…even back when they were coltex….and I’ve got several of newer contours at the moment.
    It’s a shame to hear they are so expensive in the States – over here (Bavaria/Tyrol) they are usually the least expensive brand – I always thought this is because they were local – and initially, that was my reason for buying them.
    Not anymore. They are the best skins I’ve used, and I have compared them directly to other high-end brands which shall remain unnamed, Euro, US and Canadian….for sometimes less than half the cost – these skins are more durable, have better glue, and are easier to live with. I tend to have quite a bit of trouble pulling some brands apart if I stick em glue to glue – not so with these…and still…they stick better than all the rest. Even in the cold. I have only once had a skin start to slip, and it was -26 C and I was lapping a face near the house.
    In all – a great, great product.

    Danke Werner….weiter so!

  14. Frame January 14th, 2015 3:55 am

    Hi Werner and Lou,
    Just to check (apologies if I’m a bit slow here), the blue skin at the top comes already cut / split and the orange skin comes as a one piece which is then trimmed to the ski width, per the pictures with the Fischer ski? Just confirming as Werner is notes no cutting/trimming (assume that is for split option).

    Or does the colour signify mohair/mix?

  15. Werner Koch January 14th, 2015 5:01 am

    H Frame,
    the color signifies the material, with hybird glue technology we offer:
    blue with contour lines: MIX (70% Mohair), available as trimmable skins 110/120/130 mm (fixed length or universal) and free (split version, fixed lengths, no trimming)
    orange with contour lines: 100 % Mohair, available as trimmable skins 120/130/140 mm (fixed length or universal)
    This is the lineup for 15/16, this winter only MIX is available, that’s why you don’t find orange hybrid version on our website http://www.contourskins.com
    Werner

  16. James January 14th, 2015 9:16 am

    Hi Lou & Werner,

    Thanks for your responses, I’m definitely going to try some experiments with some old skins to see how far it can be mass optimised! I’m interested in how the y-shape tail strap interacts with the snow, looking at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2s8Sl4W2UTA it looks like the 2 arms of the strap join into 1 on the bottom of the ski. Do you think there would be drag on the snow with that setup if a ski with a flat tail was used?
    It’s also interesting that the skins are narrower in the middle that the ends, is that to make the gap constant due to drag/peeling off if it wasn’t or is it optimised for grip/climbing? I would have thought you would need more skin under the foot and could get away with less at the tip & tail. At least thats the pattern out how my skins get soaked on a very warm day!

    Let’s hope we get some more snow in Austria, specifically the Bregenzerwald which is looking very green this year) so I can test these ideas out (it’s been a bit depressing so far this year)!!

    Cheers,
    James

  17. James January 14th, 2015 9:20 am

    Werner,

    Just 1 last question: Are you going to offer your hybrid glue as a transfer tape for renewing old skins? I would definitely be interested if you were!

    Thanks,
    James

  18. Phil January 14th, 2015 10:35 am

    I love the concept of removing the split skins shown in the Contour video (see link above). I haven’t tried doing it that way with my experiments but will now! I fear it will still be finicky to put them on in windy conditions. However, perhaps with the less sticky glue, that is less of a problem than with traditional glues…

  19. David January 14th, 2015 10:59 am

    Lou,
    Possibly drifting from the contour skins a bit here but Pomoca claims their new Tipon skins are thinner, lighter and more waterproof. Have you had a chance to see or try those yet? Seems like an improvement in a more traditional skin if they perform.

  20. Werner Koch January 14th, 2015 12:22 pm

    Hi James, no, with Contour hybrid skins you will never have the need to put new glue on. The adhesive substance is very stable and does not really wear out by UV degradation over time. Thus storage is less of an issue than with classic hot melt glue. If the hybrid glue is not sticky/tacky any more, it is because of dirt on the surface which can easily be washed off with household detergent or if this does no longer help, cleaned with a wax remover.
    Werner

  21. James January 14th, 2015 2:57 pm

    Hi Werner,
    I wasn’t thinking about replacing the glue on the hybrid skins, more about replacing the glue on other old skins. Will you be making it available?
    James

  22. Maki January 14th, 2015 2:58 pm

    Hi Werner, is this glue tacky enough to run the skins without tail attachment? As a reference I have no troubles with regular Colltex Mix skins.
    Also, will the mohair version be available in rolls? I hate premade kits, they cost 50% more and you always waste some skin… rolls are so much more convenient, you only get the amount you need.

