How to Apply Climbing Skins

One Methods:For Skis with Tail Hooks and Tip Stretchers

Climbing skins are used to provide traction in backcountry skiing. The skins are adhesive strips of material that go on the bottoms of skis. Usually made of nylon, mohair, or a combination of both, the fibers or scales of the skins grab onto snow to prevent you from sliding backwards and also flatten out to allow some gliding when moving forward. How you put on skins can depend on what attachments you have at the tips and tails of your skis. Try these methods to apply climbing skins.

Steps

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    Trim your skins if necessary. Climbing skins come in different lengths and widths and may need to be trimmed to fit your skis' dimensions. Some manufacturers pre-trim their skins for their own brand of skis.
    • Use your skins' included trimming tool and template to cut away excess material. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for trimming the skins when possible.
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    Trim about 4 inches (10 cm) of a skin's front end so its width is the same as that of your ski's tip loop.
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    Fold the trimmed length of skin through the tip loop and back over itself. This looped section allows you to make minor adjustments to your skins.
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    Take off the release paper on your climbing skin. Adhere the skin to the ski's length so it is about 1/8-inch (0.31 cm) off-center.
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    Trim the excess skin along the edge of the ski from the tip to the tail. Carefully peel the skin back off.
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    Move the skin over to the other side of the ski to be 1/4-inch (0.62 cm) off the edge. Trim the excess skin hanging over the side.
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    Readjust the skin to lie centered along the ski. Both of the ski's edges should now be exposed to allow for control when skiing.
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    Repeat the trimming and application process for the other ski's skin.

For Skis with Tail Hooks and Tip Stretchers

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    Hook the back end of the skin onto the ski's tail. Leave the release paper on the skin.
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    Lay out the skin flat along the ski. Put the bent steel ring of a tip stretcher over your ski's tip.
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    Mark the skin's release paper where the climbing skin meets the unbent rear ring of the tip stretcher. This is the spot where the skin will fold through the ring.
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    Cut the end of the skin off about 6 inches (15 cm) above the mark you made.
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    Remove the first 2 feet (60 cm) of release paper from the skin. Make sure the adhesive is not dirtied to avoid contamination and lessening its stickiness.
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    Thread the climbing skin through the unbent ring of the tip stretcher. Fold it back on itself. Adjust the skin's tension by folding more or less skin through the tip stretcher's ring.
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    Peel off the rest of the release paper carefully. Set the skin along the ski so it hangs 1/8-inch (0.31 cm) off to 1 edge.
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    Trim the skin hanging off the edge with the trim tool.
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    Readjust the skin so it hangs off the other edge by 1/4-inch (0.62 cm). Trim this piece of skin off the edge.
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    Peel the skin off and center it down the ski's length. Repeat the process with the other ski.

Tips

  • Wipe the bottoms of wet skis with a washcloth or small towel before putting on climbing skins. Having dry skis will improve the skins' adhesion and lengthen your skin glue's effectiveness.
  • Apply skin wax to your climbing skins. A popular brand is called Glop Stopper. The skin wax prevents wet snow from freezing onto your skins in a layer of ice.

Warnings

  • Do not drop adhesive skins in the snow or get them wet. The moisture will interfere with the skins' ability to stick to the ski bottoms.

Things You'll Need

  • Adhesive climbing skins
  • Release paper
  • Ski tip and tail attachments
  • Trimming tool
  • Trimming template
  • Manufacturer's trimming instructions
  • Ruler
  • Marker


Article Info

Categories: Snow Skiing | Winter Outdoor Activities