Skin Set Up – Part Two

| December 30, 2008

Now that the edges have been trimmed back and the nose has been set, I like to tweak my tails a bit (the tails of the skins that is).

Although I designed the BD ClipFix and used that system for years, I’ve now gravitated towards the STS system (shown below).  I liked the ClipFix, but as Martin Volken said about it, “It’s an expert system.” meaning if you spent the time to get it perfectly dialed, it worked great, but if not, they’d fall off. I didn’t mind getting mine dialed in, but that often meant widening the tail slot, which is/was kind of a pain.  The STS system is not only totally bomber, but it fits most of the standard issue tail notches.  If you don’t have a notch, most skis can stand one being filed/cut in and it makes a huge difference in keeping your skins on.

I use a pair of Channel Lock pliers to crimp the camming cleat down to a lower profile (less chance of it getting hung up on things) and then thread the tail back through the tip, as shown above.  Tucking the tail up makes for cleaner, faster uphill kick-turns where you are less likely to step on your tail dingle.  Plus I hate having those things flapping around.

As a final skin set-up step, I keep the skins attached to the appropriate ski with a Voile strap so I never grab the wrong skins, or worse yet, forget them, when heading out the door for a big powder day.



Help support and pick up a pair of the light & compact Black Diamond GlideLite Nylon STS Skins from Click on the photo below…


Category: 05 Uphill

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.

Comments (11)

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  1. Ralph S. says:

    Do you use a skin saver when you store them? Randosteve had a great YouTube video on hot waxing skins. Any thoughts?

  2. Andrew says:

    Hi Ralph – I just slap them together and don’t use any sort of skin saver. Part of the reason for this is that I use a tip & tail kit, so the adhesive doesn’t have to be overly tacky or clean. I also stuff my skins inside my jacket when skiing, which helps melt off any frost crystals and keep them a bit warmer, which makes them stick a bit better.

    I’ve experimented with hot waxing skins and thought that it worked better on Mohair than synthetic. For me, unless I’m racing, the potential damage that can be caused to your skins by repeatedly hot waxing them doesn’t seem worth the little bit of extended glide you get out of them, so I prefer just rub-on wax.

  3. Ralph S. says:

    Thanks for the insights. Part of the reason I ask is that I have BCA “Low-Fat” skins and they don’t perform up to my standards (and my standards are pretty low). This is their second season and I am wanting to upgrade to BD Ascensions or Glidelites. But before I do I want to make sure that I am not prematurely ditching the BCAs. The main problem is that on the second (and subsequent) lap the skins allow quite a bit of snow along upper edges. I figured that the moisture and temps were the problem, so I stash them in my jacket and use my fleece glove liner to dry and give the skis a friction rub to help. But it’s marginal. I store them with skin savers at home. Could it be shitty glue? I’ve heard mixed reviews of the BCAs.

    The second issue is they have zero glide. I mean zero. I could probably walk down a 30 degree slope! That’s why I enquired about randosteve’s hot wax job. I’m desperate, man! Sorry for the diatribe…

  4. Andrew says:

    Although I’ve never used the BCA skins, I feel your pain. There are a lot of little details that go into making a good skin, including how many plies it has, what kind of plush is used, how the plush is formed, glue quality & durability, how much water they absorb, etc.. I wouldn’t say they are complex, but definitely fickle, especially considering the temperatures and environments they operate in. My skins of choice are the BD (pretty much any of them) with the G3’s being a close second, although I don’t like their attachment systems. I’ve also heard good things about although I’ve never used those either (hmmmm, maybe I should hit them up for a product review sample…).

  5. CesarO says:

    Any special tricks for removing sap and other (say on-water soluable) goop from skins that will often collect in the plush when touring in “dirty” spring (and sometimes early summer) snow. I’ve sparingly used ski base cleaner to successfully dissolve the goop from the skin hairs, but I’m always worrying that this will ultimately degrade my skins sooner than normal. Is there a better and safer cleaner to use?

  6. Andrew says:

    I’ve had pretty good luck getting rid of goop and grease just by using them a lot and it eventually goes away. The base cleaner sounds like a good idea, especially the citric version.

  7. Patricio says:

    Sometimes (especially in deep pow) I’ll get snow/ice building up under the tip. It progresses further down the ski with each lap until the skins are held on by the tip/tail attachments. Do you know if the G3 alpinist tips help avoid that? I was thinking of sewing a tip pocket onto mine so that no snow could get under it. Any thoughts?

  8. Andrew says:

    Hi Patricio – Cutting off your tip fold-over flap and stitching it on (as shown in the previous posting) will help with that. With just the fold over method, you need enough glue-to-glue to make the skins stick together, but at the same time, it creates a glueless “pocket” right at the front of the ski, which inevitably gets a little snow, then a little more… then they fail.

    The G3 clips look like they would serve the same purpose, but then again, you’ve got four parts (two clips & two rivets) which are fixed vs. a single sewn on steel loop, which can be moved if you really need to.

  9. Seth says:

    For some customers (and for my own skis) I have installed a few low-profile rivets to keep the tip loop stationary.

    Pretty easy if you have access to a riveter…

  10. Andrew says:

    Oooh rivets – that’s an excellent idea! Those two part mushroom style rivets from the old tip & tail kits would be prefect. Less mess, clean & strong. Sewing them works alright, but getting the needle through the sticky skins is a hassle.

  11. Justin says:

    Sewing the tips closed is easy with a speedy stitcher (which is very helpful for all sorts of gear related repairs or modifications.)

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