    For those wondering about the split concept. It’s three years now that I use home made splits, more because I’m a cheapskate than for anything else. The skin was originally cut for a 74mm waist, so I have 30mm at centre, and larger in tip/tail, and no tail fix. With proper glue no problem at all (search for glue mojo on this very site). The skins are actually independent since thay are attached to the tip loop with velcro, so I don’t have the glue-related problems Lou describes. A great concept if you own multiple skis, but a bit longer to put on, especially if your buddies are skimo racers.

    Note to Lou, it’s Colltex, not Coltex. (double “L”).

  23. Lou Dawson 2 January 14th, 2015 3:45 pm

    Sorry about the spelling! Will edit. BTW, the Colltex skins I just used today on Scott skis are fairly thin and have forgiving glue. I still like the Contour glue better, but these seemed pretty good. Iove the thinner easily stored skins, so pleasant to use…

  24. Silas Wild January 15th, 2015 12:37 am

    James: maybe this answers your question about glue? http://www.swissnorth.com/CONTOUR%20Climbing%20Skins.html

  25. Werner Koch January 15th, 2015 12:43 am

    James: no Problem to reglue traditional contour Skins with hotmelt glue, we have both glue in tube and transfer-tape to iron-on, in 4 m for one pair and 50 m for the shops….
    Werner

  26. Matus January 15th, 2015 8:04 am

    The best combination is quality glue skin with love glove. The love glove just solves all common issues with the skins. And yet it makes people think I am crazy when I pull them from my back pack 😉

    Maybe, this new invention will make love glove useless. We will see.

  27. David January 15th, 2015 4:13 pm

    Looks like that contour trimming knife has a much more reasonable (read smaller) offset than the pomoca and G3 cutters and would be easier to use as well.
    I hate how much base the G3 and pomoca offset trimmers leave exposed (5mm on each side is too much !)
    Now where can I buy one??

  28. hairymountainbeast January 15th, 2015 5:51 pm

    I’ve got bd glidelight skins for my drifts and I have a terrible time with snow creeping in on the edges. Is this likely a glue issue, or would it be the skin / ski shape? I also have ascension skins on some less sidecutty skis and have no poblem with those. Anyone got any tips for battling snow creep?

  29. trollanski January 15th, 2015 8:51 pm

    Hairy Beast. Depends how old your skins are, and the amount of use. The skins should be fine, but you may want to get a tube of Black Diamond Gold skin glue, and add a little/freshen up the areas that are not adhering to the skis. If the glue is old- somewhere up around five years, sometimes less, and looks black and spotty, just take it all off and start over with fresh glue. Good luck.

  30. hairymountainbeast January 15th, 2015 9:00 pm

    They are about 4 years old and have seen pretty heavy use, but they’ve had the creeping problem from the beginning. I will try regluing, thanks trollanski.

  31. Lou Dawson 2 January 16th, 2015 2:08 am

    Hairy, the other thing important is that if your skis have lots of rocker and sidecut, cut the skin straight at the tip instead of matching sidecut. Works much better for glide as well as less snow catching under edges. I try to cut all my skins this way now, works much better than trying to match the ski shape at the tip. Lou

  32. Werner Koch January 16th, 2015 4:01 am

    Hairybeast: Snow creeping is a result of the combination of low tack and stiff material. The better the tack and the softer the skin material, the less are the skins prone to snow creeping under the adhesive surface.

    Trimming the skins narrower at the tip is important, Ideally, the skins should reach the edge at the point where the ski touches the ground, which is up to 40 cm or more away from the tip with modern rocker skis. Our sidecut with trimmable contour skins helps getting a nice angle. Werner

  33. Wookie January 16th, 2015 4:18 am

    Hey Lou!
    Skin trimming philosohpies and methods!

    Results-based testing!

    I smell a great WildSnow public service post series!

  34. hairymountainbeast January 16th, 2015 10:41 am

    I wouldn’t say that drifts have lots of rocker, more like hardly any, but they do have a lot of sidecut! So Lou, when you say cut the tip straight, do you mean the same width as the waist, or just don’t follow the edges? Maybe a picture would help here?
    Thanks for all the info!

  35. Lou Dawson 2 January 16th, 2015 10:52 am

    Hairy, not that critical, just cut straight so it eventually blends with the shaped part of the skin, perhaps 10 or so centimeters down from the tip, where it’s not so wide. Just do it in a way that the shape of the skin blends, to prevent resistance of the skin edges against the snow as you glide the ski/skin in a stride. What works nice is indeed start with a skin that’s narrower than the tip shovel but wide enough to cover waist, and just cut the shape on it. I’ll see if I have any photos. Lou

  36. Paul January 19th, 2015 4:03 pm

    Hi Lou.

