Contour Climbing Skins — New and Factory 2018-2019

Post by blogger | October 25, 2018      

(Post sponsored by our publishing partner Cripple Creek Backcountry.)

Laser cutter, ski touring climbing skins.

Contour likes their new laser cutting table. They had to rent an entire building to hold the thing. It is enormous due to the ventilation system (lasers make smoke) and the skin material roll dispenser.

My somewhat annual report on happenings at Contour (Koch Alpin): We liked the original Hybrid glue that Contour began testing in fall of 2014 (they distributed 100 pairs that first season). There were a few glitches along the way, but nothing heinous (and everything is backed up by warranty).

Going forward, for 2018-2019 the Hybrid glue boasts ever stronger bonding to the skin fabric, with more tack to your ski base. It is still washable, and cleanable with wax remover (cleaning can bring the skin back to 100% factory tack). In my view, what’s coolest is they’ll be selling the Contour skins with NO re-usable storage backing. They’re confident in their chemistry. You will never chase those wind flapping flags again — store glue-to-glue and be done with it. (Boxed retail skins will be sold with a non-reusable warehouse liner, tricked out to make cutting skins easier, see below.)

Eventually, all the Hybrid skins will have this black bonding layer.

Eventually, all the Hybrid skins will have this black bonding layer, interfacing the glue with the actual climbing skin textile. While similar in weight, the black has several advantages for ski touring. It’s more supple, thus providing a friendly flexible feel and easy packing. The black should be beneficial for sun drying (you can leave Hybrid glue in the sun without damage, doing so with most other glues can be problematic.) Most of all in terms of “end user” benefits, as pictured above the black does a better job showing dirt contamination (footprint shown), so you’ll know when to clean. This will be an ‘inline’ change, you’ll see it filtering into retail around November.

This is genius.

For simplicity Contour will sell their custom cut skins in only two widths (115 and 135 mm). They’ll come with a pre-cut glue liner. For cutting, you’ll strip out the middle part of the liner, leaving the nearly friction-less edges stuck to the glue. Adhere to the ski, you’ll have plastic over the edges so you can slide the cutting tool with virtually no resistance. I tried it. Revelation. This configuration is terrific for DIY skin cutting, and should speed up things at the retailer as well.

Cutting. Liner plastic remains on the skin, over the ski edges, allowing the cutter to move like  going through warm butter.

Cutting. Liner plastic remains on the skin, over the ski edges, allowing the cutter to move like you’re spreading warm butter on a thick slice of Austrian Hausbrot.

Contour makes branded skins for several other companies.

Contour makes branded skins for several other companies. Check the Hybrid mini site for the list.

Contour will continue their hot glue skins as well.

Contour will continue their hot glue skins as well. They’re available in 100% mohair or nylon-mo mix.

These guys are located in Hall, Austria. The historic town rivals Innsbruck in 'old country' feel, without the tourist crowds.

These guys are located in Hall, Austria. The historic old-town rivals Innsbruck in ‘historic’ feel, without the tourist crowds. Locals like to explain that the dollar was “invented” here, as a silver coin called the “Taler.”

A few more items: Contour will change their standard tip loop to a riveted version. To swap tip loops, you’ll need to drill out the rivets, then re-do with supplied replacements. They’re doing this because the formerly supplied Varioclip was fiddly as a standard tip fix system, thus sometimes installed incorrectly by users. We like the Varioclip. It’ll remain available. Likewise, Contour’s excellent accessories such as the Shark tail-hook. Incidentally, we were told the new black bonding material was in once case tested with 120,000 vertical meters of real-life ski touring use!

It should be mentioned that Contour’s excellent split skins will remain available. We’ve found these to be a life saver for ski testing. Options in this are the “Hybrid Free” for skis at minimum waist 95 millimeters, and the “Hybrid Fat Free” for minimum 108 mm.

In a previous post I called Hybrid “The Tesla of ski climbing skins.” Contour owner Werner Koch and I joked that perhaps that’s not such a great analogy these days, given the twists and turns of Tesla. So I’ll amend, how about the “Daimler?” Nah, German company, Contour is Austrian. “Ferrari?” Dead simile. Readers, can you rescue me? Huquavarna of ski climbing skins? Dreamliner?

