In the early stages of the practice, hikers used real animal skins with short hair to grip on the snow during their climbs. Nowadays, we use synthetic materials for an efficient and long-lasting grip.
When should I use skins?
Nordic cross-country skis with scales only offer limited grip when the slope gets too steep. For climbers, it is preferable to buy skins that you fit under the skis just before you start climbing. This way you can work you way up a summit without being worried by backwards steps or insufficient grip.
How do I use them?
The skin fits under the ski thanks to a hook on the tip, then glue is applied on the rear of the skin so that it can stick all along the sole. Once you have reached the summit, you just have to remove them and stick them against one another so that the glue doesn't dry in contact with the air. Keep them warm in your ski jacket or ski backpack if you wish to reuse them for your next climb or to dry them and store them for next winter.
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