Reviews You Can Rely On

The 3 Best Climbing Skins of 2022/2023 for Backcountry Skiing

Over millions of vertical feet, we have compared climbing skins from Black Diamond, Pomoca, G3, and more.
Best Climbing Skins of 2022/2023 for Backcountry Skiing
Credit: Jediah Porter
By Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor
Wednesday November 2, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more

Do not let your climbing skin purchase be an afterthought. To counter that option, for 2022, we tested dozens of skins over eight years and have identified the best for your purposes. Sure, skins aren't as flashy a choice as your boots, bindings, or skis. However, their subtle differences add up. You can move the needle on your ultimate experience with a skinning choice that is careful and intentional. We examined every product on the market (well over 50) and chose 15 for our latest comparison. Each product saw double-digit hours of action before we drew any conclusions. For some models, we wore out 2-3 sets in our pursuit of authoritative info. We compared their attributes for grip and glide, portability and durability, glue integrity and ease of use.

Maybe you are also shopping for other ski gear. Whether it is a new pair of top backcountry skis or poles, our articles can help. We've also examined safety gear, like the best avalanche beacons and top avalanche airbags.

Editor's Note. We tested all through the winter of 2021-22 and prepared this report for publishing in autumn 2022. This time around we added three all-new products while revisiting our previous conclusions.

Top 15 Product Ratings

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Awards Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award   
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Light, fast gliding, enough grip, optimized glue, universal tip and tailLight, fast, compactAll around performance, huge size range availableCompact, balanced performanceWell balanced in all attributes, great glue
Cons Mohair blend will wear out faster than all nylon, harder to find than other brandsCompromised grip, compromised durabilityCompromised glide when new, limited availability at times and placesNon-traditional glueExpensive, require ongoing periodic maintenance
Bottom Line The best climbing skins on the market, they strike all the right balancesFast gliding skins for cold snow and accomplished skinners, the super compact, light form makes your huge skis more manageableBudget friendly high performance skins for every backcountry skierWell balanced, all around climbing skinsThese walk a tightrope, yielding a product that is fully balanced right at the performance point that our experience suggests is ideal
Rating Categories Pomoca Climb Pro S... Pomoca Free Pro 2.0 Pomoca Climb 2.0 Colltex Clariden Contour Hybrid Mix
Glide (30%)
8.0
9.0
6.0
7.0
7.0
Portability (20%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
Glue Integrity (20%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Grip (15%)
7.0
4.0
8.0
5.0
5.0
Icing/Glopping Resistance (10%)
8.0
4.0
7.0
5.0
6.0
Compatibility (5%)
7.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Specs Pomoca Climb Pro S... Pomoca Free Pro 2.0 Pomoca Climb 2.0 Colltex Clariden Contour Hybrid Mix
Measured Weight 1.23 lbs 1.09 lbs 0.99 lbs 0.77 lbs 1.21 lbs
Material 70% Mohair and 30% Nylon 100% Mohair 70% mohair 30% Nylon 65% Mohair 35% Nylon 70% Mohair, 30% Synthetic
Weight Per Pair 558g for Salomon MTN Explore 95. 587g for 183 Black Crows Corvus Freebird 496g for 180cm Kastle TX 103 448g for Dynastar M99 Tour 348g for Movement Race Pro 77 551 for Blizzard Zero G, 654g for 178 Voile Hyperdrifter
Weight per ski width. Very rough calculation. (grams/mm) 5.9 4.8 4.5 4.5 5.3
Glue Traditional Traditional Traditional Acrylic Hybrid glue technology
Tip Attachment Rigid tip loop Rigid tip loop Rigid tip loop Rigid tip loop Rigid tip loop
Tail Attachment Rubber strap and cam hook Rubber strap and cam hook rubber strap and cam hook Vinyl strap and cam hook Vinyl strap and cam hook
Ski Compatibility Universal Universal Universal Universal Universal
Precut Option? Order for length and approximate width, cut to lateral shape Order for length and approximate width, cut to lateral shape Order for length and approximate width, cut to lateral shape Order for length and approximate width, cut to lateral shape Order for length and approximate width, cut to lateral shape


Best Overall Ski Climbing Skins


Pomoca Climb Pro S Glide


74
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Glide 8.0
  • Portability 7.0
  • Glue Integrity 7.0
  • Grip 7.0
  • Icing/Glopping Resistance 8.0
  • Compatibility 7.0
Material: 65% mohair, 35% nylon | Compatibility: Universal
REASONS TO BUY
Fast glide
Enough grip
Balanced glue performance
Excellent tip, tail, and trim kits
REASONS TO AVOID
Expensive
Slightly harder to find

The Pomoca Climb Pro S Glide comes out at the top of the heap. The best skins are the best compromises of varied attributes and this Pomoca balances most of them. It grips and glides just right. It sticks and lets go just right. It is just the right size, weight, and sturdiness. The tip and tail kit is optimized and as universal as we can expect. The trim tool that Pomoca includes is excellent.