    Do you think that the material the skin is made of, or the fact that the skin is splitted or not that makes the biggest difference in friction? Thanks!

  37. dancelikedave February 2nd, 2015 12:20 pm

    Have any of the WildSnow splitboarders or other posters here tried Contour’s splitboard offering? I assume that uses the hybrid glue as well? Any feedback on performance? Are the tip/tail clips functional?

    Thanks WildSnow for keeping us in the loop on innovations.

  38. Jay February 8th, 2015 4:40 pm

    The split hybrids are not available from the sites listed by Brett Merlin from CAMP, nor are they on the Telemark Pyrenees or Cham3S sites. Do you have any suggestions for how to buy these in the US? Thanks!

  39. Susie A February 9th, 2015 2:22 pm

    This is great info, thanks Lou.
    It set me thinking that we spend a lot of time and effort comparing ski weights, surface areas etc, but much less on skins.

    So, this is real geek stuff but it would be really helpful to have some kind of comparison table for the major skin types available, to include weight, bulkiness, glide, durability etc. Especially now there seem to be so many ‘ own brand’ skins from the ski makers.
    What do you think?

  40. Werner Koch February 10th, 2015 4:52 am

    Hi JAY, the contour hybrid skins are available at selected online stores in Europe e.g. http://shop.sport65.de/product_info.php?language=en&products_id=3087&XTCsid=i1ober82gkekqc3q724m2mk6l5
    We’re waiting for C.A.M.P USA to place their next order, so the may make it to the US later this winter….
    Best regards,
    Werner Koch

  41. justin February 14th, 2015 8:18 am

    How are these as far as bulk/packability? There seems to be a significant difference in how bulky skins are when folded up, I think mostly depending on the skin backing..

  42. Kryters March 22nd, 2015 4:25 pm

    So this was a followup on the request for information on the Pomoca Tipon digression. I loved my old Pomoca skins so I happily invested in a pair of Tipons recently. My wife stole them to go to chamonix before I got a chance to ski on them. 2 days into her trip and I got a call to say that the glue will either stick to the skin or the ski but rarely both at the same time! not good for a first outing. The glue is a bit like the gecko glue. and has come off onto the ski in places so all in all an expensive fail. Pomoca are just about impossible to get hold of 🙁

  43. Lou Dawson 2 March 22nd, 2015 5:06 pm

    All I can say at this time is “in the ski touring industry, early adopt at yer own risk and pray you qualify for warranty. Lou

  44. Matus March 22nd, 2015 5:49 pm

    Re Pomoca Tipon: 3 years of development and this is what we get? I hope that once, in a near future, we will talk about this fail with a smile. With all those nanotechnologies, computers, chemicals and technology startups, it should be possible to develop something better than a regular glue. Or not?

  45. Lou Dawson 2 March 22nd, 2015 5:59 pm

    Matus, this all brings me to think of the “artificial intelligence” advocate gurus who are spouting all kinds of nonsense. An army of geeks can’t even make a truck CPU that knows when to turn on and off the dome lights, climbing skins seem to fail to get out of the dark ages, Google fails all to often. An so on. So we’re going to have AI in just a few years? They must be joking. Lou

  46. Gary April 21st, 2015 9:34 pm

    These look a lot like the Kastle skins. Does anyone know if they make the Kastle skins?

  47. swissiphic June 16th, 2015 3:14 pm

    Regarding ‘split skins’…I experimented a bit this year slicing some G3 Alpinists down the middle to adjust width to make the 95mm waisted skins fit 108 waist skis. Initial testing revealed very positive results for actual skinning uphill but dreadful results in real world skin on/off dick around factor. It was intolerable….so…duct tape to the rescue. I applied a full length of a double stack of shiny side up both sides tape to the ‘split’ section of skin on the glue side. Adjusted for width, and, VOILA, perfectly normal, plain jane skin on/off procedures!

    Used ’em for the past four months in all conditions on various width skis up to 115mm waist and they have not let me down….aside from a very specific environmental condition of spring thing moist snow at surface with cold snow beneath…icing on the inner edges of skin causes increased friction for glide. Very specific condition issue though.

    Big benefits include generally better glide, ironically, better uphill traction and noticeably enhanced sidehilling performance in crusts.

    Better uphill traction: I suspect that having FOUR edges to the skin material increases the bite once weight is applied during step and somehow more plush hairs are employed for grip in the center section.

    Enhanced sidehilling performance on crusts: I suspect the thinner width of actual skin material allows the strip to penetrate more effectively on any snow this side of sheer ice and allows that inner vertical edge of the skin strip to bite for more effective resistance to gravitationaly induced downhill slips and loss of grip.

