Ruminations — Ski Touring Climbing Skins

Post by blogger | February 26, 2015      

It’s definitely the time of the climbing skins. Not a week goes by that we don’t get at least one inquiry about trying something new, with the common result of another carpet added to the rug pile. I’d do an overall ski touring climbing skin comparo, but things are changing so fast that the logistics required for that would be obnoxious. So I’ll hit the highlights in a few blog posts this spring.

Montana Montasprint at top, comparo with High Trails  full nylon at bottom.

Montana Montasprint mohair at top, comparo with High Trails full nylon at bottom.

Above was an interesting comparison showing just how apples to oranges you can get with climbing skins. I hear a lot of PR jabber about various companies making nylon climbing skins with adequate glide. Well, I’m here to tell you that in my experience NO nylon climbing skin has good enough glide for efficient touring on wider backcountry skis. For example… I cut a set of Montana Montasprint 100% mohair and a pair of High Trails Evotech Synt Plus, both for my Wailer 99 Tour 1 test planks. After a few thousand vert I didn’t need any more torture. Compared to the mohair the High Trails felt like brillo, and weirdly enough I didn’t notice any difference in grip.

To be fair to High Trails, they also make a 60/40 mohair/nylon mix that Lisa is using on her Wailer 112s, with adequate glide though again 100% mohair would be preferred.

Yes, the mohair will wear in and gain even more glide, while the nylon will gain more grip as it wears (and less glide). It’s also said by some folks in the industry that mohair could become scarce and more expensive due to the boom in ski touring. Thus, let’s hope the boffins figure out how to make nylon skins that glide — or pity the poor bald goats.

(Mohair trick: The edges are usually where you get wear that affects your grip while touring. When the mohair on your wider skis becomes worn, recut for the narrower skis in your quiver.)

Oh, and about the adhesive? Yes Virginia, the High Trails have a “glueless” stickum that’s quite tacky. It’s terrific for one-lap treks, especially fitness uphilling. Problem is this type of adhesive is ultra sensitive to moisture and cold powder snow. Contaminate the skin with either form of water, and you may have difficulty keeping the fur on your skis. Water can be squeegeed or otherwise dried off, but cold snow is difficult as you can’t scrape the glueless skins on your ski edges as with conventional adhesive (doing so can damage the adhesive).

As for the Montana skins, they use a conventional glue that I found average, with the typical problem you find in the case of much European skin stickum in that it lost tac in colder temperatures (the reason why brands such as Pomoca are attempting to sell “North American glue,” and Contour is touting their Hybrid glue technology with a wider temperature range.) I should also mention that the Montana adhesive suffers from the shoulder ripping curse inducing problem of being too tacky when stuck to itself, something the “glueless” skins totally and quite pleasantly obviate.

This is Wildsnow so we’ll mention weight. Oddly enough both the Montana and the High Trails weighed the same once cut for the skis, while the High Trails packed tighter. This is along the line of other skin weigh-ins I’ve done, leading me to not pay much attention to skin weight. Rumor is next season we’ll see some ultra-light skins hit the market. In that case the scale will get used.

Check out our previous High Trails review.

Next, we turn our attention to Kohla Vacuum Base.

Next, we turn our attention to Kohla Vacuum Base. This is another “glueless” technology. It’s easy to handle, but again we only recommend for one-lap types of days due to issues with snow and cold. Interestingly, Kohla’s PR material says “unproblematic in cold temperatures,” but we found that to not be the case. While testing during a Colorado deep freeze in December, our Kohla skins literally fell off the skis when we picked them up to re-attach a tail clip. We were able to keep going with minimal adhesion because we were uphilling on a groomer. The situation would not have been functional in the backcountry.

In closing, here is our all-time favorite skin over the last 40 years of testing.

In closing, here is our all-time favorite skin over the last 40 years of testing. This is an Atomic branded “Rocker Skin,” made by Contour using their Hybrid glue technology. It’s a 100% mohair carpet, with the Atomic “glide” tip as well as the skimo style tip fix. The tail is customized with a Contour Shark clip. Sticking these guys to your skis is like mounting Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 Y-Speed rated tires on your Tesla. Heaven!

