Skin skis completely revolutionized cross country skiing. These waxless products enhanced the grip of the users and allowed them to move at relatively faster speeds with ease.
They are also gaining more popularity in areas where snow is present throughout the year. People now use these waxless skin skis to up their game and cover more miles in relatively less time.
This article is a detailed guide for anyone looking to enter the skiing world with the utmost ease. We have included the eight best products for you to choose from. Not just that, but we have also mentioned a plethora of accessories and tips that can come in handy.
The Latest Tech in Cross-Country Skiing
Skiing isn’t what it used to be thirty years back. There have been a great many changes each year. Here is a look at what the latest cross-country experience looks like for the average user.
Cross country skiing has gone through a great many changes over the years, and people use all sorts of designs and models these days. In the 1980s, the freestyle skating technique came into the limelight, and companies started developing tools and equipment to cater to the needs of the modern world. In the last thirty to forty years, cross country skin skis have gained popularity, and more and more products are now made to enhance performance.
Materials and Composition
There are a couple of materials that have been long used for this purpose. Cross-country skis are mainly made of multiple layers of materials, including polyurethane foam or plain wood. Some models also come with an aluminum core and are extremely durable. Other common types of wood include ash, beech, or even poplar. Each material offers unique abilities, and people use different compositions for different types of snow types.
Adhesives: How to Put on Skins?
Skins are easily attached by using a sticky adhesive on the base of each ski. The next step is to attach the tip or the tail of the ski to each end of the skin. Some skins can be trimmed and cut; however, others are attached only to particular brands of skis. It is also advised to have both the tail hardware and the tip in case your skin glue fails. This hardware includes a set of loops and hooks that always go over the tip of your ski. An adjustable strap is also attached to the clip at the tail side.
How to Trim Skins?
Trimming the skin is not as hard as it sounds. You can shorten your skin at the tip by simply pushing the tip loop back into position. This will ensure that the original screws are no longer self-tapped. You can also use a fine nail in the holes and then tap to mark the specific locations on the skin. This will also help you mark the hole locations. Then remove the tip loop and carefully drill the holes through this skin.
Don’t Forget to Glide Wax!
Glide wax is a special material that is applied to the bottom of your skis or snowboards. It greatly improves the performance by increasing the coefficient of friction in the snow, so don’t forget to wax your skis before you head out!
How is Cross-Country Skiing Different on Skin Skis?
Skin skis have completely revolutionized cross-country skiing. In today’s modern world, skiing has become very easy, and more and more people are adopting it for its recreational advantages. Wax-free options are much better than the old-fashioned waxed skis because the former is definitely more environment-friendly. The latter is also not really user-friendly. This makes it really hard for amateur users to enjoy their experience. On top of that, a good pair of skin skis doesn’t really need regular maintenance or care.
8 Best Cross-Country Skin Skis in 2021
With many options available, it can be a daunting task to select one that meets your needs. This is why we have listed some of the best possible skin skis for cross-country skiing. We have also mentioned their pros and cons so you can make an informed decision.
Salomon Aero 7 Skin+PSP XC Skis Mens
This is undoubtedly one of the best cross country skin skis out there, and you will also agree as soon as you try it on your next adventure. One of the best things about this ski is that it can cater to people with different weights. This is because you can select the exact type of ski you want based on how much you weigh. Moreover, the model is good for people who struggle with balance during skiing; it provides the perfect balance with grip and glide.
Why We Picked
There are a couple of reasons why we picked this product. For starters, it is a highly efficient classic camber that will provide you with an easy compression and kick function. This is especially true when you press it with your forefoot. It will also remain lifted when you press it with the mid or rear of your foot. All this ensures that you get much better glide and acceleration. We also picked the product because it offers unmatched durability.
Another reason for the model’s popularity is that it allows for a very silent function. The ergonomic design provides binding that can be shifted backward and forward easily to improve balance while skiing.
The weight is slightly higher than most other models in the market. This may affect your speed in certain kinds of snow.
Fischer Twin Skin Pro IFP Medium XC Skis Mens
This model is for anyone looking to rely on kick action during their adventures. There are two separate skin strips securely attached in the offset positions and come with variable base-depth integration. This will automatically result in a very well-balanced and smooth gliding position.
Moreover, this model ensures that you can enjoy your day even in the iciest conditions. There is a Teflon coating to ensure maximum moisture absorption and makes sure that icing is completely minimized.
Why We Picked
It is one of the most revolutionary skin skis out there and provides convenience without compromising any other features. The use of adequate and strong materials also ensures that the elasticity of the body is increased to a great degree. All this ensures a better kick action and the best possible skiing experience.
Another reason that compelled us to select this product was the use of a rental tail protector that allows for an extremely robust ski tail, thereby ensuring much better durability. On top of that, the universal stone grinding also enhances its gliding properties in all kinds of snow conditions.
There is also a 0.2mm thin and lightweight layer consisting of natural fibers and resin that reduce the skin’s overall weight. This material also comprises high-pressure laminate that further enhances the appeal.
