Pomoca Race Pro 2.0 Skins — Not Just For Competition

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | January 11, 2019      

Gary Smith

Post sponsored by Cripple Creek Backcountry, now with three locations in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

The Race Pro 2.0s gripped their way up soggy conditions in the Worm Flows then doubled as a dry seat on the crater rim of Mt Saint Helens, Washington.

The Race Pro 2.0s gripped their way up soggy conditions in the Worm Flows then doubled as a dry seat on the crater rim of Mt Saint Helens, Oregon.

The battle to shave weight in ski touring gear rages on. Case in point: one of the biggest ski mountaineering lines in history was conquered this past fall in four buckle Tecnica boots. Jim Morrison and Hilaree Nelson climbed to the 27,940 foot summit of Lhotse, and skied the Lhotse Couloir in the impossibly light 1,300 gram Tecnica Zero G Pro Tour. A similar boot just a few years ago would have weighed significantly more.

There is however another factor of physics to consider in ski touring: friction between climbing skin and snow. Yes Wildsnow readers, let us take a break from our attempts to defy Newton and shift our focus to DaVinci and Amontons.

Different compositions of skin plush materials yield surprisingly different results in grip and glide. Climbing skins were originally a repurposing of the hide from a successful seal hunt. I’ve spoken with a guy who is ancient enough to have actually used “seal skins,” he says they “glide like crazy.” Of course, we won’t ask seals to sacrifice their lives for our skis, so enter modern skin plush.

Pomoca skin roll.

Pomoca skin roll.

Mohair, sourced from the fur of Angora goats, and Nylon are the two predominant materials used for climbing skin plush, with a 70% mohair / 30% Nylon blend being the current gold standard. (There are other types of skins, that use mechanical grip patterns and that sort of thing, I don’t cover those here.)

Modern ski mountaineering race skins are composed of 100% Mohair, which has less friction (but consequently lower grip) than Nylon. Race (and all) skins are then backed and treating in different ways to improve water-repellency and durability. Race skins not only glide much better, but are built with weight in mind. The end result is a faster gliding, lighter skin that is also thinner and packs up better.

If lightweight mohair builds are grippy enough for the spandex clad uphiller dragging a mere 59mm to 62mm of skin width uphill, said benefits should scale up proportionally in a an offering, for wide skis,yes?

Pomoca, a leading manufacturer of climbing skins, and my favorite, now offers their Race 2.0 skin in a 120mm width. Any specialty Pomoca retailer can get a roll of the wide race plush which can be cut to length and fastened with tip and tail attachments of your choice. They also have a universal length that come with the standard Pomoca tail clip sewn on, and a tip attachment you install after the skin is cut to the ski’s length.

I became convinced that a pure mohair race plush would be plenty grippy after spending time zipping around on 62mm Pomoca Race 2.0 skins. So last season I rigged a pair of Race 2.0’s cut from a 120mm wide roll, book ended with Black Diamond tip and tail attachments. These skins were cut to fit both my DPS Wailer 106 Tour1 skis as well as my full rocker Dynafit Beast 108s.

Race Pros helped me keep up on this multi lap day with a fast crew. Efficiency leads to more powder in the face! Ten Mile Range, CO

Race Pros helped me keep up on this multi lap day with a fast crew. Efficiency leads to more powder in the face! Ten Mile Range, CO

Glide was the main impetus for my experiment, and the primary benefit. In flat sections of a tour, my kick and glide is longer with less effort than that of ski partners dragging nylon or mo-ny mix. Flat portions of a long climb offer a reprieve for all skiers, and with pure mohair that “break time” is exaggerated with the fast skins. On steeper climbs I keep my skis on the ground more than I used to, making for a more efficient stride which fully utilizes modern touring gear.

Packability is another bonus with the Race Pro’s, especially in colder temps when I keep them in my coat during the descent, to preserve tack. The weight reduction is noticeable as well, but not drastic. And Pomoca’s standard glue compound is in my opinion the best on the market (it is used on the Race 2.0s).

Setting up camp, the Race Pros not bothered by being abused and left glue-to-glue for many days in the back of the truck. Mt Saint Helens, Oregon.

Setting up camp, the Race Pros not bothered by being abused and left glue-to-glue for many days in the back of the truck. Mt Saint Helens, Oregon.