Atomic Rocker Skins are available right now.

(Note: If you’re talking steep icy skin tracks all bets are off. Nylon plush might be better, but so too your ski crampons. Thing about mohair is if you commit to it, you learn to adjust your technique and route. )


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


61 Responses to “Ruminations — Ski Touring Climbing Skins”

  1. steeplechase February 26th, 2015 12:18 pm

    Speaking of glide and brillo, is there a good way to remove smudges of errant Gold Label adhesive, due to a need for more stickum, from the plush side edges of the skin?

  2. Lou Dawson 2 February 26th, 2015 12:58 pm

    Carpe skium?

  3. Jimmi_Lee February 26th, 2015 1:17 pm

    Great Post. There are not enough comparisons between different climbing skins, let alone available information on individual climbing skins. I wish this post was up 2 months ago when I was shopping for new skins. I could have bought Montana brand skins for $60 less than the old faithful BD ascensions but literally could not find any information on the brand other than from their website. I was later told by a well respected store owner that he no longer carries Montana due to glue issues.

    I found it interesting that the two most popular and widely available skins in the US (Black Diamond Ascension and G3 Alpinist) are not mentioned in this post. Any comparisons between those mentioned in the post and the BD and G3’s? This may give us a US based readers a common language to contrast these skins to.

    For instance, in my experience the glue BD uses sticks better to skis than the G3 glue, is easier to pull the skins apart when doing laps, and has less tendency to be affected by snow/cold. G3 nylon plush has way more glide than BD’s nylon, packs smaller/lighter, but lacks (a lot) in grip.

  4. Mike February 26th, 2015 3:12 pm

    Is there a preferred method of waxing skins, specifically Mohair skins that he WS folks have found? I just rub on some glop stopper but I’ve heard of people hot waxing their skins or doing other weird things to get more glide, especially in the spring.

  5. Toby February 26th, 2015 3:28 pm

    @mike, I regularly hot wax my Kohla and BD mohair skins,. quick and easy. Not weird at all ; )

  6. Lenka K. February 26th, 2015 3:30 pm

    Ever since I completely trashed by first pair of skins (mohair) in about 30 outings (including one Chamonix-Zermatt), I’m a big fan of a skin quiver.

    Mohair for soft snow – superior glide and good grip
    Nylon for hard snow/spring corn – superior grip and durability.

    A mohair skin will still glide better on hard snow, but the difference isn’t that significant, whereas a nylon skin will have a much stronger grip. In soft snow, on the other hand, a nylon skin feels like your skis are velcroed to the snow, whereas you move almost effortlessly with a good mohair skin, no matter how wide or heavy your ski is (provided you GLIDE along, rather than LIFTING your ski at every step 🙂 ).

    A note on weight: my mohair skin (Colltex Carving Camlock, cut for a 127-88-109mm/170cm ski) weighs 435g, whereas my nylon skin (BD Ascension) for the same ski weighs 600g. But I suspect this depends on the manufacturer, rather than on the skin material.

    Lenka K.

  7. wyomingowen February 26th, 2015 3:49 pm


    I find it odd that following an engineering post we can’t standardize the proper terminology of adhesion and cohesion.

    FWIW The latest BD mohairs could be their best yet. They are definitely the most packable volume wise. Glue is strong but no fear of shoulder dislocation with great glide.

  8. Jason D February 26th, 2015 4:47 pm

    Ditto on the skin quiver. I have the bd mohair mix on my wide skis and old bd nylons for the skinnier sticks. In soft snow the wide skis actually glide noticeably better (122mm at the waist vs 89mm) !

  9. Patrick Fink February 26th, 2015 4:51 pm

    I’m using my second pair of Atomic Rocker skins on some Ultimate 78s, and I’m afraid that I can’t share your enthusiasm for them. Compared to some Coltex PDG race skins with a home-made bottle cap tip loop, the atomics are less durable and heavier. I’ve also never met a skin quite like them– one so adept at pulling out its own hair with its glue.

    The glue is another issue. I keep hearing things about euro glue being worse than US because of greater environmental regulation. I buy it. While these skins are goot at sticking to themselves, they’re pretty susceptible to water contamination and failure.

