Why You Shouldn’t Try Regluing Your Backcountry Skins
It might save you a few bucks in the short term, but investing in skins that use next-level adhesives is the best solution to glue problems.
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Question: When I take my skins off at the top of a ski tour, glue sticks to the bottom of my skis. Do I need to reglue my skins? – Martine G., Golden, Colo.
Standing 13,000 feet above sea level in Colorado’s Gore Mountain Range, my partners were giving me some funny looks as I took out a pocket scraper and worked diligently on the bases of my skis. They were wondering why an editor from SKI Magazine was scraping glue off the bottom of his skis while tasty corn was ripe for harvest below.
“Boy, those skins are going to get a bad review, eh?” one of my friends asked with a smirk.
“Have you ever tried regluing skins?” another inquired.
I shuddered at the thought, remembering a night in grad school when I spent about $50 at REI for some glue renew sheets and tried to do it. I didn’t have a $30 heat gun or a proper tool to scrape off the glue, so I used gloves, a hair dryer, and a metal ski wax scraper to get as much of the old glue off as I could. Carefully following the application instructions, I laboriously ironed new glue to my skis.
Within a week, most of the reapplied glue had started peeling off around the edges of the skins. After a dozen uses, nearly all of the glue had peeled off, rendering the skins as useful as a blown knee ten miles from the trailhead.
Worst of all, I heard the same story from a number of friends over the years. I met one person—a former editor at Skiing Magazine—who did it successfully, but even he claimed he probably wouldn’t do it again.
Should You Reglue Your Skins?
A decade since my unfortunate experience with a hair dryer in a basement, certain brands still use glue that just plain sucks. After a few seasons of regular wear and tear, the adhesive leaves a residue that sticks to the bottom of skis, to gloves, and to skin “protector” sheets. These brands still sell glue renew sheets, indicating that this eventual breakdown is going to happen.
So, what do I tell my friends, partners, and even myself standing on that mountain when asked if regluing skins works?
Don’t waste your time and money. Instead, invest in skins that don’t use the same glue formula they did ten years ago. There are a few brands making skins that have next-level adhesives that work better in wet, cold, and even hot conditions. Best of all, they never need to be reglued.
Pomoca, a Swiss brand that makes its own branded skins as well as skins for other companies including DPS, Dynafit, and more, worked with Elkem Silicones to produce a silicone-based membrane and adhesive. Called TIPON, the membrane and the adhesive are attached directly to the fabric. The result is complete waterproofness, less weight, and a silicone-based adhesive that is so durable that it can be washed clean rather than picked at with tweezers.
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Pomoca’s TIPON Technology
Scott unveiled new skins last season that use Hotmelt adhesion. This type of adhesive can be formulated to perform at certain temperature ranges—hot or cold—but remains solid at room temperature. While the new Scott skins are less sticky to the touch unless it’s cold, they remain confidently attached without leaving anything behind. And, because they are less sticky at room temperature, they are less likely to pick up dust and fuzz while in storage.
The skins that were leaving glue on my skis were made by a North American company and about three years old. On a different backcountry setup, I’ve used the Pomoca Climb Pro S-Glide skins for four years and have had zero issues. They are lighter, glide and grip extremely well, and the glue is still perfectly sticky without leaving residue.
I’ve also used the Scott skins for two seasons now, in both Colorado and in Courmayeur, Italy. The Hotmelt glue is still great and has worked well even on poorly scraped wax.
All that being said, both Pomoca and Scott have some issues when it comes to tip and tail clips. While Pomoca’s plastic tail clip has improved significantly over the years, next season’s DPS-branded skins—made by Pomoca—use a metal tail clip. It’s probably a matter of time until Pomoca starts selling metal clips on their skins as well.
Because Scott’s shovel clips are designed to only be used with the holes in the front of Scott skis, they probably won’t work with any other skis in your quiver unless you only ski on Scott skis.
Since that day in Colorado’s Gore Range—and after an extensive base-cleaning session—I’ve started using Pomoca Free Pro 2.0 for my spring skiing setup. I’ll be sure to check in three years for now, but as my previous Pomocas have proven, new skins with better adhesives are going to be way better than trying to renew the glue on anything else.