We’ve done an enormous amount of Contour ski touring climbing skins coverage, try a site search.


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


37 Responses to “Contour Climbing Skins — New and Factory 2018-2019”

  1. Mark W October 25th, 2018 8:45 am

    I cut skins with disposable backing on the ski and it does keep the adhesive from gumming up the cutter. Cool to see this addressed by the manufacturer. And not having “skin savers” in the mix is smart. I only use mine for storage. Washable glue it really innovative. Smart.

  2. Mark W October 25th, 2018 8:50 am

    Contour is the Milan Automotive (first Austrian supercar) of climbing skins??

  3. Powbanger October 25th, 2018 9:46 am

    This is the same method of triming skins Montana Sport developed in their “trim to fit” line three years ago. Nothing new about it.

  4. Lou Dawson 2 October 25th, 2018 10:12 am

    Thanks Pow, appreciate the help. I’ll edit. Lou

  5. Jernej October 25th, 2018 12:24 pm

    If you want to stick to car theme it could be Porsche as the first cars built under the name were made in Gmünd, Kärnten (now a nice museum). Otherwise the biggest Austrian brands are Red Bull and Swarowski (just googled that)

  6. Lou Dawson 2 October 25th, 2018 12:50 pm

    I know certain people who would say calling something a “Swarowki” would be somewhat of an insult, “Red Bull” on the other hand… (smile)

  7. Werner Koch October 25th, 2018 1:51 pm

    Thanks for the kudos Lou and Lisa, always really nice to have you around. BTW, would appreciate if you wouldn’t mention the laser cutter model name in your post, thanks!
    Best wishes, Werner

  8. Werner Koch October 25th, 2018 2:00 pm

    …just ckecked out Montana skins website/YouTube channel, seems they really came up with a similar trimming idea but on a hotmelt skin, hope it works for them just as well as for us – live and let live ; )

  9. David B October 25th, 2018 2:55 pm

    Great skins. I loved the skins so much I became the Australian distributor for them.

    There’s an ad in there somewhere I think Lou.

  10. Werner koch October 25th, 2018 3:03 pm

    Just realized I misspelled “checked” in the latest comment, Lou, please correct and cancel this ; )

  11. JCoates October 25th, 2018 3:03 pm

    How about?: “The Marcel Hirscher of climbing skins.”

  12. Jernej October 25th, 2018 10:50 pm

    I’d say Anna Veith is even better 🙂

  13. Jim Milstein October 25th, 2018 11:10 pm

    Tesla is okay again, Lou, at least for a few days. But instead of commercial products, whose status can change for the worse, how about a prominent natural feature –– a mountain, perhaps? “These skins are truly the Mt Elbert of skins!”

    Just got a new pair of the Contour Hybrid Mix. So tacky! but in a good way.

  14. powbanger October 26th, 2018 12:45 pm

    This style of trimming skins has been working with reviews similar to the opinions above since Montana introduced it three years ago with the “cut n go” line of skins. Attaching the skin down the middle of the ski base while leaving the plastic on the skin, over the edges, for trimming is key when dealing with very tacky hotmelt adhesion material.

    Not wishing to hijack the thread, Coutour’s Hybrid mix adhesion material is certainly pushing skin adhesion tech to new levels. Well done Werner

  15. David Field October 26th, 2018 12:54 pm

    FWIW Contour website is not particularly useful in locating north american shops selling their skins, in particular for Canada. Looks like Backcountry has them online.

  16. Werner Koch October 26th, 2018 1:59 pm

    Hi, regarding retailers I suggest you contact our contour distributor for NA Camp USA at
    Asking for contour skins at your local mountain sports retailer may help gaining widespread retail presence – thanks ; )

  17. Jasper October 29th, 2018 12:51 pm

    How about the ketchup of the mustard?

  18. Paul Lohnes October 29th, 2018 3:01 pm

    So is the glue to glue storage just for the newest skins, or can you go glue to glue on the previous version? Thanks

  19. Werner Koch October 29th, 2018 4:08 pm

    Hi Paul, glue to glue storage works for the latest versions that were sold with transparent sheets covering the glue (not white ones). More or less all skins sold by our distributor in NA in 17/18 and 18/19… Best regards, Werner

  20. Paul Lohnes October 30th, 2018 3:01 am

    Thanks Werner, I have the 16/17 version…which i love..So is the white sheet needed only for long term storage or should i be using it during the day when skinning/skiiing?