    The glide tip is a gimmick that actually prevents you from cutting a narrow tip profile– I didn’t need a wall to wall skin on the shovel anyways, but because the plastic is sewn (!) on, I can’t cut the stitching.

  10. Trent February 26th, 2015 4:55 pm

    wyomingowen and Jason D, could you be more specific with regard to brands, lengths, widths? Thanks.

  11. Lou Dawson 2 February 26th, 2015 5:43 pm

    Ha, I knew I’d hit a nerve! Thanks for the additional ruminations guys!

  12. Lou Dawson 2 February 26th, 2015 5:45 pm

    Gowen, please educate me. Lou

  13. Chet Roe February 26th, 2015 5:51 pm

    the biggest Atomic Rocker skins are $250 at your “available right now” site!!!!

  14. Lou Dawson 2 February 26th, 2015 6:02 pm

    Yep, stuff is getting expensive. So are mountain bikes, and sports car tires… BUT, not to be too flip, the saving thing is that you can have plenty of fun on a pair of budget nylon climbing skins, even used ones, and you might even find you are more relaxed in that icy steep wall-of-pain skin track… Lou

  15. Patrick Fink February 26th, 2015 6:21 pm

    I think my take is that there remains no good skins in this world. They all have fatal flaws, which for mohair, is durability. In the PNW, the mohair goes to hell pretty quickly with all of the icy skinning.

    I’m looking forward to innovation in skins as the sector grows and the binding innovation becomes more stagnant; hopefully polyurethane scales or some new tech will provide the glide of mohair, the grip of nylon, and a durability which rivals skis.

  16. Lou Dawson 2 February 26th, 2015 6:55 pm

    Skins are like ski boots, no real significant changes in 30 years. I mean, my stick-on Coltex mohairs in 1978 were pretty much the same thing I’m using today. That means change is imminent. I hope.

  17. Jason D February 26th, 2015 7:13 pm

    Sorry Trent,

    My wide skis are 189cm DPS Lotus 120’s which I reviewed on here a while ago.

    The narrower sticks are 177cm La Sportiva GT’s.

  18. Mike February 26th, 2015 7:59 pm

    Thanks Toby, I’ll give the hot wax a shot sometime soon. Did you find that it affected grip at all?

  19. Bar Barrique February 26th, 2015 8:40 pm

    As Lou has alluded to; skin tech has not significantly advanced in 30 years. While BC skiing has increased in popularity recently, the price increases for newer tech climbing skins is clearly opportunistic gouging. In the past Companies experienced higher cost due to low volumes. The raw materials do not justify the cost, and, the manufacturers are surely going to be facing competition from others seeking to “cash in”.
    The truth is that; the core of BC skiers are not all that wealthy, and, any perception of a “Gold Rush” is just that.

  20. See February 26th, 2015 9:45 pm

    I can’t recall observing anyone having a problem because their skins didn’t have enough glide. I’ve seen plenty of glue and grip related problems.

  21. XXX_er February 26th, 2015 10:15 pm

    Instead of wax I tried “Nikwak Ski Skin proof” during a particularly bad day of snow buildup, the instructions say it repels water, stops saturation, improves glide, you can apply it wet or dry, so my skins were wet, it stopped the snow sticking that night as well as for the rest of the season SO now i just treat the skins a couple of times a year at home and don’t worry about snow sticking altho I still carry a bar of wax just in case

    all glue seems to screw up at some point, regluing is not that hard to do

    My Pomoca are definatley lighter/ glide >
    than my G3 or BD

  22. Mark Worley February 26th, 2015 10:54 pm

    Nice side note on bad nylon versus good mohair. Good glide is addictive, but even crappy nylon glide far surpasses no glide at all. That said, I think too many people go nylon because that is all they know, or that is all that is readily available. I say spend a little extra and you’ll thank yourself later.

    By the way, waxing/ hot waxing skins is great. Check out how-tos on Youtube.

  23. See February 26th, 2015 11:10 pm

    Is mohair any different from plastic re. icing/”snow buildup?”

