%&!@#ing Glomming

| March 4, 2013

Arrrg.  ‘Tis the season for skin glomming, and what a hateful time that is. Nothing zaps your power-meter quite like an eight pounds of snow stuck to the bottom of each ski, especially when it is hot and sunny out. Whenever I’m getting really beaten down by glomming, I always smile remembering an outing with a short-tempered French Canadian guy who had horrendous glomming and was getting more frustrated with each step.  Steam was coming out of his ears and river of profanity out of his mouth as he started to do the most tempting and ill-advised thing possible – whacking your ski edge with your ski pole. He was too far gone to try to calm him down, and when his pole finally snapped he exploded in one of the most dramatic backcountry tantrums I’ve ever seen.  Everything got thrown – skis, gloves, hat, goggles and what was left of his poles. It was a beautiful performance and hard not to laugh.

Excuse me while I throw a fit.

Glomming is caused by a variety of conditions, but the most common is going from warm snow (or water) into colder snow.  This is almost unavoidable as just starting out at a lower, warmer trailhead can do it, or even going through sun/shade areas like trees.  Applying skin wax before your skins get wet is the best preventative measure, although it is almost always too late before you realize you should have done this.  Another thing that will really kill your skins is using them around salt water as it dries them out so much.

Fixing glommed up skins in the field is a slow process.  The first thing you’ll want to do is scrape all of the snow and/or water out of your skins as hard as you can with a flat-edge of some sort. I carry a chunk of plastic for this purpose as well as a sliver of skin wax.


After that, really, really, really rub some skin wax into your skins.  Don’t be bashful.

You can clearly see the wetted-out part of my skins here.  Dammit.

If you get a chance, anything you can do to help dry your skins out will help, including hanging them out to dry while you have a drink.

If you haven’t waxed them ahead of time, it seems like it takes at least two scrub & wax applications to beat the glommies in the field.

Help support StraightChuter.com and reduce the glomming with a block of Black Diamond Glop Stopper Wax from Backcountry.com. Click on the photo below…




Category: 05 Uphill, Gear Reviews

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber, Mountain Unicycle rider and father of two very loud little girls.

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  1. Anti-Glomming Tutorial Video | Posts | September 22, 2014
  1. Patrick Fink says:

    Is there any downside to a prophylactic application of skin wax? Does roughin up the skins reduce their lifetime enough that you wouldn’t want to do it very often, or does wax reduce traction on snow that doesn’t really require the glop-stopper?
    Cheers, Patrick

  2. Colin says:

    I swear I’ve seen somewhere that somebody actually does a (very light and careful) hotwax job on their skins in the spring. I seem to remember it being Steve Romeo, but maybe it was on TTips or something.

  3. Chris says:

    If you forget your skin wax rubbing in some dark chocolate is a surprisingly good replacement. It has saved me a couple times.

  4. Andrew says:

    I can’t think of any drawbacks to routinely waxing your skins just as you might wax your skis.

    Waxing skins is a big part of ski mountaineering racing, especially in Europe. With this, you are actually trying to get some glide, not necessarily just avoiding glomming. The way I’ve done it is to rub the wax into a warm, dry set of skins, then do a very quick, light pass over them with a waxing iron which is just barely warm enough to melt the wax. I’ll unplug the iron and let it cool down until it reaches the point where you can feel that it is “warm” instead of hot.

  5. Patrick Fink says:

    No doubt the euro randos are doing this to mohair skins. have you had success on nylon skins?

  6. wet coaster says:

    regular candle wax works well also

  7. Pete Siudara says:

    To remedy this day wrecker phenomenon, a product that I find works much better than Glop Stopper bar wax is Nikwax Skin Proof. Similar formula (if not the same, just relabeled?) to their TX Direct Gore-Tex DWR replenisher, I apply the liquid on the plush of the skin via a sponge, rubbing both ways, but finishing with the grain, then let them sit room temperature overnight to dry. I do it all season long to my skins, about 2-3 times a month in the winter, and a little more regularly in the spring time. For cold conditions use (mohair) and warm conditions (nylon), I find that not only does it keep my skins from glomming, but a great added bonus is the significant increase in glide performance on flat and downhill sections of skin tracks. There is much more glide benefit than Glob Stopper, and I don’t feel any noticeable decrease in traction performance. The skins stay drier, clean, and oily feeling. I no longer carry or use Globstopper, and proceed confidently into the intermountain snowpack after a fresh coat of this miracle formula.

    I also have used TX Direct on skins when I run out of Skin Proof; it seems to work just as good.

    Give it a shot if you will and would like to hear your take in this Nikwax product.

    Thanks Andrew for all the great articles, stories, tips, and advice on your blog. I always learn new sh* when I read a new StraightChuter post. Keep it up and always with your good humor.

    Pete Siudara
    Whitefish, MT

  8. Andrew says:

    Hi Pete – thanks for the comment. I saw that product the other day and although it looked interesting, I haven’t personally used it, which is why I recommended Glop Stopper. That said, now I’ll give it a try. Years ago there was a silicon product you could spray on your skins, but it didn’t work very well as it was too slick right off the bat, then it worked for a short time, and then it all rubbed off and you were back to glomming. I’ve also heard of people using RainEx, Pam or ScotchGuard on their skins, but I haven’t tried any of those either.

  9. Stan says:

    I try to always have a swix handy scraper with me, having both the plastic side and metal side is sweet. Handy little hole to put a cord through so you don’t lose as easy. About the best thing you can get for $4.21!

    psyched to try the nikwax

  10. Mark Roberts says:

    I broke a nice Life Link pole one time just trying to gently remove a bunch of caked snow from my skins. The plastic scraper is much more effective and significantly less costly. I went from being 6-3″ to about 6-8″ in a matter of a dozen steps with all the snow building up underneath my feet! I found that almost any hydrocarbon wax that you apply to the skins will alleviate this problem quickly. Swix violet
    wax works great for the Sierras where I live and just a small little piece that you keep in a
    zip lock bag is all you need.

  11. Tim says:

    Thanks for the tips as always. Any plans on doing a review on those new Converts your skiing or maybe you can give some thoughts on them? That looks like a pretty fun BC ski.

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