Contour Skins Shark Tailhook

Post by blogger | February 16, 2015      
Shark Tailhook from Contour installed on climbing skin. Takes all of 5 minutes.

Shark Tailhook from Contour installed on climbing skin. Takes all of 5 minutes. NOTE these tail hooks are for skins that anchor with a ‘stretcher’ at the tip, such as the setup used by Dynafit on their touring skis.

Are you a shop worker or backcountry skiing DIYer? Ever get tired of niggling with those tiny rivets most climbing skin companies provide for installing an after-factory tail anchor hook? You need eight years of practice in microsurgery just to get those things out of the ziplock. Drop one, and it’s like you’re looking for a lost contact lens.

When I was in Austria visiting Contour just weeks ago, owner Werner Koch pointed out a bin full of these cool little crimp-on tail clips he calls the Shark Tailhook. (Of course an Austrian trying for an English product name got it wrong. It should actually the the “Sharkbite,” so I’ll start calling them that.) I got my Atomic test skis rocking a few days ago. Enclosed in the goody box was a pair of Contour Hybrid skins, 100% mohair, with race-style tip fix and the Sharkbite as an optional tail fix. Just as I like my struddel warm and with cream, I like my skins with a tail clip. So with the extreme joy of any home workshop man-kid allowed to squeeze a pair of pliers instead of pant over a keyboard, I installed the Sharkbites. Yeah, trivial compared to pontificating on the latest complexities of pintech bindings, but perhaps these won’t need a recall?

Shark is a simple fold of steel with internal teeth, you crimp it to the skin tail by tapping with a hammer or squeezing in a vise.

Shark is a simple fold of steel with internal teeth. You crimp it to the skin tail by tapping with a hammer or squeezing in a vise. I found it best to start the process with a slight squeeze using a pair of pliers.

Shark skin tail hook from Contour.

Shark skin tail hook from Contour. Viewed from the glue side of the skin.

A firm grinch with the vise gave the best install. Tapping with hammer didn't seem to fully seat the jaws.

A firm grinch with the vise gave the best install. Tapping with hammer didn’t seem to fully seat the jaws.

It’s no secret I’m as high on the Contour climbing skins company these days as some of those guys hanging out behind the apothecary just down the street from our house here in Colorado. Contour just keeps coming up with cool stuff. Better than edibles!


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


11 Responses to “Contour Skins Shark Tailhook”

  1. XXX_er February 16th, 2015 11:27 am

    Aren’t most people using adjustable or no tail hooks on their BD or G3’s on this side of the pond? These would work fine with my Dynafit setups but I have knocked those old style rubber stretchers off my ski tips ever since skis went > 67mm under foot

  2. Lou Dawson 2 February 16th, 2015 12:26 pm

    This is for “race style” tip fix, like the Dynafit “stretcher.” Usually uses a slot in the tip of the ski. Yes, folks often go without tail fix with these sorts of setups, but having tail fix is nice for hardcore multi-lap days in full conditions. Lou

  3. Charlie Hagedorn February 16th, 2015 1:22 pm

    Climbing Skins Direct still runs with tip stretchers; I’ve had no troubles with the original riveted tailhooks on a heavily-used pair that’s in its eighth season (replaced the tip stretchers once due to wear). Just re-glued ’em for the first time about a month ago.

  4. XXX_er February 16th, 2015 1:39 pm

    If there is a metal loop on the rubber stretcher I constantly knock them off my ski tip but not so with the dynafit style. BTW instead of buying dynfit tip stretchers you can make your own with a 2″ aluminium roofing nail and some 3mm shock cord, tie a loop about the size of yer finger in the cord and clip the head off the nail to save a bunch of money also they can be hard to source

  5. Ed February 16th, 2015 2:04 pm

    Climbing Direct’s rubber tip stretchers are great – have had em on multiple skin sets on real bush bashes and not a bit of trouble (except below). I think they are a great aftermarket solution. Powder boards or more rational ski widths both! Kudos to them.
    Also I sew the skin back over the metal loop, using an awl set just for insurance – the needle gets a bit gloppy with skin glue but you can clean it up every four or five stitches or so with some ski wax remover and keep stitching.
    The only thing about folding skins back at the tip (rather than clamp on like the BD tip loops with screws) seems to me to be that you have to fold the skin high enough up the ski tip that you don’t keep ramming snow under the skin as you ski. I’ve found that this happens esp in crusty conditions and you end up having to stop and scrape the skins to get adhesion back along the leading edges. This picks up pine needles and debris as well and can pack it under the front of the skin. Only downside I’ve seen with the front fold-over skin bit. Careful shaping of the front edge cut (i.e. not too far back with the taper) helps stop this.