  24. Lenka K. February 27th, 2015 3:51 am


    A huge difference, in my experience (again, comparing Colltex Mohair and BD Nylon, never used other skins).

    Mohair tends to soak water less than nylon. And in changeable conditions (dry-wet-dry), mohair skins are–to an extent–self-drying. After a wet-dry transition, if you keep going and carefully glide your skis, most of the moisture picked-up by a mohair skin will be somehow be pushed out of it and it ends up almost dry–usually apart from a thin strip along the edges.

    Once a nylon skin gets soaked, it stays wet and even drying in the sun works very slowly (hours), whereas a mohair skin can be sun-dried in about 15-20 minutes — at least to a point where it will stop icing-up heavily.

    Lenka K.

  25. Rod February 27th, 2015 8:04 am

    I recently switched to the vwerks katana, full slight rocker from my bonafides.
    It seems to me that on steep icy tracks, I am slipping more.

    Could it be the full rocker?

  26. Lou Dawson 2 February 27th, 2015 8:12 am

    Rod, yes, I’ve noticed many times that the more rockered the ski the less skin grip, especially in dicy situations. While I’m a mohair snob, provided you can get nylon that grips better than mohair (buyer beware) the nylon can be appropriate if you mostly do steep skin tracks where you’re plodding instead of gliding or gently drifting the skis with each step as is done with mohair in a lower angled track. In the end, ski crampons are also an important solution — or a ski culture that prides in decent ski tracks. Lou

  27. Lou Dawson 2 February 27th, 2015 8:19 am

    I’ve probably used more skins, of more brands and types, than most people — so I’ll try to put that experience down on “paper” as we go along. Icing is more a function of the skin backing as well as the DWR treatment of the skin. It can even be a function of technique. If you tend to stomp step instead of glide your skis in your strides, you will tend to ice more. Even the color of the skis might be a factor.

    If there is anything that turns us off to skins more than lack of glide, it would be propensity to ice. Some of the brands/models out there seem to be more prone to icing. While I don’t feel comfortable naming names as our testing isn’t scientific, you can read between the lines. The skins we like are the ones that definitely have less tendency to ice, have glue that doesn’t come off on your hands and ski bases, and have some glide.

    Caveat, skins seem to have two distinct personalities. They behave one way when they’re fairly new, then change when they age. This makes comparo testing super difficult. So take anything you read anywhere about climbing skins with a grain of salt.


  28. Trent February 27th, 2015 8:21 am

    JasonD, thank you. where are you skiing?

  29. Lou Dawson 2 February 27th, 2015 8:21 am

    BTW, I’ve had mohair skins that did not glide much better than nylon… again, brand/model/age are keys. Lou

  30. wyomingowen February 27th, 2015 8:21 am

    adhere – 1. To stick fast to something; stay attached

    cohere-1. To stick or hold together in a mass that resists separation

    Indépendant qualities that greatly affect skin performance and durability.

    This is what Gecko was/is after and I think many of the skin co’s need to tweak their chemistry.

    Also, I believe there need s to be consideration of backing material, a major unidentifiable consideration. I read above some talking about nylon absorbing water??? It’s the backing.

    I have huge hopes for the Fischer ProFoil

    Lou, I wish you luck trying to quantify these attributes for a skin comparison.

  31. Cam February 27th, 2015 8:40 am

    I just don’t get it. Climbing skins are and have been almost foolproof. Sure they could be a little lighter and less prone to balling up in wet/dry conditions but any improvements will be minor. Why all the fuss? Mine tend to be work perfectly almost every day.

  32. swissiphic February 27th, 2015 9:07 am

    Anyone out there ever have any basement mods for increasing skin traction in loose facets on a hard crust? My experience with black diamond ascension, g3 alpinist and high traction skins have shown that all face challenges in this specific snow condition for steep skinning in terrain that doesn’t allow a low angle attitude. I haven’t yet, but wondering if rubbing glob stopper on skins in cold temps for faceted snow might help in this situation albeit with the acknowledged compromise of probably eliminating any glide? Ski crampons are ineffective if the loose facet layer is too deep.