Bindings are not included in the package.
Fischer Twin Skin Superlite EF XC Skis Mens
This cross country skin ski is specially designed for men with little experience in the art of skiing. The design is efficient, and the robust technology allows you to enhance your speed and grip without having to apply too much pressure.
The use of an IFP plate and sidecut of 48, 44, and 46 ensure that you get an unparalleled performance. Moreover, the skin ski is safe to use and won’t bother you even if you have very little experience in the field.
Why We Picked
There are a couple of reasons why we chose this particular model for this list. For starters, it comes with a very durable power layer that not only protects it against any damage but also enhances its performance. There is also an easy-wipe anti-skin HF to maximize grip and enjoy a better stride at all times.
Another reason that this model fascinated us was its use of air-core basalite for its core body. This, along with excellent speed grinding, help enhance its appeal.
Rossignol Evo XC 60 R-Skin Skis w/Control Step in Bindings
This model is best suited for all recreational and fitness-enthusiast skiers. With an elegant side cut, this model is surely what you need for a mind-boggling adventure in the snow. It comes with bindings that perfectly represent the newest styles used in cross-country skiing. It offers an unmatched construction that comes in handy when you have to ski in harsh climates. Moreover, there is a wood air core that offers unmatched durability and ensures you get good value for the money.
Why We Picked
For the longest time, fish scales were commonly used for cross country skiing. However, as skiers advanced, they realized fish scales were not really efficient. This is when skin skis were introduced. In particular, this model provides you with more access to the base of the ski so that you can have more contact with the snow. This has the added benefit of creating a much smoother and comfortable overall feel for the user.
You will also find that it is both secure and doesn’t compromise on durability.
It doesn’t give you the very fun zipping noise that many other models or other fish scales give when you increase your speed. This may prove to be an issue with people who enjoy hearing that zipping sound during their skiing adventures.
Alpina Frontier Skin NIS Cross Country Touring Skis w/Tour Auto Bindings
For sport skiers, there is no other model more suited than this one. This is one of the most robust and durable units out there, and one look at its features will convince you of that. For starters, it offers a cap construction that makes for a solid build and ensures it lasts for a relatively long time.
The core is made of solid wood and gives the whole structure good stability and enhances its efficiency. Moreover, it is a fantastic choice for anyone looking to have some fun. Unlike most other models, you won’t have to put a lot of effort to propel your ski forward. All this makes the Alpina touring skis one of the best ones in the market.
Why We Picked
This list would have been incomplete without this model. This Alpina cross country skin ski is ahead of the game because of its use of a very light wood core. This is because it gives it the much-needed durability and makes for a lightweight and easy-to-carry model that enhances convenience.
Another amazing feature that made us pick this model was its sidecut of 50/45/48. This makes it straight whilst still having some radius for easy maneuverability. You can also get a number of other off-track skiing to choose from. This unit also ensures that you go straight and don’t miss out on an effortless ride over the hills.
One of the major downsides of this unit is that it is extremely quiet and doesn’t make that amazing sound that skiers crave. This also means that you won’t be able to assess your speed, especially when you are going downhill.
Rossignol Delta Sport R-Skin Skis w/Race Classic Bindings
With an attractive sidecut and a body that weighs only 630 grams, this model is already making rounds in the industry. It is 196 cm long, which makes it great for a variety of skis. It offers a classic race binding, which comes in handy for anyone who wants to enjoy greater durability and efficiency.
The use of LDC Premium wood core also makes this a super-strong cross-country skin ski. As for usage, although the unit is super easy to use, you are not advised to use it if you are just an amateur. It is much more suited for an intermediate or an advanced skier.
Why We Picked
Skins are the most impressive thing these days, and this cross-country skin ski has everything that you need for unparalleled performance. We chose this model because it offers a relatively longer glide than most other models. They also ensure the athlete or skier can go as fast as they can. We love this model because it is great for anyone who’s had some experience with fish skins. When they transition from that to this model, they won’t feel uncomfortable. Instead, they will get to experience a much better speed and grip at all times.
Another reason that compelled us to pick this model was its ability to provide efficiency on hard snow. When the snow is soft, you won’t be able to hear the sound very well. However, when the snow is hard, the model will produce the excellent skiing sound that will make you have the adrenaline rush that you so desire. Moreover, there is also an integrated Fixation plate that will allow you to not only customize the glide but also have a better dial power.
Beginners and amateurs may find it challenging to use.
Rossignol X-ium R-Skin Premium Classic Ski
This model performs a variety of functions, and it won’t be right to associate one use with it. However, this cross-country skin ski is best for people who like to keep their pace as natural as possible. One of the best things about it is that it is super compatible with the new turnamic binding system and allows for the most natural ski flex. You also get to feel snow without putting yourself in any real danger. It can also be used for competitions where you have to compete with the most serious athletes.
