The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of gear

How We Tested Splitboard Skins

Tuesday November 26, 2019
Skins can bring you to awesome places.
Skins can bring you to awesome places.

Skins are the unsung hero of your touring setup, and we continually rely on them to give us mobility in otherwise difficult to move-in conditions. Our reliance on this piece of gear requires that we put it through such rigorous testing. Rigorous testing requires world-class terrain and diverse conditions. We performed our testing in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range from Lake Tahoe to Mammoth. To complement the terrain, Lake Tahoe has a high concentration of rad and expert people. We hit the skin track to execute our mostly field-based plan.

Glide


We assessed glide through ski touring on low angle terrain in a variety of snow types. To find the nuances in competitors glide, we would use two different models at a time one on each foot. Additionally and arguably, the most fun was descending down hills in ski mode, straight-lining to put the glide to the test.

Apprentice Ski Guide Will Sperry enjoying the benefits of glide in lower angle terrain.
Apprentice Ski Guide Will Sperry enjoying the benefits of glide in lower angle terrain.

Grip


The grip was evaluated through observation of grip and technique requirements. This was supplemented by steep skinning, whether on the track or finding a steep offshoot to test our limits, which resulted in a variety of comedic experiences when we found the breaking point of our skins and come sliding back down the hill. Humbled, we would note the slope angle and condition and move on.

Maxing out angles. G3 Universal
Maxing out angles. G3 Universal

Ease of Use


We began assessing this metric from the minute the package arrived at our door. We cut, attached clips, and weighted the skins. Every moment afterward required handling the skins we noted in our experience.

The Glidelite requires more user effort then pre-installed options.
The Glidelite requires more user effort then pre-installed options.

Attachment System


We focused on the reliability, security, and adjustability of the system. The best one would have all three components and be user-friendly. We intentionally compromised skin glue to see if the attachment was sufficient, and used them in different shapes and sizes to find the best.


Glue and Glopping


Our testing here leaned on field observations. Fortunately, Tahoe is one of the best places to test for glopping and carpet saturation. A few examples of relevant observations include resistance to carpet saturation, resistance to glopping, and glue quality.

Robust adhesive on the BD Glidelite holding strong
Robust adhesive on the BD Glidelite holding strong

We have these metrics and testing standards to ensure the products go through it all, and we have bias-free results, and we hope to help you purchase the best product.