  33. Curt Moore February 27th, 2015 10:03 am

    I have been using various types of skins for 31 years with maybe 25 days per year on mostly steep skin tracks in the dry snow areas Tetons, Red. Mtn and Pass Cameron Pass. I have had only a few problems…going thru a mtn. spring seep then over into dry snow..Generally the BD Ascension skins work well for steep tracks when glide is irrelevant…not enough horsepower to get it uphill..Doing multiple quick laps I keep the skins warm inside my jacket…no ice up..Use glopstopper in spring..the lesser glide in steep country is good on occasion…Going down windy, stumpy steep trail ..maybe in low is good to keep skins on and make it out uninjured…So slow glide helps in that situation…I have use nordic waxes for long mellow approaches and put skins right over great..

  34. Aaron February 27th, 2015 10:26 am

    My biggest grip with skins is the annual glue destroying spring trip where the snow surface is covered in conifer needles and the invariably wet warm conditions pop skins off with instant full coverage of glue with needles.

  35. Phil February 27th, 2015 11:04 am

    I’m so confused…

  36. swissiphic February 27th, 2015 11:13 am

    @ Aaron; while skins are wet, scrape/pick off big needles and junk with needlenose pliers, dry skins, reinvigorate skin glue with a good slow pass with a hot air gun. I found it melts all the other gunk and junk into the glue…still goo, but extends the life of the remaining glue for a bit.

  37. Curt Moore February 27th, 2015 11:35 am

    Lou, I took note of your end note: “All bets are off on steep icy skin tracks”..For most of us I am guessing we encounter these conditions most the time..We go to popular spots…passes in Colorado and Wyoming…And people with weekdays free beat us to the goods and set the tracks..often steep..but they get slicker with use and melt-freeze..Spells between storms make it icy..When I do get to set a skin track in fresh snow, glide is hardly a factor either. Sure there are some short ridgetop areas to glide but that barely makes up for struggling from backsliding on a pre-existing track..Given that “steep icy skin tracks”are common..and setting uptrack in fresh pow will not involve glide…tell me why glide is emphasized so much? Are tracks in Europe less steep? Long approaches in the Elk Range? What Wildsnow worthy situation requires good glide at the loss of solid climbing?

  38. Lou Dawson 2 February 27th, 2015 4:01 pm

    Curt, it’s indeed situational. Shoe fits, etc…. Where does glide matter? Any skin track that’s set at the most efficient angle. Lots of those in Europe, some in North America and more all the time. It also matters when the going is moderately steep and you’re not really gliding your body mass, but you are still gliding the ski over the snow rather than picking it up. Myself and others with lots of years have done plenty of experimenting, the most efficient angle for skinning is not straight up, but rather the angle that works with medium lift on most tech bindings. Reasons for this are many, but mainly that it’s much easier to relax your body and regulate your breathing and pace. Super fit strong guys, it doesn’t matter for them, and some folks just have a psychological barrier against moderate angles. They’ve learned to go steep and that’s what they want. I really don’t have anything against that, it’s just that I know what works best and that’s what I’m going to emphasize in writing and gear choices.

    Also, some mohair grips as good as nylon, though it does wear faster, and the mohair/nylon mixes definitely have some traction. Whatever the case, if a skin track is really steep and icy you might as well just put the ski crampons on and forget about glide as even a fantasy.

    Worst is the guys who climb super steep only to traverse level or even drop a bit. You see a skin track like that you know it’s just plain wrong!


  39. Bar Barrique February 27th, 2015 7:20 pm

    Swissiphic; “skin traction on loose facets on a hard crust”
    In this situation, you have a layer of snow that your skin has traction on, and, then this layer of snow slides on the hard layer underneath. So the only solution that I can think of is crampons. This can happen in the spring as well, when the top layer of snow warming up in the sun gets soft, and, slides on the layer underneath.

  40. Nate Porter February 27th, 2015 9:37 pm

    Regarding skin track angle, I prefer moderately steep over super steep when possible. Sometimes terrain and tree cover dictate the most efficient angle. For instance, a steep slope with denser/inconvenient tree cover might make it hard to set a lower angle track. It might take a lot of wandering around, traversing, and, gasp, down hill skinning, when the more unobstructed path is to go steeper. Just depends on the situation, I guess.