There aren't many drawbacks to this skin. Of course, they could grip better, glide better, pack smaller, and have glue that requires less care and maintenance. But for good compromises on all those attributes, the minty green Pomoca Climb Pro S Glide is the best thing going. Others come close (notably, the non-awarded but still very good Contour Hybrid Mix but we don't hesitate to put the Pomoca on the top of the list.

Read more: Pomoca Climb Pro S Glide review

best overall ski climbing skins
The Climb Pro S Glide has all the traction you'll need for all kinds of backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Best Bang for the Buck


Pomoca Climb 2.0


69
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Glide 6.0
  • Portability 7.0
  • Glue Integrity 7.0
  • Grip 8.0
  • Icing/Glopping Resistance 7.0
  • Compatibility 8.0
Material: 65% mohair, 35% nylon | Compatibility: Universal
REASONS TO BUY
Good Glide
Light color, light weight, light price
Wide array of sizes available
REASONS TO AVOID
No factory glide treatment
No precut options readily available

The Pomoca Climb 2.0 is a cost-cut version of the highest award winner, Pomoca Climb Pro S Glide. The glue, fabric, and tip/tail kit of the Climb 2.0 are exactly the same, as best we can tell. They even both ship with the same elaborate, rigid, zippered case. Virtually everything we say about the Climb Pro S Glide can be said about the Climb 2.0. Both have balanced, optimized performance.

The only difference we can gather is in use of a factory treatment. The Climb Pro S Glide has, as the name suggests, Pomoca's "S Glide" treatment. When new, the treated, more expensive skins do indeed glide faster and we have to attribute this to the treatment. However, when both types have been broken in by about 50,000 vertical feet of skinning, our testers cannot notice a difference.

Read more: Pomoca Climb 2.0 review

climbing skins - best bang for the buck
The "budget" Pomoca Climb 2.0 is hardly a compromised choice. It performs very well across the score sheet.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Best for Fast and Light


Pomoca Free Pro 2.0


71
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Glide 9.0
  • Portability 8.0
  • Glue Integrity 7.0
  • Grip 4.0
  • Icing/Glopping Resistance 4.0
  • Compatibility 7.0
Material: 70% mohair, 30% Nylon | Compatibility: Universal
REASONS TO BUY
Fast
Light
Great tip and tail attachments
REASONS TO AVOID
Compromised durability
Compromised grip

Pomoca's Pomoca Free Pro 2.0 is their highly regarded mohair blend skin material stuck to a thin and light backing and sold in wider-than-skimo-race-ski widths. The result is a formulation that glides, grips, and sticks with less packed bulk. The size and weight savings are noticeable and valuable.

This is a super-fast, reliable skin product with Pomoca's excellent glue and tip and tail kit. It won't grip as well as most others, especially in hard, crusty, and high-volume skiing. We recommend these skins for discerning skiers on big boards in cold, soft snow conditions. If you seek a value, something to learn skinning with, or all-around skins for narrower skis, look elsewhere. (These work fine on narrower skis, but the weight and bulk savings aren't as significant with skins cut for smaller skis). Think of these as a "Formula 1" sort of product. Save these for your big powder skis on those special, high-volume, cold missions.

