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Contour Hybrid Review

A unique skin that manages certain difficulties of glue-based skins but requires more tending in the field
Contour Hybrid
Photo: CAMP USA
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $220 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Easy to peel apart and remove from ski base, great glide, compact storage, easier to recover from skin failure
Cons:  No length adjustment, velcro tip and tail attachment, higher frequency of total skin failures
Manufacturer:   CAMP USA
By Isaac Laredo ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 21, 2021
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 7
  • Glide - 25% 9
  • Grip - 25% 7
  • Ease of Use - 15% 6
  • Attachment System - 15% 6
  • Glue Icing Glop - 20% 8

Our Verdict

The Contour Hybrid Splitboard Skin is the best skin for easy care and ease of use. The skin uses a two-layer adhesive to manage all the drawbacks of traditional glue. It is effortless to pull apart and offers a stunning quality, low friction glide in a compact package. The main limitations are found in the frequency of adhesive failures and the lack of adjustability in the attachment system. Fortunately, these failures are easily recoverable but require additional patience. Despite its drawbacks, this is a unique skin fit for intermediate to advanced casual splitboarders looking to move on from traditional glue — and still get the glide that they require.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Contour Hybrid
This Product
Contour Hybrid
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price Check Price at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$179.00 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$260 List
Check Price at REI
$169.95 at Backcountry$199.95 at Amazon
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Pros Easy to peel apart and remove from ski base, great glide, compact storage, easier to recover from skin failureAll-purpose, good ratio of grip to glide, camming tail clip, easy to align tip clipLightweight, efficient, packable, good climbing abilityDurable, good grip to glide ratioGood glide, rolls and folds small, robust adhesive
Cons No length adjustment, velcro tip and tail attachment, higher frequency of total skin failuresAwkward foldingExpensive, difficult tail clip installationCan be hard to pull apart, steps required to get them field readyUser effort to get from package to field, small range of size adjustments
Bottom Line A unique skin that manages certain difficulties of glue-based skins but requires more tending in the fieldGreat grip to glide ratio in a user-friendly packageAn efficient skin that should appeal to Jones ridersWhether it's your first day or 100th day, these skins are appropriate for all skill levelsStraightforward and streamlined performance
Rating Categories Contour Hybrid G3 Splitboard+ Univ... Jones Nomad PRO Black Diamond Ascen... Black Diamond Glide...
Glide (25%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
Grip (25%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Ease Of Use (15%)
6.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
Attachment System (15%)
6.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Glue Icing Glop (20%)
8.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
Specs Contour Hybrid G3 Splitboard+ Univ... Jones Nomad PRO Black Diamond Ascen... Black Diamond Glide...
Manufacturer Contour G3 Jones Snowboard (Pomoco) Black Diamond Black Diamond
Weight per pair 624 (g) 674 (g) 460 (g) 658 (g) 650 (g)
Weight per skin 312 (g) 337 (g) 230 (g) 329 (g) 325 (g)
Material 70% Mohair / 30% Synthetic Nylon plush 70% Mohair, 30% Nylon 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 Universal clips Snap-fit attachement Coated cable
Tail Attachment Fixed velcro attachment SPLITBOARD+ Hooked attachement STS STS
Precut Option? No Yes No No No
Bag Included? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
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.

Performance Comparison


Similar topo line patterns, yet distinct differences on and off the...
Similar topo line patterns, yet distinct differences on and off the track.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Glide


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 legs, we noticed the split ski with this skin on wanted to go 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.

The Hybrid provides a high-quality stride thanks to its 70% mohair...
The Hybrid provides a high-quality stride thanks to its 70% mohair profile.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Grip


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. In our tours, we had no issues with traction and found it reasonable for those who understand skinning mechanics.

Attachment System


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 the model, 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 frame 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.

We poured some water and rubbed snow it the Velcro in an attempt to...
We poured some water and rubbed snow it the Velcro in an attempt to manufacture a failure. Fortunately, we were unsuccessful.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

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.

The Velcro tip clips were very reliable during a tour in mid-winter...
The Velcro tip clips were very reliable during a tour in mid-winter colder conditions.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

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 recently started selling their products in the US.


Once we opened the box, we were 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.

The two-Layer adhesive adds a small amount of weight compared to...
The two-Layer adhesive adds a small amount of weight compared to other model offerings.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Glue and Glop


The Hybrid skin sets its self 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 on to 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 stuck 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.

Value


The unique adhesive properties of this skin justify the added price, which is further supported by the sheer amounts of glide.

Conclusion


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 the patient intermediate-advanced splitboards looking for a low maintenance option with spectacular glide for short to medium-length days in the backcountry.

The compact roll of the Hybrid.
The compact roll of the Hybrid.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Isaac Laredo