  6. powbanger February 16th, 2015 7:20 pm

    All the new Montana skins come with the tip loops and tail hook already stitched on. No rivets or screws needed. The tail clip has 15cm of so of elasticity and adjustment so you just buy the length that works and trim to fit, and go for hike. No need for a vise, pliers or even a screw driver.

  7. marcin February 17th, 2015 1:31 am

    @powbanger ” No need for a vise, pliers or even a screw driver.”

    But tour-tinkering is as much fun as alpine touring.

  8. jon paul February 19th, 2015 2:29 am

    I’ve also got to put out a “kudos” for Climbing Skins Direct. Tons of traction, durable, INEXPENSIVE (important!) and the tip stretcher and tail loops or tailhook make for the best attachment system I’ve used. The tip stretcher makes it way easier to de-skin and doesn’t cause problems. Why did manufacturers got to the tail-stretchy style anyway?

  9. Werner Koch February 19th, 2015 3:55 am

    @jon paul: The problem with rubber stretchers is that the skin is sticking to the ski base only some 15 cm away from the tip (rubber stretcher + overlapping skin). With flat ski tips this makes it easier for snow to creep in between ski-base and skin. All versions with a fixed front loop work better in that regard. But, we still do offer skins with rubber tips, and call these version “contour basic” for a good reason:

  10. Lou Dawson 2 February 19th, 2015 8:36 am

    I agree with Werner, and I’d go farther to say the rubber tip stretcher anchors (wide, with metal loop, you fold the skin through it) are lame. Not only do they encourage snow to pack under the skin, but they’ve always had durability problems as well as a tendency to get knocked of the ski tip. They’ve been around for more than 30 years, I gave up on them about 29 years ago. In my opinion the best system is actually the slotted ski tip, skimo race style. Dynafit tends to provide this as their OEM system. Our Atomic 2015-2016 test skis have it, as do most of the Trab skis. Nice thing about the slot is it’s optional, you can still use any other skin tip fix. It’s also slightly lighter weight than most other systems. I’d suggest anyone at least consider doing a demo of the tip-slot system, I think you’ll be impressed.

  11. Mark Worley February 19th, 2015 9:47 pm

    The Contours sound great. And the tail hook looks pretty smart. I agree about the little rivets of other systems. They do work great, but drop one and it’s a needle in a haystack.

  Your Comments

  Recent Posts

Facebook Twitter Email Instagram Youtube

WildSnow Twitter Feed


  • Blogroll & Links

  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

    All material on this website is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked, permission required for reproduction (electronic or otherwise) and display on other websites. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

    We include "affiliate sales" links with most of our blog posts. This means we receive a percentage of a sale if you click over from our site (at no cost to you). None of our affiliate commission links are direct relationships with specific gear companies or shopping carts, instead we remain removed by using a third party who manages all our affiliate sales and relationships. We also sell display "banner" advertising, in this case our relationships are closer to the companies who advertise, but our display advertising income is carefully separated financially and editorially from our blog content, over which we always maintain 100% editorial control -- we make this clear during every advertising deal we work out. Please also notice we do the occasional "sponsored" post, these are under similar financial arrangements as our banner advertising, only the banner or other type of reference to a company are included in the blog post, simply to show they provided financial support to and provide them with advertising in return. Unlike most other "sponsored content" you find on the internet, our sponsored posts are entirely under our editorial control and created by WildSnow specific writers.See our full disclosures here.

    Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. Due to human error and passing time, the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

    Switch To Mobile Version