Consumer Question: What kind of skins should I buy?
Questions, comments, conundrums? You can always give our mail order crew a call or email and they'll get you dialed in with the proper info and beta on anything and everything Black Diamond makes. Heck, if you're lucky you'll make it into an upcoming Customer Question post here at the Black Diamond Journal just like this guy!
Sent: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 10:08 AM
Subject: Ski Skins
OK, so I am a downhill skier who signed up to do a hut-to-hut ski trip. Wish me luck.
My friends talk about Ascension skins with clips verses STS loops, plus some new kind of skins you will be selling this fall.
What does any of this have to do with food and drinking? Your website shows STS but is there some new product? Help me with Skins 101.
Thanks -- Jim
Sent: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 1:49 PM
Subject: Re: Ski Skins
You will be using your skins prior to enjoying food and drink, typically. I would definitely recommend them unless you want to be bootpacking behind your buddies. This isn't something I'd recommend, however, as you'll be post-holing the skin track; something that's sure to piss off anyone following your party. Hopefully there will be skiing in between the skinning, food and drink...
Here are the basic steps to follow when ordering your first pair of skins:
1. Decide on material type:
Nylon: Generally climbs better and offers more traction, can be considered more durable, stiffer and hydrophobic. They do not glide as well as Mohair. These are the pitbull of skin material.
Mohair Pure: 100% Mohair is a natural fiber and offers a superior glide over Nylon. Lighter weight, packs better, probably not as durable over the long term. Not as water repellent as Nylon. Well suited for long approaches and tours.
Mohair Mix: These are a 65% Mohair and 35% Nylon for extra durability.
2. Decide on tail attachments:
STS tail attachment: Uses an over-the-center camming device combined with a stretchy elastomer strap that's easy to tension and remove—very versatile and easier to adjust in the length as needed. Easy to use. We sell far more STS style skins than any other.
Standard: Does not use any style of tail attachment system (duct tape is your friend). It’s simple, basic, and there is nothing to break or lose.
3. Choose between Glidelite or Ascension:
Ascension Skins: Tend to be boardier, perhaps a bit more durable, harder to fold up small, but are easier to put on in a stiff breeze.
Glidelite: Pretty much the opposite of the above (more pliable and packable than the stiff Ascension).
4. Pick a length: Length is generally not the issue when purchasing skins. All our skins (excepting Kicker and Custom versions) come in around 195-200 cm. You buy based on width dimensions of your skis and desired coverage of these dimensions. For maximum coverage it's best to go with either the tail or tip measurement of your ski, purchase the size closest to this measurement, and trim and size to fit. Tip Loops are now fully adjustable so no more quibbling over picking the correct loop size.
We offer Custom style skins in all three material choices. Custom skins are already sized to length, and require only a couple of simple trim cuts to width on your part. These are very popular. Kicker skins are "half" skins. They are great for rolling terrain where serious climbing is not on the menu. No tip or tail attachment.
Skins come with Cheat Sheets and trim tool. Good instructions as well. We also have a great video on our website that will help walk you through the trimming process. We also offer a variety of skin accessories and spare parts like Skin Glue (for touch up or glue replacement jobs), also Glop-Stopper for early (Fall) or late (Spring) warmer temps.
Here's where you can get to all this stuff:
Let me know what other questions you might have. And last of all, good luck.