Why We Picked
Comfort and convenience come together in the making of this model, and that is precisely why we picked it for this list. The model is built on the new X-ium premium classic ski and ensures the best results for experienced athletes. The base turning is a K7000 or RSKIN expert, and the plate used is IFP. Another thing that really fascinated us was the excellent construction of the model. The use of three edge energy sensors along with an Activity cap allows for an excellent performance.
The weight of this model is also impressive. It weighs only 495 gr/pair. This means that it is both easy to maintain and handle during longer adventures.
These skis are more sensitive to the environment and can absorb moisture.
Salomon Women’s Snowscape 9 Siam Skin Skis
This model will prove to be the perfect fit for those who love classic skiing and don’t want to completely change the way they ski. The Salomon 9 Siam Skin Skis uniquely cater to the needs of women. These are both attractive and stylish and have some great features, too. If you are looking to have a better grip on your ski and still enjoy faster speeds, then you should definitely consider this model.
Why We Picked
This cross country skin ski by Salomon has recently garnered a lot of praise for its use of an amazing digital dynamic flex control. This advanced system helps ensure a much smoother ride for the user. Moreover, the easy carving S-cut shape comes with a wider platform and allows for more control and stability for the user.
Another reason that made us pick this model was the precision it allowed. The stone grinding and digital measurement systems come together to ensure the best structure and depth for any user involved. On top of that, there is no wax pattern on the model, which further enhances its appeal. We also really liked the G4 Zeolite base that allowed for a much better grip even in unfavorable conditions.
These women skis require relatively more cleaning and maintenance than most other models in this review.
Waxes and Accessories for Skin Skis
You can buy the best product in the market, but you can’t expect to maximize the advantages that the ski has to offer without the right accessory. Here is a brief overview of the waxes and accessories you can use with your skis.
Swix Glide Wax for Skin Skis – 100 ml
This glide wax is one of the best ones on the market and is specially designed to be used with integrated skins. It is purely developed to be used with the glide section of your ski and offers higher efficiency. It is also an all-temperature product, which means that it offers greater gliding properties regardless of the weather conditions.
Plus, the inclusion of the practical foam applicator ensures that you can spread the wax easily. But that’s not all; the convenient felt polisher at the bottom of the bottle provides excellent durability.
Swix Skin Care – 150 ml
There are many reasons why we recommended this amazing product. Firstly, the Swix Skin Care protects integrated skins from icing and helps improve glide properties.
It also allows for easy maintenance for skin skis and ensures an extended lifespan for a better ski experience. You can also apply the pump spray before skiing and get the most out of the product. The only downside to the model is that it does not include fiberlene.
Rossignol Skin Sport Replacement Skins
For anyone looking to up their game, we definitely recommend this amazing replacement skin. It is mostly popular for the diversity it offers. It is available in two sizes that can fit a range of ski lengths.
You can use it with R-skin Sport, R-Skin Ultra, R-Skin Escape, and R-Skin Evolution. It is also suitable for longer fit skis that are around 166-193cm. Moreover, it is suitable for longer fit skis that are at least 196cm.
Fischer Twin Skin Pro Yellow Replacement Skins
Durability is important when you are looking for replacement skins. We love this accessory because it is extremely durable and enhances the efficiency of your cross-country skiing experience. The use of Mohair and Nylon mix together enhances performance and ensures you enjoy every moment of your trip. It fits skis that measure around 187 to 192 cm.
G3 Trim Tool
The G3 Trim Tool is very efficient and helps you cut alpine climbing skins easily. it is very easy to use, and you won’t have to hire a professional to do the job for you.
Moreover, the model is a perfect fit and can enhance your performance easily. On top of that, the double blade design comes with a very ergonomic grip and offers a built-in offset. This leaves your ski edges exposed and helps achieve better stability
Tips for the Best Skin Skis Experience
You can be great at skiing, but you can still adopt certain practices that will help enhance your grip and allow you to enjoy your experience more. Here are some useful tips for the best ski experience:
- You can prepare your skins by using a skin-ski-specific product, such as a glide wax to avoid globing.
- Use less harsh solvents to ensure the least damage to the glue
- Don’t use regular liquids and spray for cleaning and prepping as they may damage the glue and cause the skins to come off during cleaning
- Use extra glide wax when the snow is very wet.
- If certain areas of the skin appear duller than the surrounding skin, it’s a clear sign that you need to clear your skin. Similarly, dull texture also indicates that the skin needs cleaning.
- You can clean the skin skis by using either spray-on liquids or pretreated wipes.
- Skin ski bases should also be carefully glide-waxed from the front and back.
- Make sure you cover the skin when applying the glide wax.
- Use a protective tape strip to protect the skin while you work on the glide zones.
It’s pretty clear that using skin skis comes with a number of benefits. However, you will have to carefully read through this article if you want to choose the best skin ski on the market. You also need to remember that one product that suits your friend won’t necessarily suit you. This is because the weight, height, and technique of each user differ.
Moreover, you may also need to check out the snow situation in your area before you choose the final model for yourself. But make sure you choose carefully because it is about time that you up your skiing game!