Scales vs. Kicker-Skins

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lilcliffy

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Scales vs. Kicker-Skins

Postby lilcliffy » Sun Apr 08, 2018 5:32 pm

So- my Koms let me down this week.
I had the morning free- got up very early to do chores- hit a local steep open field just after dawn.
It was almost 10C the afternoon before- went down to -12C overnight.
South-facing slope- 30-45%.
About 75 metres vertical.
Over a metre of dense consolidated spring snow.
Started out with my 162cm Kom and T4 boot + 3-pin hardwire.
I could not get any grip with the scaled Kom- I mean none.
I could not lay a track at much more than 5% slope- and, even at 5% I was sliding backwards- constantly.
Did two laps and gave up.

Went back and got my 188cm Storetind with 60mm Skin-Lock kicker skins (mohair). Same boot- same binding.

With the ST and Skin-Lock I was able to climb straight up the slope with very little effort- even raised the climbing wires.

Although I had to take the skins off at the top- I did WAAY more laps per hour with WAAY less effort.

I now clearly understand the idea of the integrated Easy-Skin kicker skins over the scales on Fischer's S-Bounds. Whether the scaled or smooth base is better I think entirely depends on one's local climate and typical snow conditions.

My current thinking is that grip wax + kicker skin is better than scales + kicker skin- at least for my typical snow and climate...Next winter- with more time to ski both of these skis- I may be able to come to a conclusion...

No matter what- despite having to take the skin off before a run- if I had to have one BC XCD ski for my local skiing- it would be a smooth waxable base + kicker-skin.
.....................................
In general, I love scaled skis for low-vertical touring for turns and yo-yo skiing- no need to take off skins at the top of the hill before a downhill run! (Grip wax offers the same efficiency when the conditions are right.)

Kicker-skins offer WAAAY more efficient climbing traction than scales- though you do have to take them off at the top for any serious downhill skiing...

When it comes to the XC part of XCD skiing- I have fallen in love with my 60mm mohair Skin-Lock kicker skins. I easily get as much glide on my 188cm Storetind + kicker-skin, as I do on my 162cm scaled Kom...Though this is not really a fair comparison- the flex, camber and length-profile of the ST offers better XC performance than the Kom in the first place...(This depends on snow/temperature conditions. When the snow is very cold the kicker skins do produce a lot of drag- but, I use grip/kick wax on that snow anyway.)

As for the more distance-oriented- that dominates my local touring- I am using kicker skins more and more- waxless scales less and less...

And although last spring I got over my backcountry aversion to klister- I am finding that Easy-Skins/Skin-Locks make klister unnecessary for touring.
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

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satsuma

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Re: Scales vs. Kicker-Skins

Postby satsuma » Mon Apr 09, 2018 1:39 pm

Scales don't work on ice, which I assume is what you were skiing on, given the temperatgures. Kicker skins might be easier than ice klister, which is probably the wax you would use.

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fisheater

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Re: Scales vs. Kicker-Skins

Postby fisheater » Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:22 pm

lilcliffy wrote:So- my Koms let me down this week.
I had the morning free- got up very early to do chores- hit a local steep open field just after dawn.
It was almost 10C the afternoon before- went down to -12C overnight.
South-facing slope- 30-45%.
About 75 metres

Went back and got my 188cm Storetind with 60mm Skin-Lock kicker skins (mohair). Same boot- same binding.

With the ST and Skin-Lock I was able to climb straight up the slope with very little effort- even raised the climbing wires.





Kicker-skins offer WAAAY more efficient climbing traction than scales- though you do have to take them off at the top for any serious downhill skiing...

When it comes to the XC part of XCD skiing- I have fallen in love with my 60mm mohair Skin-Lock kicker skins. I easily get as much glide on my 188cm Storetind + kicker-skin, as I do on my 162cm scaled Kom...Though this is not really a fair comparison- the flex, camber and length-profile of the ST offers better XC performance than the Kom in the first place...


Did I screw up? I ordered the 45 mm Skin-locks. I am not sure how often I will use the Skin-locks. It would be an unusual year if the snow pack was deep enough that the Skin-lock would get a lot of use.

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lilcliffy

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Re: Scales vs. Kicker-Skins

Postby lilcliffy » Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:34 pm

fisheater wrote:Did I screw up? I ordered the 45 mm Skin-locks. I am not sure how often I will use the Skin-locks. It would be an unusual year if the snow pack was deep enough that the Skin-lock would get a lot of use.


Nylon or mohair?
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

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fisheater

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Re: Scales vs. Kicker-Skins

Postby fisheater » Tue Apr 10, 2018 9:02 pm

I bought mohair skins

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lilcliffy

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Re: Scales vs. Kicker-Skins

Postby lilcliffy » Wed Apr 11, 2018 11:31 am

My nylon kicker skins are getting almost no use.

I can see using them for strictly climbing- and, they obviously are more durable than mohair- but, for Nordic touring the grip/glide balance of mohair is unbeatable.

The 60mm mohair works on the Combat Nato due to its camber-flex. I would think that the FT62- though the same width underfoot- has too little camber for the 60mm to be effective for XC skiing, the 45mm that you got makes sense to me.

I have the 35mm SKin-Lock in both mohair and nylon- I have barely used them. When the snow/temp conditions would be ideal for the 35mm skin, I am using grip wax- so I don't need the skin.

I am using the kicker skins for climbing very steep terrain.

I am using the kicker skins for XC skiing- instead of scales or very soft kick wax/klister- on warm wet snow, and icy, refrozen snow.

Most of the season I am relying exclusively on a full-length grip wax base, with kick wax underfoot.

But I am getting to the point where the kicker skin allows me to almost do without scales and very soft kick wax/klister...
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

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Re: Scales vs. Kicker-Skins

Postby STG » Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:38 pm

Mohair skins are superior to synthetic. They glide so much better. I have always favored kick wax or mohair skins over scales. I feel resistance from the scales on the downhill. I guess it is just personal preference. Last season I was commenting about using skins versus wax because of the environmental benefits: no wax ending up in streams/rivers etc. However, this season I have been a hypocrite. I have not even used my skins; instead, I have been using a kicker wax on my Asnes skis (Kongsvold/no metal edges). Nice not to have to peel off the skins; although, I have mastered the technique of removing skins without removing my skis. It doesn't work if your skins are new because the glue is too adhesive.

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Re: Scales vs. Kicker-Skins

Postby greatgt » Sun Apr 15, 2018 6:52 am

Last week on a cruise up into the Highlands and a long Hardwood ridge saw a beautiful track ...It hit ALL of the contours...dropped into dips.....flew down the steeps right next to ledges...Two boarder friends thought on a quick glance it was a boarder...Well Mr. or Mrs. Otter had put on a great show and the track was nothing but what looked like an awesome ride....Mohair sounds better to me!....TM

telemarkmark

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Re: Scales vs. Kicker-Skins

Postby telemarkmark » Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:02 am

I have short, about 20cm, from the end trimming from my skins used as kickers, they work ok, as long as not too icy or steep. Surprisingly they stay put just with the glue.

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Re: Scales vs. Kicker-Skins

Postby Cannatonic » Wed Apr 18, 2018 1:59 pm

I don't feel bad about standard non-fluorinated kick wax, I don't think there's much bad for the environment in there right???


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