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Climbing skins

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More Climbing skins facts

As we all know, skis are very smooth on their base, making it kind of tough going uphill with them. That is why there are ski touring skins. Thanks to these, the ski sticks to the snow when walking uphill: In one direction, the skin will go smoothly across the snow, in the other, it will stick to the ground, making a climb up a mountain possible. Once you have reached the top, you take the skins off and ski back down. Touring skins differ in their used material, in how they are fixed onto the ski and whether they are already trimmed to fit your ski or need to be cut. 

 

Underneath the touring skins: Mohair vs. Nylon

The climbing side, meaning the side of the skin that is turned towards the snow is either made of mohair or synthetic materials. For both, the fibers are all weaved to be facing the same direction. Also there are mix materials, that consist of both mohair and synthetic materials. Mohair is made from the hair of the angora goat, which is known for being very robust but also lightweight and keeping its great characteristics even in coldest temperatures. But mohair is also more expensive. Synthetic climbing skins are mostly made of nylon.

The pros and cons of mohair: Mohair has great gliding and breaking characteristics. Furthermore, it is very resistant to water and stays dry, flexible and soft even at icy temperatures. But, being a natural product, it is not as durable as nylon and more expensive.

The pros and cons of nylon skins: These skins are a bit more durable, at the same time cheaper. Also, they have great grip in really low temperatures. However, their glide is a bit weaker, when temperatures are very low, they tend to get stiff. Also, the snow clusters and sticks to these skins more easily due to taking in more moisture. But these skins are constantly improving.

Mixed material: These hybrid skins combine the best of both worlds. Usually, they consist of about 70% mohair and 30% nylon, making them durable, water-repellant and ensuring less snow sticking to the skins. As of this, these skins are becoming more and more popular!

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The base: touring skins stick to the ski either with or without glue

To be able to use gliding and braking abilities when doing a ski tour, the skins need to sit tightly on your ski.

Glue skins: Lots of skins use a special type of glue to make themselves stick to the ski. This glue is fixed on the skin so that when being pulled off, there are no residuals on the ski. To keep the skins from sticking to themselves when being packed away, there are protective foils or nets to put them on when storing.

Glueless touring skins: It works without glue as well. Vacuum skins use a special coating, which adheres to the ski base. The great advantage: protective foils are no longer needed and it sticks great in extreme colds as well. At the same time, these skins can not stick together. This usually happens very easily with glue skins when up on the top where it is really windy. However, the vacuum skins do not stay on the base as well as glue ones do.

 

Trimmed to fit or cutting your touring skins yourself?

Most touring ski manufacturers produce skins in cooperation with skin producers to make them fit their specific touring skis. These fit perfectly, both in length, width and sidecut, but also in how they are fixed to the ski. But this is not always the case. And some people simply want a different skin, be it because they want different materials or a different base. Because of this, there are skins available that you have to cut yourself. In doing so, there are a bunch of important aspects to consider which is why we advise you to have one of our experts at Sport Conrad do it for you. Still, you can find lots of good advice on how to cut your skins in our blog! Also, before going skiing into the backcountry, make sure you have all needed safety gear: avalanche transceiver, shovel, avalanche probe and airbag backpack!

Read more regarding ski touring skins

- Ski touring Guide: Find the best equipment for your next ski tour

- HOW TO: Cut ski climbing skins

- What avalanche safety equipment do I need?

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