Well, I’ve been slowly getting my quiver ready for this up coming ski season, cutting skins, mounting bindings and waxing skis (hey…nothing like an early start). And I’ve got to say, I’m very impressed with the new climbing skin tips from Black Diamond. Though they take a bit more time to install than the basic metal loop style, they are fully adjustable, allow the front of the climbing skin to sit flat on the ski at the tip and will hopefully also be more durable.
New Black Diamond Skin Tip Loops.
Installing the tips to the skins and adjusting them isn’t rocket science, but I figured I’d run through the process since I’ve already done a few of them. Before you install the tips though, you first you want to install the tail clips. HERE is a video I made last year that runs through the entire skin cutting process, before these tips were introduced. My rando-babble is good until about the 5 minute mark, then you can jump back here to install the tips…and then jump back to it at about 9:30 for tips on cutting skins to the width of your skis. To install the new BD adjustable tip loops, refer to the folllowing:
Slide off metal bar and adjust to ski tip.
Slide the metal piece off the tip and position the wire ball in the appropriate position to allow for the tip loop to get good purchase on the tip of the ski, and then reinstall the metal bar. Feed the wire through the side protectors, so it is centered. Once the tip is installed to the skin, only one side of the loop will be adjustable. Note: It is important that the tip loops don’t sit too far down on the ski tip, where your skis can bang together and wear out the loops.
Mark the skin where it overlaps with the bottom of the metal bar.
After attaching the tail hook and placing the skins on the ski, positioning the skin tip on the ski tip, grab a sharpie and mark where the skin comes in contact with the bottom of the metal piece on the tip-loop. You can kind of feel where this is through the skin, but it might take a quick look from the side to really see where this point is on the skin. Continue the line across the width of the skin, making sure it is level.
Cut off excess skin material.
Using the skin cutting tool provided, cut across the line. If you are using Split Skins, be careful as you transition from cutting skin material, to the nylon section that connects the two sides, as the cutting resistance between the two is substantially different and might cause you to make an uneven cut.
Make sure the skin tip is ALL the way on.
Once you have the skins cut to the right length, slide the plastic part of the skin tip onto the skin until it bottoms out. To do this, partially slide off the metal bar on the skin tip, put the tip onto the skin and then slide the metal bar back on. Make sure the skin tip is fully in place by looking at it from the side. Also make sure the counter-sunk holes on the skin tip are on the same side as the skin glue, and make sure it is centered on the skin.
From the glues side, insert the three screws.
Next, insert the screws provided into the glue side of the hole and screw in place. Try not to over tighten the screws, as only about 5lbs of torque is need for proper installation. Once all the screws are installed, use a pair of pliers and break off the exposed part of the screw on the pelt side of the skin. The screws are designed to break at a particular spot, so just grab onto the screw with the pliers a bit up from the bottom and bend it back and forth until it breaks. Do this for all three screws.
Round off the corners.
Round off the edges of the skin so as not to have any sharp corners that might want to lift off the ski and allow for snow to accumulate. If you’re not super confident in your free-hand cutting, mark the skin so you have something to follow.
New BD skin tips allow for the front of the climbing skin to sit flat on the skins…
…reducing the possibility of snow packing under your skins.
Now, put the skin onto the ski as you would when you are going skiing. Tip first, centering the skin on the ski and them then snap on the tail clip. If the tension of the skin isn’t how you would like it, you can tighten or loosen it by moving the tail clip, or adjusting the width of the tip-loops. Just remember to keep the tip loops up on the tip and away from banging edges.
*The next step…pray for snow!*