  41. swissiphic February 27th, 2015 9:40 pm

    @Bar Barrique; The specific snow condition i’m referring to doesn’t involved the layer of facets ‘sliding on the crust’. It’s simply the skins not maintaining traction in a DEEP layer of settled sometimes stiffer facets. I speculate this simply due to the fact that the Black Diamond Ascension skins grip noticably better than the G3 Alpinist and similarly to the G3 High Traction. If it was a case of the facets sliding on the hard crust then all skins would slide backwards similarly, one would think.

  42. Lou Dawson 2 March 1st, 2015 10:05 am

    Just a note that we’ve heard some reports of the Contour Hybrid skins having glue that comes apart in small delaminations, especially where the skins are folded. This is of course covered by warranty, and not a day breaker, but definitely something to watch for.

  43. Werner Koch March 6th, 2015 6:43 am

    Hi Lou, I’m coming back on the issue of small delaminations of the hybrid glue with some background information: Both layers of the hybrid glue are produced according to different formulas, the tack on the surface shows some tolerances due to the chemical ingredients. Now, if a below average permanent side (to back of skin) is connected to an above average release layer (to ski base) we had this issue. Only when the skins are folded glue to glue over a longer period of time, small pieces may delaminate, which will not affect overall performance and reliability. If the mesh panel is used for longer time storage just as described in the instructions, no problems will arise even with critical batches. After we tracked down the reasons and moved the application process in-house we are confident that for 15/16 even this optical impairment won’t occur at all.
    None of the OEM products including Atomic 15/16 samples are affected, these have always been laminated in-house.

  44. Lou Dawson 2 March 6th, 2015 6:57 am

    Thanks Werner, appreciate you leaving the official take. Good to hear this is not an endemic problem with the Hybrid glue. I’d add that to get best performance from any climbing skin, care for it well… Lou

  45. David March 6th, 2015 4:05 pm

    I’m a ski Neanderthal when it comes to gear. I bought my first pair of climbing skins in 1988 (Voile Snake skins) and I’m *still* using Snake Skins (but not the same pair). I have always appreciated the easy on/off but admit they have little or no glide. No matter—they work for me.

    I recognize that todays skins are [mostly] all based on glue/adhesives but wonder if a modern version of Snake Skins is possible? Yeah, I know, that strap is an issue for edging.

    (Ducks for cover as folks hurl their worn-out skins my way!)


  46. Lou Dawson 2 March 6th, 2015 4:51 pm

    David, that is ridiculous, or the most clever sympathy ploy to ever grace the hallowed pages of I’ll take the bait. I’ve got some skins you could probably use. Where are you located? Lou

  47. DavidB March 6th, 2015 6:56 pm

    Lou…It is not a ploy nor is it ridiculous to ask. My apologies for wasting everyone’s time with what I thought was a legitimate query.

    But I am looking for a replacement for my Voile Snake Skins. That’s the honest truth.



  48. Lou Dawson 2 March 6th, 2015 8:40 pm

    David, I was just trying for some humor. Contact us using link in menu above. Lou

  49. aaron_b March 6th, 2015 9:38 pm

    it says out of stock but to check back later. new snakes in the works? hahahah DavidB: what is your locale and ski dimensions? I have a stack of old skins for skis long gone.

  50. See March 7th, 2015 1:49 am

    David, did you see these? They’ve got the lack of absorbency, but I guess they still uses glue.

  51. See March 7th, 2015 2:05 am

    And if it’s the glue that you don’t like, maybe just use a scraper and a heat gun to strip some plush skins with good tip and tail attachments and sew on some straps.

  52. David March 7th, 2015 4:21 pm

    Those will never be back in stock as Voile quit making them years ago.
    And thanks for that link to Voile. I was looking at those the other day.

    I’m interested in the new Fischer skins. Could be an interesting entry in the market but will have to wait until next season.


    I still like to use climbing wax on my skis and am uncertain that glue skins will adhere to that wax. That’s why I used Snake Skins.

