Go further, faster, higher and deeper into the backcountry with our pick of the best skins for winter 2020.
TESTED BY MARTIN
SPEC – 65% mohair, 35% nylon and super grippy. Patented STS adjustable tails for length adjustment. Adjustable tip fits a wide range of ski tip shapes. Available in 15 mm width increments from 110 to 140 mm. A trimmed 100mm skin for a 178cm ski weighs 300g
VERDICT – These are the Land Rover of the skin world. 20% more packable and 60 g lighter than their Ascension brethren, the GlideLites are far nicer to handle, more supple and packable. The 65% mohair, 35% nylon mix seems to be the optimal compromise between grip, glide and durability. BD glue is the stickiest we have ever tested (so don’t lose your cheat-sheets or these are never coming apart again) but the cunning central tape helps with skin release and gives you a second shot at clean glue in time to come. There is nothing sophisticated about the tip-fix, but the adjustable loop will get a functional grip on a wide array of tip styles and sizes. They can be fiddly to fit, so buy the right length and simply trim to width for best results. Whilst they are not the lightest we tested, they are utterly dependable in any conditions.
BEST FOR: All levels of regular off-piste skiers, looking for a reliable all-rounder. Versatility of tip/tail fix makes these ideal if you’re looking for one skin to fit a quiver of skis
TESTED BY MARTIN
SPEC – 100% mohair. Fast easy glide with great grip. Custom fit skins come with tailored tip-fix and camlock tail-fix. Trusted CollTex hotmelt adhesive. A 100mm race-fix skin for a 178cm ski weighs 180g
VERDICT – Available in race fix or conventional tip-tail touring set-up, the Palü Alpinist is a high performance skin from a top and trusted brand. The 100% mohair construction ensures exceptional glide performance, making it ideal for the faster and frequent ski-alpinist embarking on regular long climbs in the high mountains. If you’ve yet to try a Colltex skin, then get ready for a lightweight, supremely packable, beautiful-to-handle backcountry bundle. The hotmelt adhesive may not seem as tacky as some, yet it’s never let us down and we’ve tested them on multiple ascent days in pretty chilly and damp conditions. What’s more, this is one of the few adhesive systems that can be reapplied relatively simply with Colltex’s hotmelt tape.
BEST FOR: Lightweight racing snakes and seasoned pros looking for a dependable long-lasting skin
TESTED BY SOPHIE
SPEC – 70% mohair, 30% nylon. Non-toxic adhesive rated to -30°C. Carbon fibre skin tip. Tapered tail. Trim tool and cheat sheets included. Weighs Available in a choice of widths and lengths. A 100mm width skin for a 172-188cm ski weighs 217g.
VERDICT – The new Minimist Glides are the lightest and most packable 70% mohair/30% nylon plush skins on the market. Ideal for gram counting, fast and light ski tours and remote objectives, these non-toxic adhesive skins come with a carbon fibre insert to prevent snow creep, a low-profile elongated tail strap for swift transitions and removable rip strip which means you won’t dislocate your collar bone when you’re trying to pull them apart.
We tested them extensively last winter in a range of conditions and environments and were impressed by both the grip in icy skin tracks and glide when breaking trail in fresh snow. Their stand-out super power however is their lightweight packability.
BEST FOR: Weight-obsessed backcountry athletes looking for stripped back touring skins to facilitate rapid vertical adventures.
TESTED BY SOPHIE
SPEC – 70% mohair, 30% nylon. Durable, waterproof membrane. Pomoca Super Treatment for max glide. ClickLock tip system for a versatile fit. Adjustable tail clips. Easy-to-use trimmer. Available in a choice of widths and lengths – 100mm weighs 294g.
VERDICT – With a 100% waterproof membrane, improved tip attachment and enhanced glide treatment, these 70% mohair, 30% nylon skins deliver optimal glide and grip. Designed to perform in a wide variety of snow conditions, they’re ideal for multi-day outings when things can, and very often do, change.
We tested these skins last spring in Norway where conditions swung dramatically from one end of the spectrum to the other on a daily, and sometimes hourly basis! From bulletproof skin tracks to a rain-saturated snowpack, the Climb Pro S-Glides never let us down, bossing the ascent with ease and never once coming loose at the tail. The new Ever Dry 2.0 Glide treatment does a fantastic job of preventing frown-inducing skin saturation, they’re easy to cut, and come with a year’ warranty.
BEST FOR – Ideal for the full range of conditions but especially good if you’re venturing into potential ‘wetting out’ terrain. Great grip and glide, durable and quick-drying.
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