Read more: Pomoca Free Pro 2.0 review
climbing skins - pomoca free pro 2.0 skins are high performance and thin and compact...
Pomoca Free Pro 2.0 skins are high performance and thin and compact. Optimum combination for discerning, high end users.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price
74
Pomoca Climb Pro S Glide
pomoca climb pro s glide climbing skin review
$210
Editors' Choice Award
71
Pomoca Free Pro 2.0
pomoca free pro 2.0 climbing skin review
$210
Top Pick Award
69
Pomoca Climb 2.0
pomoca climb 2.0 climbing skin review
$190
Best Buy Award
67
Colltex Clariden
colltex clariden climbing skin review
$235
66
Contour Hybrid Mix
contour hybrid mix climbing skin review
$190
65
Pomoca Climb Pro Mohair
pomoca climb pro mohair climbing skin review
$210
65
Colltex Mohair Mix
colltex mohair mix climbing skin review
$225
61
Dynafit Speedskin
dynafit speedskin climbing skin review
$220
60
Contour Hybrid Mohair
contour hybrid mohair climbing skin review
$220
56
G3 Alpinist+ Speed
g3 alpinist+ speed climbing skin review
$200
56
Kohla Freeride
kohla freeride climbing skin review
$215
51
Black Diamond Ascension Nylon
black diamond ascension nylon climbing skin review
$190
51
Black Diamond Glidelite Mix STS
black diamond glidelite mix sts climbing skin review
$199
47
G3 Alpinist+ Glide
g3 alpinist+ glide climbing skin review
$204
45
Black Diamond UltraLite Mix STS
black diamond ultralite mix sts climbing skin review
$185

climbing skins - epic skiing requires epic skinning. epic skinning requires just the...
Epic skiing requires epic skinning. Epic skinning requires just the right skins. You want "just right" sort of performance. All skin choices are a balance.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Why You Should Trust Us


We test skins thoroughly, mainly in "real life" backcountry skiing. Our first skin review was in 2015 and we have done it every year since. Our longest-serving testers have been logging triple digit backcountry ski days since the late '90s. We start each product test with setup and "bench test" comparisons for compatibility and integrity of new glue. Then we dive into busy, varied winter and spring backcountry skiing. We can get every set of skins on huge powder days, technical ski mountaineering missions, and occasionally a multi-day expedition. We aim for multiple opinions on every product we test. We will directly compare products, often with one on one foot and another on the other. That's the best way we have found to rank both grip and glide.

Testing Metrics:
  • Glide 30%
  • Portability 20%
  • Glue Integrity 20%
  • Grip 15%
  • Icing/Glopping Resistance 10%
  • Compatibility 5%

The varied experience of our test team includes full-time human-powered ski guides, passionate users, beginner ski tourers, and a few points in between. Our lead test editor is Internationally certified mountain guide Jed Porter. Jed has been backcountry skiing since the mid '90s and has logged significant ski accomplishments on three continents across most of the world's snowy latitudes. Further, he is a pioneering ski mountaineering guide, with notable and high volume human powered ski guiding accomplishments. Most recently, in June of 2022, Jed made history by leading the first modern, ropeless guided ski descent of Alaska's Denali. Jed also taps into the expertise and experience of ski partners, colleagues and clients to generate skin reviews for all potential users.

Related: How We Tested Climbing Skins

2-3 photos of how we test:
A selection of tested climbing skins in one of our dispersed garage...
A selection of tested climbing skins in one of our dispersed garage labs. In this case, on the powdery side of Wydaho's Tetons.
Mid winter powder hunting. This super long, cold, strenuous day we...
Mid winter powder hunting. This super long, cold, strenuous day we resupplied water halfway through and removed and applied the Contour skins a dozen times. The skins kept up great.
The material is thin and light, and then we cut them to small skis...
The material is thin and light, and then we cut them to small skis. The result is featherlight

Analysis and Test Results



Read on for our overview and recommendations of textile products to stick to the bottom of backcountry skis for uphill travel. We rate climbing skins for glide, portability, glue integrity, grip, icing/glopping resistance and compatibility.

Related: How to Choose Backcountry Climbing Skins


Value



Shopping for any technical equipment by price is difficult. With skins it is an especially "sticky" situation. You will rely a great deal on your climbing skins, but they aren't cool and flashy like boots or skis. The "best" are only marginally better than the "worst." Only very occasionally does a product come on the market that is truly ineffective. Those products, though, are truly heinous. Our first advice to the bargain hunter is that, if it seems "too good to be true", it probably is. Older products and especially used products can work, but you are taking a huge gamble.
climbing skins - beautiful, mellow glacier skinning deep in the alaska wilderness. we...
Beautiful, mellow glacier skinning deep in the Alaska wilderness. We tested in environments from pedestrian to extreme.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Next, be aware that the price range on the products that actually work isn't as big as in other categories. With skis the top of the heap is two times the cost of the bottom. Not so with skins. Differences are in single digit percentages. A good sale on expensive skins might yield a better price than retail price on the least expensive.

