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How To .... Put on Touring Skins

Back Country Guides : Episode 2 - Skins

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How To .... Put on Touring Skins

To travel in the off piste there are a few pieces of equipment that are essential; first among these are skins. Skins were originally made from animal skin, hence the clever name, and were used because they allowed travel over the snow.

Like the coat on a dog the skins are smooth in one direction but bristle in the opposite direction providing grip. These days skins are made of a synthetic material but the principle is still the same. With modern skins the important thing to ensure is that the glue that holds the skin to the ski is in the best condition possible.

It's best to keep your skins in a separate bag while you are not using them, this way the glue will not be transferred to anything else. If you stop during your tour for a break then the glue can be preserved by either leaving you skins in direct sunlight to keep the glue sticky if the weather is cold or in the spring time when the glue will become too tacky in the sun leave the skis with the skins facing away from the sun's heat.

If you are taking your skins off during your tour then it is a good idea to keep them inside your jacket when it's cold or back in your pack when the weather is warmer. this way you can maintain a temperature that will keep the glue sticky but not too soft.

Putting the skins onto the skis is not complicated but it can be fiddly especially in windy conditions. Start by ensuring the base of the ski is free from snow and ice, a smooth warm surface will enable the glue to do its job far better than a cold, ice-covered base. From the tip to the tail stick the skin down in sections making sure the skin is smooth against the base and even along the edges.

With your skins in place you can start your tour.