    I emailed GeckoSkins (January 2012) and was assured that their skins would work with a waxed ski. Also emailed ClipSkins (January 2013) but their web page currently indicates there are no products for sale at this time.

    Thanks to all who replied.


  53. aaron_b March 7th, 2015 5:03 pm

    David-no problem. Again, a little humor. Also, when I lived up in the Adirondacks, kickwax was a necessity for the long flat approaches they have there. Initially I scraped it off before adding skins but eventually just slapped skins on right over the kick wax and never had issues with the skins (un)sticking.

  54. stephen April 16th, 2015 12:50 pm

    Anyone have any suggestions for what works for multiple laps in wet spring snow? By works I mean “remains attached to the ski.”

    Seems like strap-on skins at least stay semi-attached, not that they exist these days.

    Also, I’ve noticed in Norway the last couple of years a trend towards easily attached 1/2 length skins for XC touring; they look interesting, and may reduce icing at the front. Both Asnes, and now Fischer offer them:

  55. Lou Dawson 2 April 16th, 2015 4:33 pm

    Stephen, if you’re serious about the wet touring, carry a dry cotton towel in a plastic bag, wipe down ski base just before applying skins. Simple solution, works fine. More rad solution is to carry two sets of skins, and the towel. Lou

  56. Nick Crews October 7th, 2016 9:03 am

    Has anyone use the Kohla Vacuum Base 2.0 version? I heard that they fixed the issue of them falling off in the cold, but would love to hear more.

  57. hairymountainbeast December 6th, 2016 1:55 pm

    Anyone have any opinion of the new ‘ultralight’ bd skins?

  58. Nick January 2nd, 2018 9:05 am

    I have an opinion hairymountainbeast! They are the worst skins I’ve ever owned.

    My wife and I both started this season with brand new BD ultralite mohair mix skins, and are now having the same issue. I have always used BD skins in the past, and they’re worked great for me. I had the non-ultralite mohair mix skins last year for a pair of skis I sold and they performed outstandingly.

    This year, however, the glue has been continually failing in a variety of conditions. I’ve never had so many problems. I have used them 10 times and they were failing by the sixth. My wife has the same skins and is having the same problems.

    It seems that snow is working its way under the glue side from the tip on back. After I strip the skins for the first run of the day, I need to be HYPER vigilant of maintenance, i.e. scraping them on my ski edges, keeping them next to my closest layer to keep them warm, being super careful not to let any additional snow get onto them, and so on. I have never owned a skin that required this much maintenance. Despite all of these troubleshooting tips destroying my transition times, they continue to fail me, losing their adhesion a few hours into the day.

    Have you been hearing this from anyone else? What do you recommend? I have already tried reactivating the glue by doing the iron-on-parchment paper technique. Regluing them? New skins? Very disappointed.

  59. atfred January 3rd, 2018 9:58 am

    I’ve had trouble with skins with marginal glue adhesion in the past, most notable in wet or cold weather after a few transitons (gotta love tail clips!)

    I’ve had pretty good results applying a little BD gold label glue ( on top of the existing glue and letting it dry overnight.

    If the skins are good otherwise, you might give it a try.

    Also, I make sure the ski bottoms are dry, and I rub the skins by hand to create a little friction between glue and ski – but, I suspect you’re probably already doing that.

  60. Al April 14th, 2018 9:03 pm

    Hi- anybody have any experience with the “atomic 95 skins”? They are cut specific to the backland skis. Specifically does anybody know if they are 100% mohair, 70/30, what kind of glue they have? I’ve acquired the skis and can get the skins, but they’re not available in the u.s. now and I’m not sure I want to if people have had bad experiences with them. Atomic has 100% mohair “hybrid glue” skins, but these are not them. Thanks

  61. Mark W January 25th, 2019 11:44 am

    Eyed some Montana skins, full mohair, with leather length adjustment strap, and clips behind the bindings. In near mint condition, these skins were probably bought 35+ years ago, but sat in some military surplus gear storage for 40 years prior to that! Amazing. The plush hardly looked used, and yes, they’re likely WWII vintage. Very cool.

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  • 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.

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