Durability and less grip are the main drawbacks to consider when choosing race plush over nylon compositions. After 60 or so days on the Race Pro 2.0s I did not notice much mohair loss, just a touch around the edges. The amount of firm or frozen snow this plush sees in a race application wears them out more quickly than powder ski-touring. I did have a tear around a rivet of the tail attachment, which would have been avoided had I chosen the Back Fix version which is sewn on.

In terms of grip, the 38g/cm2 of pressure from the Race Pro 2.0s is more than enough grip for any powder scenario, and many spring snow conditions. I only noticed limitations while skiing the rockered Beast 108s on a well traveled or frozen slick skin track.

Last spring I was dealing with an inflamed IT band during a PNW volcano tour. I reluctantly opted to pull out the light powder ski rig with the race skins to ease the burden on said leg. The plush handled the soggy, almost frozen ascent and even the barely frozen summit quite well, giving me added faith in their climbing prowess. Using a skin like this is probably best for powder scenarios and skiers with touring experience.

Tune into any ski movie featuring British Columbia freeriders ski touring and you may notice the pink glow of Pomoca’s Race 2.0 plush as they make their way up tricky pillow lines. Skiers such as Chris Rubens and Eric Hjorleifson are Pomoca athletes that will run the race plush on their twin rocker 115mm plus waisted powder skis. The weight savings and gliding efficiency save time and energy for what really matters. Furthermore, the width of a modern powder ski puts so much carpet on the snow that synthetic plush is overkill in powder conditions. While I’ll never send like those guys, I can attest to the fact that the Pomoca Race 2.0 skin is not just for racing anymore.

(Wildsnow guest blogger Gary Smith is an avid backcountry skier and ski mountaineer residing in Eagle County, Colorado. Visit @ghostrider.gary on Instagram for ski shots and snippets of mountain life.)


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19 Responses to “Pomoca Race Pro 2.0 Skins — Not Just For Competition”

  1. wtofd January 11th, 2019 7:37 am

    Great post. I’m converting from 100% nylon to mo/ny and love the glide improvement. Also have had very good luck with vacuum attachment in all kinds of conditions including rain even though the reviews and friends say it won’t work in very wet snow.
    This customization is exciting: “Any specialty Pomoca retailer can get a roll of the wide race plush which can be cut to length and fastened with tip and tail attachments of your choice.”

  2. Brian January 11th, 2019 8:09 am

    That altitude must be getting to you guys…..Mt. St. Helens is in Washington.

  3. David Field January 11th, 2019 8:42 am

    Maybe they were lost? Looks like whiteout conditions 🙂

  4. powbanger January 11th, 2019 9:10 am

    Montana Sport has been offering their Montarace HS racing skins in rolls ranging from 30mm to 160mm wide (100, 120, 130, 140, 160) for a number of years. Any shop using Montana machines, binding testers, or which stock Montana skins is able to order a roll which allows you to use your favorite tip and tail attachments.

  5. Wookie1974 January 11th, 2019 9:23 am

    Nice to see you can get Pomoca on the roll. I’ve not seen it here, even though I’m in Europe. The skins are great. Love them – but the Pomoca tips and tails are beat. The tips are basically braided (!) wire only. This saves weight, but with every contact, a strand or two breaks – and I’ve never seen one last more than 3 tours.

    Sure – you can swap them, and I have, but for 180-200 Euros a pop, you’d like to have something a little better – and I feel like a jerk buying new skins and having to disassemble them when I get home.

    I guess I’m writing this in the hopes that somebody from that company is reading. Those skins are so good – and I cannot imagine a new tip made of solid wire would weigh much more. That would solve the issue…for sure.

  6. jbo January 11th, 2019 10:31 am

    Hey Gary, love the pink shout-out! FYI, the wide pink skins are the Race formula, not the Race Pro 2.0 found on the skinny skins.

    Wookie1974 – Pomoca hasn’t used braided wire tips in these parts for a few seasons. It’s swappable wire brackets on the kits.

  7. XXX_er January 11th, 2019 11:06 am

    for anybody who uses the Dynafit skins which are pomoca, when the rubber tip stretchers break tie a 1″ diameter loop in a piece of 3mm bungy,clip the head off a 2″ aluminum roofing nail, clip it into the dynafit tip for a cheap n easy to source fix that works just the same

  8. Lou Dawson 2 January 11th, 2019 11:57 am

    Thanks Brian, I should have caught the Mt. St. Helens location in the edit. Lou

  9. Lenka K. January 13th, 2019 10:20 am

    I’d agree that mohair skins are the way to go, especially with wide skis, the glide is incomparable. But beware: if you encounter tricky climbing conditions, you better have your climbing technique dialled!

