This is a review of the best ski skins.
I am Kate, and I had been skiing since I was a kid. Today, I will work with Aspen, an experienced, NZSIA certified ski instructor and the manager of our online ski school to help you find the very best ski skins in the current market.
Climbing ski skins are your best friend when backcountry skiing. Even with the best skis, you couldn’t go far without a great pair of skins. People often don’t give enough credit to this essential piece of equipment.
We believe that the Contour Hybrid Mix should be considered as the best overall ski skins, they are durable, lightweight, works well on all types of skis. Of course, we will cover other great options in this article so you can easily pick one suits your need the most.
What are you waiting for? Let’s explore the mountain together!
- Best overall: Contour Hybrid Mix
- Best for value: BSMP Rover Climbing Skins
- Best for packability: G3 Minimist Glide
- Best grip: Black Diamond Ascension Nylon Climbing
- Best glide: Pomoca Race Pro 2.0
5 Best Ski Skins Reviewed
Here are our picks for the best ski skins.
- Best: Overall
- Key Features: Hybrid glue, Mohair plush, Hybrid adhesive technology
- Material: 70% Mohair, 30% Nylon
This was a tough choice, but I picked Contour Hybrid Mix skins as the overall best ski skins because they are made to strike a balance between all their attributes.
They are not designed to be the best in one or two categories at the expense of other ones. The skins do a bit of everything, but in a way that allows them to maintain a good standard.
As a blend of mohair and nylon, they have a great glide yet maintain an above-average grip.
They are durable but still remain lightweight enough to be easily packable. On top of that, these skins are compatible with all kinds of skis.
Contour’s hybrid glue is a combination of glueless and standard skins technologies.The best thing about it is that you will not need to reglue them. If you need to revive the skins, simply wash them.
On the other hand, if you don’t spend enough time taking care of them, the glue will not perform properly. Another downside is they do not specialize in any category. If you are looking for excellence in a particular area, these skins are not for you.
- Best: Value
- Key Features: Quick-Snap tail clip, BSMP plush, BSMP’s self-renewing glue
- Material:100% Nylon
These skins are like hidden treasure. Although Big Sky Mountain Products (BSMP) is not as well established as other brands on this list, they’ve come up with a fantastic product.
Rover Climbing Skins, same as Contour skins above, were designed to strike a perfect balance.
BSMP desired the highest quality skins for an affordable price. They wanted both grip and glide. A glue that has good integrity yet peels off easily and doesn’t leave any residue. Durability but at the same time lightweight.
In other words, they wanted it all! And the company managed to create an exceptional product which is undoubtedly the best value for money.
BSMP recommends waxing the skins to get the optimal glide.
There are only a few minor flaws. People pointed out that since the skins are full nylon, they are bulkier and heavier than mohair skins.
- Best: Packability
- Key Features: PFC-free nylon waterproofing, Non-Toxic Adhesive,Laterally Stiff, Skin Savers Included
- Material: 70% Mohair, 30% Nylon
First off, G3 Minimist Glide is getting bonus points for its high environmental standards. They use PFC-free nylon waterproofing and their new non-toxic adhesive. Apart from being non-toxic, the adhesive also has good integrity.
These skins are made for people who like to tour quickly and efficiently. They are incredibly light and packable. Compared to other lightweight skins, they are much more durable.
They are designed for a great glide, but since they are blend skins, the grip is also quite good. The skins are laterally stiff in the backing material in order to stop snow from getting in between the skin and ski base.
The main downside is that multiple people complained about having trouble with the tail clip.
- Best: Grip
- Key Features: Durable Nylon plush material, STS adjustable tail, Pre-fixed tip, and tail attachments
- Material:100% Nylon
These skins have been a staple product from Black Diamond for a while now. They got a few updates over the years. However, one thing that stays the same is their incredible durability.
As full nylon skins, they provide an amazing grip that will not let you down in steep or icy terrain. They have an adjustable tail, and their tip loop fits a wide range of ski shapes. Black Diamond recently upgraded the design and changed the tail into a pre-cut bikini-style tail to reduce drag and weight.
People appreciate these skins also because they are not prone to glopping (snow and ice build-up beneath the skins), and the glue sticks well.
These skins are not meant for long tours in rolling terrain. They are for people who need reliable skins that will give them strong support on the ascent.
All this comes at the expense of glide and packability. If you are planning to get them, keep in mind that they are a bit heavier and less portable than other products on this list.
