Skin Sizing Question

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  • #30914
    Chris B

    I have some Hagan X-Race Skis which I am looking to get new skins for. They are 64mm underfoot. Would 59 mm width skins work fine? I’m assuming a difference of 2.5 mm on either side is probably about right.

Posted In: Skimo-racing

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    Anonymous on #30923

    Race skins come in 59mm or 62mm. The difference is glide versus grip. But (IMO) what you gain in glide with a 59, you more than lose with slippage. So I always use 62s.

    More important than width is how they’re cut. If you end up racing a lot, you’ll end up with a fleet of skins for different conditions and terrain. In general, you want to cut them about 10-15cm behind the back of the heel piece. Start longer, test, and adjust. (It’s hard to start shorter and adjust… 🙂 )

    If your skinning technique is good, I don’t think there’s much to be gained past 10cm. Some would argue you can cut them right behind the heel piece.

    Here’s a photo of a very used skin and how it wore. The vertical line marks the back of the heel piece. As you can see, the plush is gone under the heel and very little is worn behind it. There’s some edge wear back to 10cm, and almost none at 15cm:

    I hope that helps.

    Anonymous on #30924

    …and why cut them that short at all? The shorter the skin, the better the glide. It’s quite noticeable.

    Chris B on #30928

    Thanks so much! This is an incredibly helpful post

    Anonymous on #30931

    Great. I’m glad it helped.

    Also… it’s worth mentioning that not all skins are created equal. The best race skins are made by Pomoca, Colltex, and [one I can’t remember].

    Pomocas are the easiest to identify because they’re bright pink. The one in the photo is a 6-year-old Dynafit but its glide is not great. I think Pomoca makes Dynafit skins, so their race skins may have improved since then.

    Aaron on #30984

    Would you extend this advice to touring skis? I just received last night a pair of mohair skins for a pair of Fischer Hannibal 183 (from skiuphill, your backyard right?) and the G3 sizing I choose leaves ~20cm of non-rockered tail exposed. This old dog has never gone shorty on skins and with going to mohair makes be a bit nervous for traction. However I am willing to learn new tricks and if it improves glide without loosing traction wohoo!

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    Anonymous on #31038

    I would think that you have enough plush underfoot, even if it’s 20cm shorter. The issue with mohair skins slipping has more to do with the angle of the track, I think.

    Unfortunately, most ski tourers want to feel like they’re going uphill quickly rather than actually doing so. That means they set steep, grinding uphill tracks which actually slow the climb rate. But they sweat more, so they like that, I guess.

    (Can you tell that steep, inefficient skin tracks drive me insane?)

    Aaron on #31039

    Thanks Scott. I’ll give the shorties a try. I too hate steep skin tracks and only resort to them for short pushes where terrain features force it (primarily existing steep creek gully walls or steep treed pitches linking benches). Nothing so satisfying and sexy as sinuous skin tracks through aesthetic terrain.

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