    For hard spring snow, I also found it very valuable to be able to micro adjust the skin edge to ski edge distance to dial in that perfect sidehilling grip from that perspective. Just pull up on one strip to free it from the shiny duct tape, align the the duct tape skin strip on ski and carefully apply the other side to the opposing edge….nice and tight.

    Skied in temps ranging from minus 15C to plus 20 C and so far, no issues with the duct tape portion suffering catastrophic failure or any other adhering to ski issues other than the usual experienced with full width ‘normal’ skins.

    Fun stuff.

  48. swissiphic June 16th, 2015 3:32 pm

    Forgot to include the caveat of ‘try at own risk’, of course. In the spirit of full disclosure, colder temp conditions below minus 15 C were not experienced. I didn’t have any heinous loose faceted snow conditions or alpine wind slab/breakable crust present during my testing period. I did have some conditions where irregular icy chunks and chicken heads would occasionally align themselves with the shiny duct tape during a step and this would result in a backslide…however, i’ve experienced the same mishap with full width skins as well. I’m just a bit more careful with ‘reading’ the snow during uptracks with the split skin to ensure skin plush is placed on those little snow gremlins to hedge the bets in those conditions.

  49. Susie A June 17th, 2015 2:59 am

    Great to hear about your experiments swissiphic – how did you slice the skins – did you leave them joined at tip and tail or just at the tip? Or not at all?

    I didn’t get what you did with the duct tape – can you explain further .
    Interested because I am probably going to be trying to do the same job myself this winter.

  50. swissiphic June 17th, 2015 9:53 am

    Hi Susie…wish I could post a photo…worth a thousands words… don’t know if it’s acceptable behavior on this blog site, but here’s my contact, i can send you pics that show the entire mod including the duct tape if you’d like? swissiphic using gmail

  51. Lou Dawson 2 June 17th, 2015 10:02 am

    Swiss, we don’t have things set up for user posted photos, due to problems with spam. But if you contact us via link in menu above, we can put a photo into your comment.

    Whatever you do, don’t leave your email address in public! It’ll get harvested by spammers and your spam count will increase. I obfuscated your address above. But best not to put it in there at all. Facebook is a much better contact system, if you do need to publish contact info.

  52. swissiphic June 17th, 2015 10:32 am

    Apologies, Lou! Will send pics to you via recommended route.

  53. justin September 15th, 2015 8:35 am

    Lots of good info here regarding the glue etc (which sounds very promising) but what about the actual skin plush? How are the mohair/nylon hybrids as far as grip, glide, and packability compared to something else, say the ascension mohair/nylon skins?

  54. Kasper April 16th, 2016 7:21 am

    Hello. Does anyone know how to replace or replenish the hybrid glue on contour skins? I have a pair of atomic branded ones and the glue is coming off in big chunks after less than a season:-(

  55. Lou Dawson 2 April 16th, 2016 8:59 am

    Kasper, according to info we gathered in Austria over past few years Contour had some defective Hybrid glue at the beginning of them trying to get it right. I’d suggest returning on warranty immediately. We love the Contour Hybrid adhesive and most of ours is working well, but I do have an older pair that had the chunking problem. I’d also suggest that no matter what the vintage, for long-term storage use skin liners. Lou

  56. nate porter April 16th, 2016 9:25 am

    Lou, that summarizes my understanding of the glue vintage, and my experience with the skins. They have been working great for me. The only real downside I’ve found is that you have to be really careful with them at low single digit Farenheight and below temps to make sure they stick, especially with multiple applications. The handling, glide and packability are all top notch.

  57. Kasper April 16th, 2016 11:27 am

    Thanks for your answer. I guess I’ll try to warranty them.

  58. Lou Dawson 2 April 16th, 2016 1:36 pm

    Nate, yeah, there are better skins for super cold temps, G3 and BD come to mind. Me, I don’t ski tour much when it’s around zero F so I don’t worry too much about it (grin). Lou

  59. Bar Barrique April 16th, 2016 10:00 pm

    I do tour when the temperatures are low, as it beats the alternatives for me. I have not used the Contour skins in these conditions yet, but I do carry a roll of duct tape.
    We have not yet found the “Holy Grail” of climbing skins, but for most occasions; these things are pretty nice. On one occasion (heavy snowfall all day); my partner’s skins did fail after multiple uses (mine did not), and, duct tape was used. This was at the end of the day. The real question for me is; how long will this glue remain usable?
    The Contour skin’s mohair/synthetic material seems to work quite well, and, a couple of days ago a friends BD skins were “snowballing” on an ascent while the Contours were problem free.





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