In this very special winter, have you started to practice ski touring or would you like to get started? The ski lifts are not open and you have to find a way to go up, to rediscover the pleasure of sliding down? Opt for ski touring equipment!
Ski touring is nowadays a sport more than trendy. Mixing physical effort during the ascent and real pleasure during the descent, it will make you discover landscapes that will leave you without words. If you want to clear your head away from the crowd of slopes, ski touring is the solution. But it requires adapted equipment: skis, touring bindings and sealskins. This equipment (skins) is not totally common for everyone, so Alpinstore explains how it works and gives you some advice on how to choose them.
All you need to know about sealskin
Sealskin is the essential element for ski touring. It is the accessory that will allow you to go skiing, without sliding. It is placed on the sole of your skis and becomes the "anti-recoil" effect. Its adhesive surface ensures you a pleasant ascent, whatever the conditions.
There are two different types of sealskins: glue skins and self-adhesive skins.
The former are filled with glue, which gives an excellent grip on your sole. But this system requires regular maintenance by re-gluing your skins, so that they are operational at each outing. Often they are transported in a small bag and each one is glued on a special net, to avoid sticking them together and to avoid dirt to stick.
Self-adhesive skins are easier to use and require little maintenance since they stick together. Working on the principle of the molecular suction cup, they are more expensive to buy but the functioning of these skins makes them an incredible invention.
Composition: mohair / synthetic / mixed
Nowadays, seal skins are no longer made from animal hair (seal/elan) but from synthetic fibres. There are 3 models of sealskins:
100% mohair skins: mainly used for competition, mohair skins are known for their gliding and anti-recoil effect which is very effective. Be careful, these skins require a real maintenance because they are fragile and get damaged quickly.
100% synthetic skins: mainly used for specific practices (spring snow or hard snow), synthetic skins are ultra-light and very resistant. On the other hand, they offer a less good quality of glide, which is why these skins are not much offered for sale on their own.
Mixed skins: mainly used for occasional to regular practices, sealskins made of mohair and synthetic are ideal since they offer good gliding quality, a good anti-recoil effect and excellent durability.
Although the skins stick to the sole of your ski, it is absolutely necessary that they are attached at the top and/or bottom to be properly maintained. They can be attached to your pair of skis in a variety of ways. There are 4 attachment systems:
Spatula stirrup: often made of metal or plastic, the stirrup is attached to the top of the spatula. Often found on sealskins, this system is compatible with a large number of touring skis.
Quick tensioner: used by competitors, this system can be hooked on/off in a few seconds without removing the ski boots.
Spatula and heel sti rrup: most sealskins are sold with one hook on the front and one on the back of your ski. Held at each end, the sealskin is ideally placed.
With insert: to save a little weight on your equipment, the insert attachment system can only be used for skis that have a small housing provided for this purpose, at the top of their spatula.
The choice of your skins
Now that you know all about the sealskins available on the market, you need to choose which one will look best on your pair of touring skis. To do this, we advise you to take the following two points into account:
The size of your ski
The width of the skate (level of the bindings) is a determining factor in the choice of your pair of skins.
To make it easier for you, brands often offer the pair of pre-cut sk ins for each model of touring skis. This means that the pair of skins is specially designed for a specific model.
If the skins are not offered with your pair of skis, then you will have to choose skins to cut yourself. In this case, be careful to plan a little wider than your ski skate, in order to achieve a fine shaping.
Your practice is to be taken into account in the choice of your skins.
As explained previously, if you are a competitor or expert, it would be preferable to choose skins with glue, with a quick-release fastening system.
If you are a regular hiker looking for performance, opt for a pair of glue skins, with a mixed fibre (mohair + synthetic) and a front attachment system.
If you are an occasional hiker, you can choose between self-adhesive or glue skins and you will have to prefer mixed skins with a front and rear attachment system.
It's up to you! All our skins models are waiting for you at Alpinstore ...