Cross-country skiing includes climbing up the steep terrains, which is sometimes almost impossible without the climbing skins. Cross-country climbing skins are strips attached to the bottom of the skis and serve as a helping hand while moving up the hill. When on the top or when you want to go down, you can simply remove them, fold and place them in your backpack until you need them again.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to climbing skins, and show you how to put skins on skis so when you find yourself in the situation where you need them, you know exactly what to do.
Climbing Skins History
Mostly used by Nordic people and in the Arctic region by local nomads, climbing skins were made out of the seal skins because of their high traction. This way they were abet to climb hills without the need to take their skis off whenever they reach the uphill.
Climbing Skin Material
The climbing skins got their name after seals but in the modern era, the only thing that connects them to animal skin is the name. Right now, there are three options when it comes to the materials used to make cross country ski skins:
- Mohair, hair from Angora goats
- The combination of the two
Different materials have different traction, durability, and cost.
Most often the material used for synthetic skins is nylon. It is one of the most durable materials with more than great traction but it has a severe lack in the field of gliding. This makes it the most affordable one and it is definitely the best option for beginners.
The second synthetic skin type is polyethylene plastic. Skins made out of this material are most often copy of the traction pattern used on waxless skis for cross-country. They have a better glide but are not so good in the traction area. Also, you can learn how to wax cross-country skis here.
As mentioned above, these skins are completely natural because they are made out of mohair, the Angora goat’s hair. They are great in almost all areas – mohair skins provide great traction while they also have a great glide, they are lightweight, but mohair skins are also less durable compared to nylon or polyethylene plastic, and these are also more expensive.
The combination of nylon and mohair has everything you need – great grip, good glide, they are not heavy, they are durable, and last but not least, they don’t cost as much as mohair.
When To Use Which Material
For regular usage or long-distance trips, the better option is to go with the lightweight and better gliding skins. However, if you enjoy this activity only from time to time, you should go with nylon skins. And if you’re a beginner, go with the nylon ones, because they are cheaper and more durable, so if you make a mistake, you won’t be as sorry. You can also check our guide on cross-country skiing clothes.
Ski skins width will determine how much of your skin’s base will be covered. Most often, they are 80-145mm wide. To find out the best size for your skis, take the widest dimension of your ski width and subtract 5 or 7mm to get the width of the skin that will cover the entire base.
Remember, the wider the skin, the bigger the weight, so if you want to lower it, you could go with the waist dimension of your ski and leave the metal edges uncovered.
Most of the manufacturers will have a few different lengths:
The other length option you could run into is 200cm, which you can later trim down and add the tip loops.
How To Put Skins On Skis
The time has come to put the skins on your skis, and this is how to do it:
Remove any dirt or snow from the backside of the ski with a cloth. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just make sure there is any debris to prevent the skin from gripping the ski.
The skin has two sides, one of which is adhesive. Place that side against the backside of the ski and place the hooks over the end of the ski with the clip and lock it.
Slowly and carefully work your way down to the ski bottom while you remove the adhesive cover along the way. Keep it gentle, you don’t have to be rough to create a good grip.
Once you reach the bottom, place the hook over the edge of the ski and lock it.
Use your hand to carefully and easily smooth the skin down along the ski’s surface. There shouldn’t be any bumps. If you spot some, you’ll have to remove and reapply the skin from the place where the bump is.
If your skins are too long and you have to trim them down, this is how to do it:
Start with attaching the hook to the ski and make sure they are secure.
Remove about 15cm of adhesive cover and smooth it as you move down to the bottom of the ski.
Take the front loop clip and place it over the ski’s front and mark the place where the loop clip sits on the ski by drawing the straight line on the skin with the help of the ruler.
Use scissors or the trimmer to cut the line you drew onto the skin. Don’t leave any edges.
Attach the front clip loop. There may be a few different ways to do it, so check the manuals and follow them closely to do it properly.
How To Remove Skins
Skin removal is quite simple. First, undo the clips, follow by simply peeling the skins off and finish up by placing the cover paper over the adhesive end so you can use it again.
How Long Will It Last
The number of times you can use one skin can vary, but most of the time it is up to 90 uses.
Globo Surf Overview
Ski skins are one of the most important cross-country ski equipment elements when it comes to uphill climbing. The process of attaching them is not complicated, and after a few attempts, you should easily learn how to do it without a problem with the help of this article.
More Snow Reviews:
- Kids Snow Boots
- Heated Socks
- Ice Scraper
- Snowmobile Helmet
- Insulated Jacket
- Types Of Snow
- Mittens VS Gloves
- How To Cross Country Ski
- Skiing In Alaska
- Ski Training
- How to Apply Climbing Skins, wikihow.com