Proper care for your ski touring skins

| Lifehacks, Tips & Tricks

How do you look after your climbing skins? Clean them, dry them, waterproof them, and store them correctly – and you’re good to go for your next ski tour!

How to extend the product life of your climbing skins

Ski touring skins are also called climbing skins. To extend their product life, you should know how to properly care for them. Plus, ski touring is even more fun with well-maintained climbing skins. After all, they offer better grip during your ascent, glide more easily and stop you from sliding backwards.

Reason enough to find out about proper cleaning and storing of your ski touring skins, don’t you think? Read on to discover our best tips on climbing skin maintenance.

Cleaning

The most important rule: Climbing skins should be cleaned after every tour, ideally with a clean and dry cotton cloth. To remove more thorough dirt, use a moist cloth. Only use cleaning agents if recommended by the manufacturer!

To remove pine needles, small stones or leaves, use tweezers. Make sure to remove all objects properly to avoid resulting tears or holes in your climbing skins.

Drying

Dry your ski touring skins at room temperature. Don’t dry them over the radiator or in direct sunlight, as high temperatures can cause the glue to melt or harden. If your skins are really wet, hang them out to dry over night and make sure that the glue side is properly dry.

Proper care for ski touring skins

Clean the skin edges

The edges of your climbing skins tend to fray with time. Simply remove the loose fibres with a pair of nail scissors before carefully sealing the edges with a lighter. Only use a small flame and keep just enough distance to avoid damage to the glue.

Look after the glue side

An important part of caring for the glue side of your climbing skins is to correctly attach and remove your skins before and after a tour. Make sure that they don’t get in contact with the ground, dirty snow or other dirt. If the glue side of your climbing skins gets damaged, you need to apply a new one. As this is a pretty complicated procedure, you should leave it to the experts.

Waterproof your skins

After thoroughly cleaning and drying your climbing skins, we recommend waterproofing them with special skin wax or waterproof spray. Carefully read the instructions before applying either.

By proofing your touring skins you make sure that they glide better through the snow. If they lose their gliding properties, wet snow easily sticks to them, making your ascent noticeably harder. If your climbing skins are not regularly re-proofed, this can become a problem especially in spring.

During the tour

An important part of caring for your climbing skins already happens during your ski tour. When out on the mountain, avoid puddles and wet snow as moisture can cause the skins to lose their water-proof properties. If this happens, you can reapply wax or water-proof spray during your tour.

Also try to avoid dirt, especially when you’re passing through a forest. Where there are trees, there often is sticky resin. If hard-to-remove resin drops get in contact with your climbing skins, even more dirt sticks to them.

If dirt causes the glue side of your skins to lose grip, apply liquid glue or spray adhesive. Alternatively, tape, cable ties, duct tape or ropes can be helpful in situations like these. NB: In a first step, always make sure to thoroughly remove any dirt with a clean, dry cotton cloth!

Where do you store your touring skins right after a tour? Put them in a clean, dry and warm place to keep them supple and to prevent them from freezing up. For instance, beneath your jacket, just over your stomach, is a good place. Alternatively, you can also fold them away in the large breast pocket that many ski touring jackets have.

How to correctly store your touring skins

Whether it’s in-between tours or over the summer: Before stowing away your climbing skins, you should thoroughly clean, waterproof and dry them.

The most important rule: Make sure that all glued surfaces are covered to prevent the glue from drying out or getting dirty. Ideally, cover them with the foil that came with your skins. You can also stick the skins together unless you have sidecut carving skins. Another option: Put the skins on a cheat sheet and fold them in the middle – don’t roll them!

Once they are covered, store your climbing skins in a bag. Make sure that the bag is not airtight, as moisture may result in mould growth. Store the bag in a dry place, away from direct sunlight and at room temperature.

Your climbing skins are perfectly cared for? Great! Then it’s time to think about your next ski tour! Find out about professional ski tour planning and discover how to get the most out of your next mountain adventure!

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