Make sure you are comparing prices of like items. Each make and model is sized differently so you must shop by size – look at length and width, which can vary by company. In shopping by price, narrow your options first by size, then compare price. Bigger skins of the same model are more expensive than smaller ones.

Hunting value is never easy and with skins it is especially fraught. But there are good deals out there. If you are shopping at full retail, you can't go wrong with our latest affordable choice Pomoca Climb 2.0 or the recently displaced value runner up Black Diamond Glidelite Mix STS.

climbing skins - corn cruising on a special &quot;skimo-de-mayo&quot; day high in the tetons...
Corn cruising on a special "Skimo-de-Mayo" day high in the Tetons. Long distance corn snow is hard on skins. This is the one setting in which we might recommend nylon skins.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Glide


This is the most important single attribute of climbing skins the biggest determinant of their uphill efficiency. Good skinning technique slides the skis and skins rather than lifts them, so skins that slide easily climb easily. Two things affect the glide characteristic:


The first and biggest is the type of fiber used. Mohair, made from the shorn hair of the Angora goat, creates the smoothest and least resistant glide. Nylon is slower and mixes of the two split the difference. Also, differences in glide characteristics depend a little on the nature of the snow. While mohair skins always glide at least a little better, the difference is far more pronounced on dry, wintry snow than it is on wet or melt/freeze snow. On fresh and dry snow, mohair is considerably faster than nylon, while on corn type snow the same differential is much less.

Secondly, the length and geometry of the hairs that protrude on the fabric side effects glide. Those skins that glide better have hairs that are lower profile and more closely shorn. It is logical that the angle at which the fibers protrude from the backing fabric would affect glide characteristics.

climbing skins - different snow conditions reward different attributes in your...
Different snow conditions reward different attributes in your climbing skins. Some will glide better in cold powder snow while others excel on melt freeze snow, for instance.
Credit: Jediah Porter

The Pomoca Climb Pro Mohair skins glide better than any other tested option. The Contour Hybrid Mohair is right in the mix with these green gliders. The next echelon of gliding performance holds the remainder of our favorites and a few others. The blended skins, like the Pomoca Climb Pro S Glide, Pomoca Free Pro 2.0, and Contour Hybrid Mix have virtually indistinguishable glide characteristics. The all mohair G3 Alpinist+ Speed glides more like the blended products than it does like other all-mohair options.

The blended construction of the G3 Alpinist+ Glide is closer to the all-nylon Ascension than it is to the other blended skins. Also, we were surprised by the high friction coefficient of the blended formulation in the Kohla Freeride skins. Choose these slower gliding options with skepticism.

climbing skins - grand teton national park skin testing. skinning here is alternately...
Grand Teton National Park skin testing. Skinning here is alternately very steep and very flat; excellent testing ground.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Portability


We found a wide range of mass and sizes in our tested skins. As with grip and glide, packability and weight correlate to the material. Because we test skis, and therefore skins, of different widths, we cannot directly compare the mass of our tested skins to each other.


However, as a rule nylon skins are heavier and bulkier while and mohair skins are lighter and less bulky. Some light and packable skins include the BD Glidelite Mix and the Pomoca skins. The Pomoca Climb Pro S Glide are similar in packability to the Glidelite Mix, with the Pomoca Climb Pro Mohair and Free Pro 2.0 being roughly tied as the smallest and lightest. The CollTex Mohair Mix is similar in packability to the Pomoca Mohair.

climbing skins - when you need to move fast (say, if a chunk of ice falls off that...
When you need to move fast (say, if a chunk of ice falls off that glacier) you want light skins that will work reliably. Backcountry skiing is a high stakes game. Stack the odds in your favor.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Both of Contour's entries are just on the bulky side. The Hybrid Mohair and Hybrid Mix skins are not as svelte as others, but their performance makes up for it. G3 skins have bulky tip and tail kits that really earn their keep. The attachments of the Alpinist+ Speed and Alpinist+ Glide take up more room in a pocket or pack but are well worth it.

The Pomoca Free Pro 2.0 is more compact than any of the other currently tested skins. You will suffer some durability but will pack smaller and lighter. The Kohla Freeride is almost as compact and light as the pink Pomoca. We love how small and light the Freeride is; we just wish that it glided better.

