To kicker skin or not to kicker skin that is the question?

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gitrinec
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To kicker skin or not to kicker skin that is the question?

Post by gitrinec » Wed Dec 28, 2016 10:34 pm

Is it always best on a non-waxable ski to use full length skins or when would kicker skins come in? I think I had gotten some kicker skins when I only had the Asnes USGI waxable surplus skis to put together.

MikeK

Re: To kicker skin or not to kicker skin that is the question?

Post by MikeK » Wed Dec 28, 2016 10:43 pm

You will want some kind of backup for when and if the scales or wax fails you on either setup. Especially for the long trips you are planning.

Kicker skins are lighter but perhaps less useful in that they may not give you the grip and speed control you might need in nasty conditions (you can wear skins descending too).

I have a pair of full length skins for our Epochs. They are used as a last resort when going up, down or forward is miserable. They are just a cheap Nylon set. Seen as how they are just a saftey net, having a really expensive pair wasn't a wise investment. We ski scales (or wax) for everything we can.

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gitrinec
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Re: To kicker skin or not to kicker skin that is the question?

Post by gitrinec » Wed Dec 28, 2016 10:58 pm

MikeK, what width did you get, I guess you had to cut a lot off. Would some 110's work and just shape them out to the ski? Since the ski is 99-68-84.


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Re: To kicker skin or not to kicker skin that is the question?

Post by dnt_upton » Thu Dec 29, 2016 10:10 pm

For rolling hills, kicker skins give you traction on the ups and don't impede the down or flats as much as full length skins. If you're going all the way up and then all the way down, IMO, there's zero reason to use kicker skins. I would just consider them as a substitute for scales (perhaps better grip but worse glide) for mellow backcountry touring.

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lilcliffy
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Re: To kicker skin or not to kicker skin that is the question?

Post by lilcliffy » Fri Dec 30, 2016 8:18 am

Personally, I see kicker skins as primarily extra traction for kick and glide touring:

1) On difficult snow, when kick-waxing is ineffective (e.g. icy, refrozen; warm wet),

2) In snow conditions when waxless scales don't work (e.g. cold, fresh snow; icy, refrozen snow).

3) When pulling significant weight- both to be able to effectively pull the weight, and to slow you down a bit when coming down a hill, with the weight behind you!

4) For some extra climbing grip. This probably applies to a waxless ski more than grip wax. When the conditions are ideal for kick wax- extending the kick wax forward of the kick zone offers as much or more climbing grip than a kicker skin.

As far as climbing, a kicker skin is obviously not going to do what a full-length climbing skin can do. But, with many BC skiers using waxless-scaled bases- many are getting very good at setting low-angle climbing tracks- ideal for a kicker skin as well. And again, the kicker skin will give you traction on snow when the scales don't work. The integrated kicker skins on Fischer's waxless BC skis is an excellent upgrade IMO.
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Re: To kicker skin or not to kicker skin that is the question?

Post by connyro » Fri Dec 30, 2016 11:08 am

MikeK wrote:(you can wear skins descending too).
I guess you can descend with skins on, but I don't think it's a very good idea. Descending with skins is really unstable, especially once you get the skis on edge (they tend to take off once the skins are no longer fully engaged with the snow.) Your chances of falling/losing control are greater with skins on when descending.

lilcliffy wrote:In snow conditions when waxless scales don't work (e.g. cold, fresh snow; icy, refrozen snow).
Refrozen: Yes, scales won't work well.
cold fresh snow: I think scales work just fine in cold fresh snow (that's mostly what I ski) if you adjust your technique. Grip is somewhat diminished in these conditions, but with good technique, it's not really a problem. I must admit that I am EXTREMELY reluctant to get out the skins, so I'll try almost anything to avoid using them.

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Re: To kicker skin or not to kicker skin that is the question?

Post by STG » Fri Dec 30, 2016 11:10 am

A third option: trim (narrow and shorten) conventional skins (mohair for better glide).

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lilcliffy
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Re: To kicker skin or not to kicker skin that is the question?

Post by lilcliffy » Fri Dec 30, 2016 8:24 pm

connyro wrote: cold fresh snow: I think scales work just fine in cold fresh snow (that's mostly what I ski) if you adjust your technique. Grip is somewhat diminished in these conditions, but with good technique, it's not really a problem. I must admit that I am EXTREMELY reluctant to get out the skins, so I'll try almost anything to avoid using them.
Not that I doubt your skill for a moment my friend :D :mrgreen: - but, your performance on cold fresh snow might also have something to do with those traction machines you ski on as well?
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Re: To kicker skin or not to kicker skin that is the question?

Post by connyro » Sat Dec 31, 2016 12:00 pm

lilcliffy wrote:Not that I doubt your skill for a moment my friend :D :mrgreen: - but, your performance on cold fresh snow might also have something to do with those traction machines you ski on as well?
True, the Vector BCs are traction machines. That being said, I haven't had them out this season...yet. I've been touring mainly on scaled skinnies/NNN-BC and that setup has worked well so far in our snowpack this season.

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