Tucked away somewhere in my bookshelf is a magazine clipping titled “Cleanliness is Godliness.” The article details climbing skin maintenance, and how keeping them clean and dry is, well, divine. Skin glue can be wicked, with a polarity for dog hair and pine needles, and a bent for leaving residue on ski bases. True, these evils have become a fact of life and I’ve adapted. But now, Clipskins offer salvation from adhesive.
Clipskins rely on a series of tiny, patent-pending metal clasps to grab ski edges. No glue, just tension, and it works remarkably well. The clips make for easy and accurate placement when applying skins. And no stick when ripping (or unclipping, to be correct) means quicker transitions.
In terms of skinning performance, Clipskins are on par with my skins of choice, Black Diamond Ascensions. Using the skins manufactured by Climbing Skins Direct, Clipskins glide easily and fold up well. While recently climbing a steep, refrozen Wasatch skintrack, they worked as expected. The fibers held reliably and the clips did not affect edging performance while traversing. However, snow crept under the skin, causing minimal icing to my ski bases.
I found setting up Clipskins to be challenging. The designers are continually improving the assembly process and method for attaching the clips. Both have changed slightly since my version of the product, however assembly still requires trimming, adjusting length tension and applying clips. Determining the right tension is crucial to effective performance, though an inexact science at best. Too loose and they’ll fall off on kick turns and your ski will slip within the skin. In general, err on the side of tension and check out clipskins.com for an instructional video.
After ten days of testing, Clipskins have proven themselves a worthy alternative to the conventional. They reliably held to my skis, made for noticeably faster transitions and the clips seem durable. Provided correct assembly, skinning performance is similar to common systems. And because they’re immune to dog hair, leaving residue and sodden adhesive, gluelessness just might be godliness.
Clipskins Climbing Skins
100, 115, 130mm
$150 (with free shipping in North America)