Contour Hybrid Review
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|Bottom Line||A solution to high maintenance and effort skins but can demand more care in the field||A great choice for nearly all splitboarders with a great grip to glide ratio and solid all-around performance||A solid choice for experienced splitters who don't want to sacrifice glide for grip they don't need||This well-rounded skin is suitable for all skill levels||No frills option for everyday backcountry use|
|Rating Categories||Contour Hybrid||G3 Splitboard+ Univ...||G3 Splitboard+ Glide||Black Diamond Ascen...||Black Diamond Glide...|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Attachment System (15%)|
|Glue Icing Glop (20%)|
|Specs||Contour Hybrid||G3 Splitboard+ Univ...||G3 Splitboard+ Glide||Black Diamond Ascen...||Black Diamond Glide...|
|Manufacturer||Contour||G3||G3||Black Diamond||Black Diamond|
|Weight per pair||624 (g)||674 (g)||560 (g)||658 (g)||650 (g)|
|Weight per skin||312 (g)||337 (g)||280 (g)||329 (g)||325 (g)|
|Material||70% Mohair / 30% Synthetic||Nylon plush||Nylon plush||Nylon||65% mohair and 35% nylon|
|Glue||Twin layer hybriad adhesive||Non-toxic adhesive||Non-toxic adhesive||Non-toxic adhesive||Non-toxic adhesive|
|Tip Attachment||Fixed velco attachment||Asymmetrical steel Hands||Asymmetrical steel hands||Snap-fit attachement||Coated cable|
|Tail Attachment||Fixed velcro attachment||SPLITBOARD+||SPLITBOARD+||STS||STS|
|Cheat Sheets Included?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Contour Hybrid Splitboard Skin has a unique proposition to answer one of our polarized needs for skins. We ask that they are easy to pull apart yet provide unwavering glue security. This skin uses a Hybrid glue system to provide an easy pull with plenty of security when uncompromised.
For advanced backcountry travelers, glide is one of the most valuable qualities of skin to support larger days in the backcountry. The Hybrid thrives when to comes to glide. Every stride comes with light friction and smooth progress due to its mohair blend.
On downhill sections, we noticed that split skiing with this skin on resulted in going slightly faster than some other mohair blends. Over time, this indicated slightly better glide. The tip-to-tail carpet length reduces glide slightly based on the added friction per step. Despite this minor reduction, this skin provides ample glide for all individuals and days in the backcountry.
If you're a technically minded person looking at this skin based on its innovative glue, you're probably not too concerned about its grip. However, you will be glad to hear that it provides plenty.
The Hybrid is plenty grippy for those who have established proper skinning technique. It has a medium-height pile, which adds to the grip. On our tours, we had no issues with traction and found it reasonable for those who understand skinning mechanics.
The Hybrid has an interesting attachment system that is impressively secure. It uses a metal loop sewn into a Velcro attachment point.
At first, we were very wary of the Velcro tip and tail clips. After touring on them, however, we learned that the Velcro is reliable, and we couldn't get a failure even when actively rubbing snow to investigate its resilience. Spring could be a challenging time as everything gets wet, and as we know, Velcro doesn't like to be wet or damp. We haven't had a mishap yet, but the opportunity for it is present.
The main limitation of the system is that it cannot adjust between different board lengths. If you cut to a 158 cm board, it can only be used on that particular model.
Ease of Use
The Hybrid is an incredibly supple and packable model. Contour, an Austrian company, has been making skins for a long time, and that shows in their products. If you haven't heard of Contour, it makes sense as they only recently started selling their products in the US.
Once we opened the box, we were initially confused as to how to set up the skins. The directions were translated from Austrian to rough English, which didn't help our confidence in the setup. After watching some videos and reading the directions multiple times, we were able to decipher the process.
The skin comes completely unassembled, which leaves you with plenty of stuff to do before your first tour. The skins need to be cut to length and width, and both clips need to be attached with rivets. Once set up, they were very supple and packable in the field and required some extra care compared to traditional glue skin. The extra care is to prevent any contamination of water to the unique and polarized hybrid glue.
Glue and Glop
The Hybrid skin sets itself apart from the rest through the use of its hybrid glue system, which is the merit of its award. This system aims to alleviate the problems felt with traditional glue. Traditional skins can be hard to pull apart; they also may grab onto every piece of lint or fur and leave residue on your ski bases and freeze. This skin uses a two-layer adhesive system to reduce these common issues.
This skin was the easiest to pull apart when folded "glue to glue" of anything we have ever tried; totally effortless. At first glance, you think there is no way this will stay on your split ski. To most people's surprise, the Hybrid is impressively secure to the base. Its security is directly threatened by moisture, just like regular skins. A smaller amount of snow is required to cause a full skin failure.
These skins had the highest rate of failure but also had the easiest and fullest recovery. In the event of a failure, the adhesive and ski base need to be wiped down to eliminate excess moisture. Contour provides a small cloth to wipe off the water before installing skins. The frequency at which this can happen makes this skin less ideal for larger days with a demanding time plan. A series of quickly recoverable skin failures can eat into your day and the patience of your partners. For the right person, this drawback can be outweighed by the benefits derived from the hybrid system.
Have you ever re-glued skins? It takes quite some time! Have you ever left your skins near dog hair? Many of us have and have likely had the same result. Plenty of material stuck to the glue side of our skin. It's hopeless to remove unless you use a hot knife. The glue side of the Hybrid feels tacky rather than sticky, so anything that sticks on it can be removed easier. With this skin, you can wash the adhesive layer to restore the adherence of the skin to the board; this is an incredible time-saver and reduces waste. The innovative glue found on this skin answers many of the problems found with traditional glue.
The unique adhesive properties of this skin justify the added price, which is further supported by the sheer amounts of glide.
The Contour Hybrid utilizes a unique two-layer adhesive to eliminate common complaints about traditional adhesives and offers lower maintenance requirements. The hybrid adhesive system does require additional patience to recover from skin failures. That aside, this skin offers incredible packability, hand feel, and glide, but lacks adjustability between boards. We recommend the Hybrid for patient intermediate to advanced splitboarders looking for an easy maintenance option with spectacular glide for short to medium-length days in the backcountry.