  21. Werner Koch October 30th, 2018 2:30 pm

    Hi Paul, no problem zu gold/roll the skins at the peak, back home fold them using the sheet and hang them to dry. Best regards, Werner

  22. Pat Fortino November 8th, 2018 10:21 am

    I have not used this version, but the previous version did not stick reliably after about 60 days. Two of my friends had the same skins and theirs lasted about 30 days. I cleaned them multiple times but it did little or nothing to help. Since I ski around 80 days a year, a skin that lasts only 60 is not practical.

    It would be nice to hear a review of the glue durability after the skins have been used a lot.

  23. Jim Milstein November 8th, 2018 10:40 am

    Okay, Pat. I used the early Contour Hybrid Mix skins for 150 ski days and then whined to Werner Koch about them not adhering well. He scolded me as a typical American skier who thinks skins should be passed down to subsequent generations, which in fact I did believe.

    I collapsed under the force of Werner’s argument and bought new ones, which are much better, even, than the first set, which lasted a measly one hundred fifty ski days. Grip and glide are improved too. It seems I had worn the old ones out.

    To clean, I wet a clean cloth with Goo Gone® then scrub the adhesive. Works great and is cheap and widely available. GG is also good for removing wax from ski soles.

  24. Pat Fortino November 8th, 2018 10:53 am

    Hi Jim, Thanks for the report; glad to hear you got so many days out of Contours. I agree that 150 days is fine for skin glue. I can usually get at least 100 days before I re-glue skins. But I have rarely worn out a skin plush; I mostly ski powder or soft snow so the plus lasts a long time. Also, I usually change ski width enough that I have to buy new skins before they are worn out.

    However, 60 days is a bit premature for glue failure, or, in the case of my 2 friends, 30 days.

    After Contour glue failure, I switched to pomoca pro glide s, but have only about 30 days on them. They don’t glide as well as contour, but that might be because they are newer. And they are still a bit hard to pull apart and to pull off the ski, but not like BD Glidelite skins. They stick much better than contours, even new contours.

  25. Jim Milstein November 8th, 2018 11:29 am

    My newest Contour Hybrid Mix skins, this year’s, were sticky enough the first few days to require two stout tugs each to rip off while standing. But, then, I’m old and feeble. Now that they’ve picked up a little dirt and wax they are easier to rip, until I clean them.

    I, too, ski mostly soft snow (and deadfall) found in the Wolf Creek Pass region in S Colorado.

  26. Pat Fortino November 8th, 2018 11:40 am

    Jim: Must be they changed the formula because mine were NEVER hard to pull off or pull apart. That’s the reason I bought them. I’m old and feeble too and like to peel my skins without taking off my skis 🙂

    Also, I used to ski a lot at Wolf Creek Pass from mid 80s to 2006. Some great glade skiing there due to Forest Service STEP logging (Selective Telemark Enhancement Program). Good base and deep powder is what I remember about Wolf Creek Pass.

  27. Werner November 8th, 2018 1:27 pm

    Hi Pat, thanks for comments. I am pretty sure you can fully restore the tack by cleaning the skins thoroughly using our cleaning spray or wax remover and a brittle sponge or brush. Washing helps but won’t eliminate wax residues that reduce the tack over time. Let me know if it works out fine.

    Hi Jim, thanks for the positive feedback, happy to hear our products live up to your expectations ; )

    Regarding the different generations of contour hybrid skins, here are some insights: when we finally brought them to market, we had a pretty good tack but found out that the glue might delaminate in little spots if the protection foil is not used for storage (in contrary to the instructions). Then we slightly reduced the tack and thus reduced the delamination issues but were not 100 % happy with performance in cold or wet conditions. The latest version (everything that shipped to NA in 1718 and 1819) features a much better bond of the inner layer of glue to the back of the skins and we increased the tack again. So, they may need a little more power to separate (but still much easier that hot melt glue) but perform in difficult conditions. However they do attract dust and dirt. So it is crucial to wipe of the ski base if dirty to keep dirt off the glue. If tack is reduced, clean them as described above to reactivate the glue. More questions?
    Have a great winter!
    Werner Koch

  28. Pat Fortino November 8th, 2018 1:44 pm

    Hi Werner, Thanks for the info. It’s too late for my contour skins: I roughed up the glue and put regular skin glue over it, which worked ok for a while. But I’ll tell my friends about cleaning them with wax remover.