Glue Integrity


Your skins must stay on your skis. Mainly, but not exclusively, it is the glue's job to do that. Considering the demands placed on skin glue (wet conditions, high shear forces, poor care, repeated use), all products work marvelously. None of the skins we tested suffered complete, unexplainable skin failure – if it is cold enough or wet enough, all skins will fail to some degree. But some stayed put better than others. The glue on all the Black Diamond options seems remarkably robust. The Pomoca Climb Pro Mohair, Climb Pro S Glide, Free Pro 2.0, Climb 2.0 and Dynafit Speedskin, all made by Pomoca, all seem to have the same glue. Its stickiness is among the least of all we tested, but its overall performance is more than adequate. We've heard that Pomoca has different glue formulations for different skin models, but across the five mentioned models, often with multiple iterations, we couldn't tell any difference. The Contour Hybrid Mix and Hybrid Mohair are the least sticky in recent comparisons. Contour's "Hybrid" glue is carefully tuned and requires periodic cleaning to maintain its excellent performance. Neglect the Contour glue, and you could be stranded. But if you keep them clean with Contour cleaner, you won't find better glue performance.

climbing skins - tested bca climbing skins. we mainly discuss these as what they...
Tested BCA Climbing Skins. We mainly discuss these as what they originally are; Contour Hybrid Mix skins. No matter the name, they are great skins.
Credit: Jediah Porter

A few years ago, G3 adjusted their glue formulation. Most recently, we tested their G3 Alpinist+ Glide and the Alpinist Speed. The Alpinist skin glue is robust, if not a little too strong. As with the CollTex Mohair Mix, the G3 glue requires more strength than the others to pull from itself and from your skis.

climbing skins - when the weather is tough, the last thing you want to do is deal...
When the weather is tough, the last thing you want to do is deal with failing skins. Reliable glue performance is a crucial aspect of overall performance.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Note that all skin glue will fail in certain conditions. Snow, water, regular skinning forces, and gravity will disrupt the glue/ski base bond. Don't dispose of your skins because the skins came off. Clean them off, dry them out, and stick them back on. If they fail when they are dry and clean and being pressed onto clean and dry skis, consider regluing the. Or cleaning them if they are Contour Hybrid skins.


Augmenting a glue's characteristics are a couple of other factors. All skins must attach to the tip of your ski so that forward sliding doesn't peel the skin back or push snow between the skin and ski. Different products accomplish this in a variety of ways. Some use a simple cable or wire loop while others employ toggles in holes or hooks over edges. Some skins are cut to stay full width all the way to the tip, while others taper gently back to their full width. The tapered strategy seems to work better. Some skins' backing material is stiffer than others. Soft skins seem to peel back more readily than stiffer ones. While the glue on the mohair mix BD skins is the same as on the full nylon ones, the soft, flexible mohair mix fabric allows far more rolling action. As a result, the skin glue fails more often on the blends than the full nylon. G3. Pomoca's different options all seem to have similar backing stiffness. As a result, their glue integrity is more consistent across their product lines.

The The most secure tip attachment we used was the rubbery dongle on the Dynafit Speedskin. This arrangement, combined with a long, gentle taper of the skin width and fairly rigid construction, made for an overall more secure skin fit than the otherwise less tacky glue would suggest. The overall glue integrity of the Speedskin is better than that of the Black Diamond Ultralight or Mohair Mix, even though the actual glue of these BD skins is tackier. Among the universally compatible skins, the G3 models have a better tip attachment than the Black Diamond, Pomoca, Kohla and CollTex. The G3 stiffened plastic tip is brilliant and serves to virtually eliminate skin roll at the tip.

climbing skins - this sort of complete glue failure is more common than you might...
This sort of complete glue failure is more common than you might hope. How frequent it is depends on conditions, care, and the integrity of your skins' glue.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Finally, most skins are equipped with a tail clip, ostensibly to help the skins stay glued on. In certain conditions, we found little to no difference in glue integrity with or without the tail kit. However, cold and wet skins work better with a tail kit. Many in our testing team have experimented for a long time with and without tail clips. While the manufacturers claim they keep skins on better and mark up the price of tail-clip equipped skins, we have found little to no difference in several conditions and regions. The best use of tail clips in sunny, warmer climates and on shorter or "monolithic" (fewer transitions) tours is mainly just to help remove skins with gloves on. On the other hand, in wetter, stormier and colder climates, especially on huge, multi-transition days, tail clips and careful glue care are advised.

