observations on gear, adventure, and the world

Climbing Skins – Where to start, and how to maintain.

The Girl on new skis!

The Girl on new skis!

I’ve been on a pair of BD Ascension Nylon STS Skins for two seasons now and the Girl has been on a new pair this season.

With all things ski related, it is very important to consider the whole set-up:

Boots: DynaFit TLT 5
Bindings: DynaFit FT 12
Skis: Volkl Polar Bear (Length 177 cm, Tip/Waist/Tail 130cm/94cm/113cm, 23.3 m radius)

If you’re riding a wide ski like the Hellbents I’d suggest you look at the split version of this skin.

Bottom Line:

Happy about where the Ascensions got me!

Happy about where the Ascensions got me!

This is a skin is a work horse. It doesn’t have the light weight or glide of a mohair option, but it is more durable and fool proof. By fool proof I have three things in mind: (1) better traction so you can get by with poorer skinning technique, (2) less sensitive to wetness. Mohair skins can wet out faster.

In my experience BD glue is superior to G3 and BCA’s offerings, as are the “cheat sheets” shipped with the skins for storage.

The tail clip has never failed me and I’ve gotten the skins pretty wet on both sides.

This should be everyone’s first skin and go-to. BD’s glue makes them easy to rip (especially standing up which saves hours of wallowing in the snow), less sensitive to getting snow on the glue, and less prone to fail due to poor skinning technique. The tail clip is also very helpful for averting skin disasters. I recommended them for the Girl’s first set because I knew they wouldn’t let her down even while she’s dialing in her transitions and skinning technique.

Two important bits of skinning technique:
-Drag your toes – this allows you to clear the skin of snow on each stride, prevents you from doing extra work by lifting your ski, and I think it helps your muscles (based on un-educated guesses and things my PT said when she wasn’t talking about this).
-Don’t step backward. It’s like walking forward in SCUBA flippers, your tails will dig into the snow and you’ll force snow under the tail of your skin.

I’ve had the skins for two years, and I’m planning a trip up King’s Peak. I’d like to make sure they do well on that trip since there will be more than 20 miles of skinning. So I did a little skin maintenance. Mostly, I’m bringing skin wax – I’ll probably pre apply a little to be safe (this keeps hair on the skin from getting wet), and I ironed the glue through parchment paper.

Here are a few of the links that I look at for reference on “skin care:”

From the late great RandoSteve:
Iron Skin Glue Recharge If your skins are a little less sticky than you’d like this is probably all that you need to do.

From Larry’s Cascade Resource:

Climbing Skin Maintenance This may be the key to making your skins immortal! I’m going to start washing my skins more… or ever.

From the Brian Harder at GetStrongerGoLonger:

Shredded Skin Repair – Great for that moment when you think you’re going to need to buy new skins!

and Skin Maintenance So it’s been covered above… but it’s nice to see it more than once.


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