  29. justin November 17th, 2018 3:46 pm

    I just cut my new warranty Contour mix hybrid skins. Man, that clear liner with the pull out middle sure makes trimming them easy!! These were warranty skins because I had some significant glue delamination issues with my previous pair, sounds like this was addressed and I’m hopeful the fix worked. You definitely have to be more careful as far as not getting snow on the “glue”, but overall I have really liked them. The only time I have really had a major issue was a late spring tour on the afternoon skin out when everything was drenched, I had serious problems getting them to stick in those conditions. Not sure if the new beefed up adhesive will be any better…

  30. justin November 17th, 2018 4:00 pm

    I forgot to mention, customer service with Camp (Contour distributor) was awesome, they replaced my skins no questions asked.

  31. Werner Koch November 18th, 2018 2:38 am

    Hi Justin, glad to hear, Thanks.
    Keep us updated on your experiences. Current version should work much better in wet snow but always remember to keep hybrid glue clean and sticky and wipe off skibase before putting on skins. Enjoy winter!

  32. Alan January 31st, 2019 9:07 am

    I have used a pair of Hybrid mohair skins on about 35 tours this winter with temps ranging from -18 C (0 F) to about 2 C (36 F) and from dumping snow to bluebird days. Up until recently, zero problem with skin adhesion with multiple transitions on a tour. The last few tours, especially one on a snowy day around 0 C, adhesion became a problem. I purchased the glue cleaner and, as has been reported, the skin glue tack / adhesion has returned to original condition. So, when purchasing these skins go ahead and purchase a bottle of the cleaner. It took less than 10 minutes to clean and rinse both skins.

  33. Alan January 31st, 2019 9:17 am

    I forgot to add that with the white skin backing material, it is NOT obvious to see contamination (such as wax) on the adhesive but, given the results of cleaning, the contamination was present. I guess with newer version having black backing material it will be easier to see contaminates.

  34. Jim Milstein January 31st, 2019 9:50 am

    Who needs to see glue contamination? If the skin is not sticking as well as you like, it is time to clean it. I use Goo Gone, which is cheap and commonly available. After scrubbing, the residual Goo Gone evaporates quickly. It is also good for removing wax from skis. Goo too, they say, but I have not tried it for goo. You?

  35. Alan January 31st, 2019 10:10 am

    Of course skin sticking is a great indication but my comment was intended just to point out that even if you can’t see contaminates they are present and the cleaning, as recommended by Contour, does exactly what Contour says it will. Routine cleaning of skin adhesive is a new concept for many and I just wanted to confirm that it works as advertised by Contour.

    As for what to clean with, since I don’t know the makeup of the adhesive, I’m using the cleaner supplied by Contour. I will assume that what they are supplying is not going to decrease overall life of the adhesive. Other popular cleaners could be more aggressive.

    Happy skiing Jim!

  36. Jim Milstein January 31st, 2019 10:22 am

    I got 150 days of backcountry skiing with an earlier pair of Contour skins, which I cleaned with Goo Gone. The mixed fiber plush was shot, so I replaced them. Adhesive was delam’ing a bit at tip and tails as well. Werner sez current version has solved that problem. The new skins’ adhesive seems definitely improved.

    So far, Werner touts his cleaner, but he does not warn against using other cleaners despite knowing that people do. Me, for example.

  37. Paul Lohnes January 31st, 2019 10:54 am

    So I have I guess what would be 2016 version (not the black base pictured above). Maybe 30 Tours. I have tried a whole can of the Contour cleaner and feel like they should be clean, but the tackiness is just not what it was. In really cold, it can be a challenge. I really do like the skins, but would prefer to not to have to buy the 18/19 models just yet. Any ideas for either cleaning or possibly ironing? Thanks

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