Grip


Skins are made to grip. That is their only purpose: to make your skis grippier than they would be otherwise. However, skins differ less dramatically in this regard than they do with respect to glide. Further, physiological efficiency limits your angle of ascent more than skin grip. Technique, not skin material or construction, is the biggest determinant of one's skinning security when it gets steeper than your body prefers. A good skinner can climb more steeply on the most slippery skins than a new skinner can on the grippiest. Good skinning is a magic art of balance, trust, and reading terrain. All that said, skins do differ. We found noticeable differences in the grip characteristics, generally inversely proportional to the product's glide. Better gliding skins grip less, while the slower gliders grip better. Some products hedge their bets better.


All blended skins, including the Contour Hybrid Mix and award-winning Pomoca S Glide and Free Pro 2.0, grip well enough for intermediate to expert skinners to follow even the steepest, iciest skin tracks. The G3 Alpinist+ Glide grab slightly better than the other blends, often enough better to make up for less developed technique. The all-mohair G3 Alpinist Speed grips more like a blended skin than other all mohair options we have used. The Kohla Freeride skins grip much like the G3 Alpinist+ Glide, a little better than average.

climbing skins - skinning is a magic art. even the grippiest skins require advanced...
Skinning is a magic art. Even the grippiest skins require advanced technique to grab the snow.
Credit: Jediah Porter

The least grippy skins are also the best gliders. The Pomoca Climb Pro Mohair grips well enough that expert skinners might use these exclusively, even for the gnarliest of missions.

climbing skins - skinning traction in steep terrain is a function of skin grip and...
Skinning traction in steep terrain is a function of skin grip and technique. As one improves in technique, skin grip is less and less important.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Icing/Glopping Resistance


All skins ice up. When the fabric gets wet from warmer snow and is then subject to cold, dry snow, ice forms within the fabric. This, depending on exact snow conditions, can result in anything from mere annoyance to a full-on shut-down.


The worst "glopping" conditions lead to tens of pounds of snow stuck to each ski and require extensive scraping and waxing before progress can be made. Further, and painfully, it could just happen again within a few steps. All the skins we tested are treated from the factory with water-resistant coatings that work well but wear off eventually. None seemed to last noticeably longer than the others. Nylon fiber initially absorbs marginally less water than mohair. Once wet, however, all fibers ice up. Again, differences were marginal, and all skins require waxing so they won't ice up in warmer, fresh snow conditions. Good technique (waxing and sliding your skins forward with each step) are a greater equalizer than any difference in materials. All materials will ice up in the worst conditions, and a little prevention and technique will prevent icing on all materials in all but those worst conditions.

climbing skins - all skins ice up. here, the g3 alpinist falls victim to fresh snow...
All skins ice up. Here, the G3 Alpinist falls victim to fresh snow in warm conditions in Leadville Colorado.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Compatibility


Not all the skins we tested are compatible with all skis on the market. Dynafit skins are compatible only with Dynafit skis.


The remainder of the skis we tested are ostensibly universal in compatibility. Wire tip loops are tougher to use on fat and rounded ski tips. Thankfully, more and more manufacturers are moving away from them. Black Diamond finally abandoned their wire tip loops. With that move, none of our tested skins have wire tip loops. Not every "universal" skin comes in sizes large or small enough for outlier ski sizes. Generally, though, most of the skins we tested are universal in fit.

Among those universal in fit, tip attachments vary. The best and most versatile are the pivoting metal hooks of the G3 skins. Next, the offset and rigid wire slots of the Pomoca, Contour, Colltex, Kohla and newest Black Diamond options are quite secure and adaptable to different tip profiles. The cable tip loops still on the market in places are the least secure tip loop option we assessed.

climbing skins - skins are required. they all do the job. however, many do it better...
Skins are required. They all do the job. However, many do it better than others. Your skill, preferences, and environment will inform your choice. Take your time with that choice and reap great rewards.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Conclusion


Choose your skins wisely. You might have "decision fatigue" by the time you get your boots, skis and bindings figured out, but a deep breath and focus for a few more minutes while you select this important product. Don't just grab the first thing that's available. Our findings are based on real-world testing and consideration of the needs of real skiers across the entire spectrum of abilities, goals, and backgrounds.

Jediah Porter


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