- Best: Glide
- Key Features: GlidePro treatment, Ever Dry treatment
- Material: 100% Mohair
It is not an exaggeration to say that a list of great ski skins could not be complete unless you mention Pomoca skins. This well-respected brand has been making the best ski skins for years.
As the name suggests, their Race Pro 2.0 is ideal for anyone who is looking for speed and efficiency. They are ultralight and easily portable. On top of being made from 100% mohair, Pomoca added a new GlidePro treatment that provides you with an even more fantastic glide.
There is a waterproof membrane in the skin, which protects the glue from any moisture, while the Ever Dry treatment keeps the skins from glopping.
This product is great for competitors and experienced tourers that are looking for maximum glide and performance.
Because the skins are designed for speed and performance, they are not as wide and will not fit well on every ski. They are also less durable.
How to Choose The Best Ski Skins
Choosing the right skins will depend on your location, snow conditions, and your touring style. To find the best fit for you, think about your skill level and the frequency of your backcountry trips.
That will help you decide which of the following factors are most important for your needs and make your buying decision much easier.
Here are key factors to consider when looking for new ski skins.
Grip and Glide
The grip of the skin depends on the traction that their material creates. It ensures that your skis won’t be sliding backward on the ascent, which makes it an important feature for beginner skiers.
It also helps you stay stable on very steep, worn-in, or icy terrains, so if you often tour on those, you want skins that provide a good grip.
Glide is another important trait. In order to move efficiently, you should not pick up your skis off the ground as if you were walking, but rather keep them in touch with the snow and glide.
Usually, skins with good glide will create less resistance and traction, therefore they have a worse grip and vice versa.
They are generally more efficient and maintain better speed. Thus they are perfect for more experienced tourers and/or people skiing on rolling terrain.
Improved technique, speed, and efficiency will help you conserve energy, so you will definitely appreciate a good glide during long days on the skis.
The fabric of which skins are made will significantly affect their performance, durability, and price. There are three types of ski skins based on their material.
Mohair is a fabric made from the hair of the Angora goat. The skins made from this material create less traction. Therefore, they have an excellent glide and are ideal for maintaining speed. They tend to be lightweight and packable.
On the other hand, it is an expensive material, and the skins are usually less durable. Their grip is decent, but the focus is certainly on the glide, making them suitable for slightly more experienced ski tourers.
If the skins are made from a synthetic material, it is most likely from nylon. They tend to be bulkier and heavier but also more durable.
This fabric provides a very good grip and is cheaper than mohair. That makes nylon skins ideal for beginners.
Perhaps the best option for an average skier would be to combine the two and purchase a mix of nylon and mohair.
Someone looking for a balance between grip and glide and a compromise between weight and durability will be able to find it with blend skins.
Not only do you need to make sure that the length and width of the skins are suitable for your skis, but also that the skin attachment system is compatible. Some manufacturers design attachments compatible with only their skis, so always double-check.
Together with the tip and tail attachments, we also use adhesive. Unless we have glueless skins, we need glue to stick them to the base of the skis.
Different brands use different adhesives. The most important is that the skin sticks appropriately, meaning the glue has good integrity.
To keep the adhesive properly functional for longer, you need to take good care of your skins. Try to keep them dry and clean, and read tips from the manufacturer on how to store and care for them.
Your skins are doing an important job on the ascent, but they should be ready to detach from the skis quickly and effortlessly.
When the time to ski downhill comes, they should be easily foldable and light, so they don’t take up much space in your backpack and don’t weigh you down.
Can I Leave Skins on Skis Overnight?
No, do not leave skins on skis overnight, it will shorten the lifespan of your skins. I would recommend you remove the skins from the skis right after using them, and when you are home, hang them up and dry them naturally.
Do not try to dry your skins with heat (like using an air dryer) or place them really close to the heater in the dry room. The glue may melt!
How Do You Store Ski Skins in the Summer?
Wash and dry your ski skins after your ski season, remove all the dirt, dust, hair, rocks on both sides (skin and glue side). Store them with a skin saver (usually come along with your skins).
Place them in a cold and dry place, make sure no direct sunlight can reach them. Or else the heat caused may damage the glue.
- Always check your gears before your backcountry trip, double check if you have switched on your avalanche beacon before starting your trip
- Make sure you have all the avalanche gears and always go in a grip. Check the climate before you head out.
- Always bring along a screwdriver so you can fix or change some setting during your trip
Getting high-quality ski skins will save your back-country day. We highly recommend Contour Hybrid Mix because of all the excellent features.
Depending on your skiing styles and where you would like to go, pick the recommendations suit you the best.
Have loads of fun skiing and stay safe!