(This post sponsored by our publishing partner Cripple Creek Backcountry.)
Way back in January (or was it February?) I not only chatted up Contour at ISPO, but Fritz Barthel and I also made a visit to their HQ near Innsbruck, Austria. I’m still incredibly high on these magic carpets. Yeah, they’re expensive, but the Hybrid glue is incredible stuff. You can clean it with what’s essentially wax remover, and for us the Contour stickum is the perfect balance between tacky and removable.
So what’s new in the world of Contour? I think the important news is that indeed the Hybrid glue did delam for some folks during the original retail iteration (not a day breaker and covered by warranty). I’m happy to say after nearly a whole winter of testing that the latest Hybrid is bomber. Nary a problem, and I put probably 40 days on the set of mohairs that Werner cut for my Volkle VTA88s. What’s more, we put a few other sets into play as well — the mohair-nylon mix — and they performed well.
While I wasn’t doing much A/B climbing skin testing this winter, I did get the sense that Contour’s mohair picked up snow a bit more easily than the various brands of nylon mix I used. An occasional rub with skin wax seemed to fix that.
On the manufacturing side, other news is Contour figured out a proprietary method of heat sealing the edges of their pre-cut skins. We’re running a set of those in mohair, badged by Atomic, on a pair of next season’s Backland 95 skis. They’re holding up perfectly, no unraveling, clean edges on the skins that still look “factory.”
Other Contour skin gear we’ve been testing: I’ve had a few sets of Werner’s excellent tip loop clamshell anchors in play. They’re working well, though we’ve discovered they need to be carefully installed to avoid the skin pulling out (easily fixed, but more of an indoors 5-minute project than something you want to be doing on the trail). Beyond our fandom of Hybrid Contour skin glue, we’re still singing praises for their Shark Tailhook, perfect if you like rigging your skins so they’re removable from the tip.
Search our Contour skins coverage.
Looking for summer deals on climbing skins? At Cripple Creek Backcountry this weekend I noticed they’ve still got a nice variety of skins. Get in touch and make a deal. As Werner Koch always reminds me: “If you ski quite a few days, your climbing skins are like your bicycle tires — don’t hesitate to replace when the fur begins to wear out.”
Bonus skin care tips from Werner:
1. Clean your ski bases before applying skins. This is especially important if you’ve been skiing at a resort where they groom snow, as your ski bases will have diesel and other automotive residues that can damage your skin glue.
2. Ultraviolet light, sunlight, damages most formulations of climbing skin adhesive. An occasional quick dry in the sun is probably ok, but don’t get in the habit of hanging your skins outside in the sun after every tour.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain. For more about Lou, please see his personal website at https://www.loudawson.com/ (Blogger stats: 5 foot 10 inches (178 cm) tall, 160 lbs (72574.8 grams).