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sizing kicker skins for x-c skis

I am getting rossignol bc65 skis and want kicker skins for them.  Black diamond sells glidelite kicker skins in different widths.  The bc65 dimensions are 65-53-60.  The black diamond kicker skins come in 50 and 65 mm widths.  Is it better for me to get the 50mm and not trim them.  Or get the 65 and trim.  Also, if I get the 65, how I cannot trim at the front strap, and it will overhang the ski by some amount.  Is this a problem?

Thanks

7 Replies

BC65 has a waxless base with fishscale grip for your uphill. I wouldn't even try a skin on it as it really isn't made for it.  You can expect the fishscales to get full of gunk and no longer work on their own.  Skins are really only for AT touring skis, which you can use as XC skis in most backcountry situations, though not advisable if you are on rolling terrain due to all the times you will need to take the skins off.  You will find touring/backcountry skis under downhill skis (just add tech bindings and tech boots).  There are some true XC skis like Madshus used to make with tiny skin inserts in the kick zone only, but that's the only XC skis I've ever seen used with skins.

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@crevitch You can definitely use skins on any waxless XC ski (fish scale pattern). I have a pair of scaled skis that I use skins on under a few different conditions: 1) snow is refrozen and scales are less effective than skins, 2) I have a heavy backpack and I can’t / don’t want to take a really low angle approach 3) when pulling a heavy sled which requires a bit more resistance when kicking. My girlfriend has similar skis to the bc65 (I think they are alpina 80s). We got her some used full length skins for getting up some of the packed trails to access meadows that we kick around with our dog. She feels way more comfortable climbing now.

Skin glue is not like klister. If you keep it in good condition it shouldn’t come off on your skis. As for the width, I’d say go smaller because you won’t be trying to edge anything most likely and your ski bases will be mostly flat to maximize contact with the snow. I’d sacrifice a bit of edge coverage to make sure the front of the kicker skin (those have metal tabs right?) doesn’t clip a rock or tree that’s just below the surface of the snow. Depending oh how much grip you want/need, it may be best to look for a full length skin. Hope this helps. 

 

PDB
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@PatrickB I love to learn new things!  I have never seen nor heard of this, though I understand why it would be desirable for climbing.  I would assume this would still be a huge momentum killer on anything other than a climb and I am very surprised the fishscale pattern is not affected by the glue.  I know it isn't klister, but assumed with all the intricate grooves that pattern would tend to accumulate anything remotely sticky.

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
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@Diesseldorf it might not be super common, but we find there are certain times that skins are necessary. And absolutely, skins are a HUGE momentum killer on the way down. We primarily used them for ascents where the fish scales just won't cut it. We have a lot of trails that get packed down to near ice, but the forest is too dense to put in a second and more gradual accent to the meadows we like to access. 

 

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The only time I've had skin glue come off on my skis, the skins were pretty old and probably had just as many pine needles as glue on them. I had revived the glue on them numerous times and they were due for me to replace the glue. No all glue is equal though. I've heard of people having issues with glue from brand new skins sticking to their unscaled skis. I've never experienced that, but I agree that it would be a bit harder to clean off of the fish scaled areas of a ski. 

PDB
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@PatrickB @Diesseldorf   Thanks for all the info.  How do I decide whether kicker skins are enough or I need full skins?  Is it the slope?

@crevitch Slope is a major factor, but, as Patrick pointed out, if you are carrying a large pack, pulling a sled, or dealing with very icy conditions you also may want full skin for more friction.  I don't think you will go wrong with only kickers or full skin, but there are some trade offs for each.  Regular XC your stance gets wider and lower the steeper you go.  This stance can be more uncomfortable if you have a long climb, carrying a heavy load, or a climb at altitude.  Skins you just shuffle your way up without the awkward posture, the longer the skin coverage, the less likely you are to go back to that herring bone stance, but you will not be able to glide at any flat or downhill areas without removing them.  Skins aren't ideal for rolling terrain.  Patrick described a long access climb to some rolling terrain, for which it sounds like once that area is reached, he removes the skins.  This would be a perfect use for XC.  For a long climb followed by a long downhill, downhill skis with tech bindings are superior though much more expensive.

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@crevitch I guess most important is what your use will be for your rossignol bc65 skis? Where will you be skiing? 

PDB
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