    I personally prefer nylon/mix skins for spring conditions, where a well-gripping skin is very welcome on icy traverses. What’s more, mohair really suffers in those conditions and your skins might be done in after just one corn season. For me, the optimal solution lies in two pairs of skins: mohair for powder, nylon/mix for the spring.

  10. Gary S January 13th, 2019 11:55 am

    Hey All,

    Thanks for the catches. I guess that’s what happens when you start an article in the airport before thanksgiving and wrap it up in January. Apologies on misplacing a rather famous/infamous mountain. It is still in fact in WA haha.

    Jbo on it as you expected would with expect with the fastest gear. The 120 roll is the race not race pro 2.0. The difference is 1g/cm2 less grip and 14 kcal/hr more friction. In a powder skiing fat ski scenario this is negligible. But not the fastest pomoca!

    The kit with tip and tail is the standard new hardware, not braided.

  11. Aaron Mattix January 15th, 2019 8:42 pm

    How well would the 120 width work with skis wider than that? I’d like to find some easier handling skins for my Line Magnum Opus skis (125 underfoot). Currently running G3 skins, but would like to try a different flavor of kook-aid. How much sketchier would sidehilling be with less than full-width skins?

  12. Lia June 12th, 2019 9:43 am

    What climbing skins are the best for steep icy conditions that don’t leave glue on the skis? I am not much interested in glide. Basically I want something that has good grip so I won’t slide much backwards on steep ascents. I do own BD Ascension skins but they leave glue on my skis. Is there something similar that has good grip like BD Ascension without leaving glue on my skis?

  13. Lou Dawson 2 June 12th, 2019 10:34 am

    Hi Lia, defective skin glue has been ubiquitous in the industry for years now. In my experience no brand is immune, and gooey disgusting slime that ends up on your skis is one symptom. Honestly, I can’t recommend anything with 100% confidence. If you’re not in super-cold climate, you might consider the Contour Hybrid, full nylon version, for climbing steep icy slopes. Contour had some early problems, but I’ve had good performance from their glue this past season. It’s not the stickiest stuff, however, so only use in moderate climate, but it won’t end up on your skis. Here in Colorado, average winter day, works fine. If your present skins climb well but have the horrible glue problem, try for a warranty replacement. Even if they’re a couple years old it’s worth a shot.

    Slimy skins are about as common as breaking tech bindings. That means they’re pretty common. Bummer. Buyer beware.

    For steep icy terrain, always consider ski crampons.

    Oh, and be careful with skin handling. Don’t dry in the sun, UV light wrecks many of the glues. Long-term store in cool dark, with liners.



  14. XXX_er June 12th, 2019 1:13 pm

    The plush side doesn’t care if its wet but IMO if you don’t dry the glue side it will hydrolize and cause glue migration happens … time to re-glue

  15. Lia June 20th, 2019 2:04 pm

    Hi Lou,

    Thank you for your feedback. A week or two ago I came across Montana based company: http://www.skiskinsonline.com that make climbing skins. Have you had a chance to try their skins? Thank you.

  16. Lou Dawson 2 June 20th, 2019 3:29 pm

    Hi Lia, we’ve covered their skins over the years, but not recently. My recollection is for a while they were trying to make skins without the normal water repellent treatment, and had trouble with icing. They might have changed that. They were sincere about doing a good job, so are probably still worth checking out. Lou

  17. Jim Milstein June 23rd, 2019 5:07 pm

    Regarding Contour Hybrid Mix vs Hybrid Mohair, a companion happened to have the same model and length skis. He bought the mohair skins, and I have a new pair of the nylon/mohair mix. We tried swapping single skins to compare them directly. Neither of us could tell the difference. Later, he followed me up the steepest uptracks without a problem. Glide was indistinguishable so far as we could tell on mid-season snow. Maybe skin life would be different, but that is hard to tell in a couple of weeks of skiing.

  18. Other Aaron June 24th, 2019 9:24 am

    Where were you skiing? Drier snow in the Rockies, PNW concrete?

  19. Jim Milstein June 30th, 2019 1:59 pm

    Southern San Juans in Colorado, Wolf Creek Pass region, Other Aaron. February, I think

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