Gecko — Touch a Pair Several Times a Day

Post by blogger | January 10, 2009      

Since Gecko skins have revolutionary glue, and their Innsbruck offices are near here, I drove over there for a morning chat with developer Michael Puelacher and cohort Peter Geiger. Interesting to get the whole story.

Backcountry Skiing

Michael Puelacher (left) and Peter Geiger with some of their skins.

Turns out the oddly sticky-non-sticky surface of the Gecko is a concoction of silicone, basically the same type used in breast implants, only stirred up with a few secret ingredients to make it work as skin glue.

Backcountry Skiing

One of Michael's first prototypes. He found the so-called glue was being used in the sticky pads sold for your car dashboard, to hold cell phones and such. He got some of the same material in bulk, cut it up, and applied it to a Coltex skin as an experiment. The stuff worked, so he went on to have the glue applied in a much thinner and more permanent fashion.

Both guys are very aware that their hook&loop tip fix is not the slick final version of attachment they’d like to have for backcountry skiing. I recommended something like a G3 or BD tail fix and they seemed to be considering that sort of thing, so we’ll see what they end up with. Best news was that their latest skin material will not require edge fusing after cutting, and that their latest plush is a bit more glidy than what I’ve been testing (what I’ve been using is actually pretty good, so more slide will be exceptional). Once they get a better tip of tail fix method, I’d recommend giving Geckos a go if you’re in the market for a new set of mohair skins. I have to say I really like the hassle free adhesive — just remember it’s in some ways the opposite to conventional glues in that you need to take more care when applying but less care during and after removal.

As for Gecko providing a nylon version of their skin, they said they’re considering it. I tried to explain that North American skin tracks tend to be suited to nylon since they’re on average steeper, and that many skiers have come to depend on the durability of nylon as well. Crux for guys like this is that the whole North American ski touring market is about the equivalent of one EU skiing country such as Switzerland or Austria, so what we need over the pond is not a big motivation to what they make here. On the other hand, we red blooded American male backcountry skiers should take note of what Michael mentioned is one of the top selling points of their product: that you can touch breasts several times a day by using Gecko skins! That, my friends, is a definite change to the world of backcountry skiing.

Austrian travel.

Driving the autobahn up to Innsbruck in the morning. This castle is a landmark I've come to know from now having done this part of the trip many times to reach various ski tours. When you're driving around it's amazing how many old castles you see lurking here and there. Some are broken down relics, while others have been rebuilt into public attractions or private mansions.

(Some of you might wonder why I keep covering these skins. Simple answer. Basically, skin glue has been doing the same thing in the same way for about thirty years. Thus, I regard a change in how glue works as super important and worth as much blog time as I can give to it. Rumor holds that other skin companies are scrambling to come up with their own versions of this sort of adhesive, so when that happens will get them into the mix as well. Till then Michael and Peter are stealing the show.)


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11 Responses to “Gecko — Touch a Pair Several Times a Day”

  1. AK Jack January 10th, 2009 10:14 am

    A lot of great things come in pairs: skis, skins, breasts.

    I can’t wait to fondle some
    Gecko skins.

  2. alwaysacritic January 10th, 2009 12:50 pm

    Unless that glue is sneakily performing teraflops to calculate how to stop themselves from flopping, I think you meant silicone, not silicon!

  3. Lou January 10th, 2009 1:46 pm

    Good point sacritic!

  4. Mark January 11th, 2009 2:18 pm

    Sounds like they’re on the right track. My biggest gripe right now with currently-available skins is that my shop rents them–and customers treat them badly!! In only a few outings they look far worse than mine which have dozens of trips under their plush.

  5. Marc January 11th, 2009 7:36 pm

    What’s the weight, Lou?

  6. Lou January 11th, 2009 11:34 pm

    Weight is average to light, the plush and backing are basically the same thing as any other mohair skin, the glue is pretty thin.

  7. Charlie January 12th, 2009 11:00 pm

    Any word on how they hold up to pine needles, pollen, dirt, pumice, and occasional rock climbing? Any glue that doesn’t irreversibly pick up dirt is better glue. Cold and warm/wet weather performance?

  8. Lou January 12th, 2009 11:48 pm

    Charlie, that’s the whole idea of these things, they don’t easily pick up dirt, and if they do they’re easy to clean. They’d perhaps be the better rental skin, for example.

  9. Johann January 20th, 2009 8:07 am

    very bad reception from customers of this product in the last season, in different german speaking moutaineering forums. Also the price is 30 above the most widespread skins. mabe that change that season, we will see.

  10. Lou January 20th, 2009 8:29 am

    Johann, indeed, we will see. Everyone should have a chance to improve their products.

  11. Rob February 13th, 2010 5:09 pm

    Hey Lou, i didn’t know where to post this so here it is:
    Have you heard of reactivating skin glue before resorting to a complete reglue?
    Here’s a link. check out Rick Liu’s (from Climbing Skins Direct) comments under “Restoring the Stickiness.” Basically running a hot iron over the glue.

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