How to Choose the Best Splitboard Skins
Without splitboard skins, hunting down untracked powder would be pretty much impossible. These simple furry on one side sticky on the other strips of material are paramount for ascending mountains under your own steam.
Snowboarders who have added a splitboard to their quiver may need a little help with the details on how they work, how to use them, and how to set them up. Think of this article as the ultimate guide to splitboard skins to bring you up to speed for your first self-powered backcountry missions.
—And, it’s precisely because skins are so important that we at Telos make them from 100% pure goat hair. 2-layer waterproof construction so your skins don’t rot no matter how much you use them. The "Univeral Fit" option are 170x135 to fit most splitboards.
What Are Spiltboard Skins And How Do They Work?
When it is time to tour up to that epic powder line you have had your eye on, you have to put your splitboard into touring mode. This is when your splitboard becomes a pair of skis.
Splitboard skins stick to your base with glue, which is helped out with hooks, loops, or clips that attach to the tips and tails of your "skis."
The furry side of the skins has tiny bristles that point to the tails. These bristles allow you to slide your skis forwards but prevent you from skiing backwards, which most snowboarders would find terrifying.
How To Attach Your Splitboard Skins
Your splitboard skins are designed and cut to fit a specific ski. You can't interchange them due to their shape, so you need to make sure that you match the correct skin to each ski before you start your climb.
Luckily, Telos’ Custom Fit Alpinist 100% Mohair Splitboard Skins by KOHLA come precut for 8 different Telos board models. Made from the purest Mohair from Angora Goats, these skins combine robustness with fine handling.
You also need to ensure that your skins are dry, or the glue may not stick to the base, causing your splitboard skins to unstick themselves when you really don't want them to.
Hold your ski with the tip pointing towards the sky and hook the skin to it. Your skin will be folded in half and stuck together, so once you have attached the skin to the tip, you need to pull the tail out while pressing the sticky side to the base.
You must put your skin in the center of the ski, with equal amounts of edge showing on each side. Then smooth the skin towards the tail with your hand to ensure there are no bumps or wrinkles in the material before attaching the tail clip. Doing this will also make the glue stick to the base.
Repeat the process on the other ski, then attach your bindings ready for your hike.
Attaching your splitboard skins is pretty straightforward. However, it is best to practice at home a few times to dial in the technique. It is much easier to get it right inside and out of the wind.
How To Remove Your Splitboard Skins
So you have hiked to the top of the mountain, looking down the slope and planning your first turns, but it is time to turn your skis back into a snowboard.
The first thing to do is release the tail clip and peel the skin towards the tip. While you do this, you need to keep the snow off the sticky side, especially if you need to use your skins again on the same day.
Once you have taken the skin off, fold it in the middle sticky side to sticky side. Roll or fold it up and put it in your pack or inside your jacket to keep it warm and dry. Repeat with the other ski, and rebuild your splitboard.
This is the time when your practice pays off, as it can often be windy at the top of the mountain. As you peel the skins off, they can flap around in the breeze, sticking themselves to your jacket or pants, which can be frustrating, especially when you are itching to get the first tracks before your friends.
Choosing The Best Splitboard Skins For You
A few factors will determine what the best splitboard skins for you are. Here is a little rundown of what you need to know:
Splitboard Skin Material
Fun fact! Skins get their name from sealskin, which was what the early adopters of ski touring used on the base of their skis. But these days, skins are made from mohair, nylon, or a mix of the two.
The different materials affect how much grip your splitboard skins give you, how well they glide, their cost, and their durability.
Synthetic splitboard skins are usually made from nylon. This material gives you lots of traction and is incredibly durable. The downside of nylon skins is that they are not the best choice for easy gliding. However, they are the cheapest option.
Mohair splitboard skins strike a great balance between traction and forward glide. They are also lightweight, making those long slogs up steep mountains easier. However, mohair skins are more expensive than nylon and are less durable.
These skins consist of nylon and mohair to give you reasonable traction and glide. They are not too heavy or expensive and tend to last a long time.
When buying your splitboard skins, you need to consider the type of touring you want to do. For example, if you head into the backcountry a lot and do long-distance missions, you would be better with lightweight skins that glide with less effort.
On the other hand, if you only go splitboarding occasionally, you may want to save some cash with synthetic skins that have great traction and durability.
Splitboard Skin Length
The length of your splitboard skins needs to correspond to your splitboard's length. You can buy splitboard skins in different length ranges with specific tip and tail attachment systems.
It is worth noting that the tip and tail attachment systems have some adjustability. This allows you to fine-tune their fit.
You will come across some skins that are only sold in one length. If you opt for these, you will need to trim them to size. Most of the time, they will come with a special tool allowing you to fit the attachment systems yourself. But you will find some that only use the glue and tip loops to hold them to the base of your board.
Splitboard Skin Width
The next thing you need to look at is the width of your new splitboard skins. Most manufacturers only have one width for the splitboard skins, so you have to trim them to size.
Splitboard skins come with a tool to make it easy to cut your skins to the shape of your splitboard.
If you are trying to choose between different widths, you need to think about coverage. Wider skins will give you more coverage and grip. However, you don't want them to be wider than your skis. When they overhang your edges, they will prevent you from digging your edges into the snow for tricky traverses or sidestepping icy slopes.
Final Thoughts on Splitboard Skins
You will evolve with your skills and where you go, so you may want to change your splitboard skins to suit the environments you put yourself in.
The main thing you will learn is how to transition more efficiently and quickly. This comes with practice, making attaching and removing your skins effortless.