This is a Contour Hybrid Skins Review and a rant on Black Diamond Glidelite skins. After struggling for several years with the terrible glue on Black Diamond Glidelite Mohair Mix skins, I bought a pair of Contour Hybrid skins. So far, they are an immense improvement over the BD skins.
Update – 01-08-20 – I’m a VERY Happy Customer
The glue on my first Contour Hybrid skins lasted about 60 days. I sent an email to Camp and explained my problem. Lucky for me, they sent a new pair of Contour Hybrid skins with their new, improved glue. I can now say after about 40 days of skiing on the new, improved skins, that they definitely stick better.
I skied on them in February and March of 2019, and I have skied on them about 20 days this season. I am very happy with these skins. They stick about as well as skins with standard glue.
In addition to the stick performance, I get all the other advantages of Contour Hybrid skins: they are easy to pull apart, and they are easy to pull off the ski. Plus, if they lose their stick, you can quickly rejuvenate them by cleaning them with a wax remover solvent.
After about a week of skiing on these skins this season, I noticed that they were not sticking very well. I did as advised by Werner at Camp: I wiped them down with a rag soaked in Swix wax cleaning solvent, a 10 minute job. After that, it was like they were brand new again.
If you want to read the thread on WildSnow.com regarding contour skins and how to clean them, click on this link and read the comments below the article.
I highly recommend these skins, and I’ll buy them again when I get new skis.
Note: If you’re someone who always has problems with your skins nots sticking and you use skins with regular skin glue, Contour Hybrid skins might not work for you.
Update – 11-12-18
Werner, from Contour, replied to a comment I made on Wildsnow. He explained how to properly clean them. He recommends their solvent or wax remover. Also, he said the new glue is more tacky.
Update – 11-01-18
After using the Contour skins for about 60 days, I can no longer recommend them. The minimal glue or adhesion or whatever they use to make them stick doesn’t work after 40-60 days. I tried washing them and still they don’t stick adequately. Also, two of my friends bought them and had the same results: the skins no longer stick after around 30 days.
First a little history. I’ve had two pairs of the Black Diamond Glidelite skins, and on both pairs, the glue was absolutely terrible. By terrible, I mean that the glue is so sticky, I have to struggle to pull them apart after they are folded. And when I say struggle, I mean that you could injure tendons trying to pull them apart. In addition, I have to take my skis off to get the skins off. You should be able to easily pull skins off skis without removing the ski.
And I’m not the only one. Whenever I see people struggling with skins, it’s usually BD Glidelite skins.
Enter Contour Hybrid skins. They use a new two layer glue technology that makes them stick to your ski but they are very easy to pull apart or to pull off the ski. I’ve used the Contour skins for about 15 days in very cold and very warm conditions: they work well on both. They are so easy to pull apart or flip off a ski it’s almost funny. And the Contour skins glide well but maybe not as well as the BD Glidelite. Hard to say because I think any skin glides better when it has a lot of miles on it.
Is this too good to be true? Maybe. For example, I wonder how long the sticking power of the glue will last. Only time will tell. Contour claims you can clean the skin glue with soapy water to rejuvenate the glue if it gets dirty and won’t stick any more.
Once the glue starts to fail on these skins, you can’t re-glue them, at least not with the original Contour two layer glue. I imagine that you can strip off the original glue and replace it with conventional skin glue.
Cutting and mounting these skins couldn’t be easier. That tail attachment is already on the skin. You have to cut them to length and width and attach the tip loop. The following video shows how easy it is:
One big con to these skins is that they are very expensive, about $100 more than comparable BD or Pomoca skins. I’m OK with the price if they last at least 100 days. Anything is better than the constant struggle with BD skins.
Contour skins are now about the same cost as Black Diamond skins.
Werner Koch says
Hi, thanks for the nice review. And yes, prices on contour skins will go down thanks to better distribution and availability through http://www.camp-usa.com/products/contour-skins/
Have a great summer!
Werner from http://www.contourskins.com – Made in Austria.
Robert Sarini says
I had the same problem with the Contour Hybrid skins losing tackiness after about 30 touring days. I cleaned them with mild liquid soap as I’d read about and also saw in a YouTube video. At first, they were even less tacky, so I was disappointed, since one of the reasons I bought the skins was the ability to simply clean them to restore tackiness. The next day a little tackiness was restored, the day after a little more, and the day after a little more. Still not as good as original, but they worked fine on multiple trips, including a 3 day Yurt trip to the Tetons with very cold, dry snow conditions. However, I decided to buy the Contour Cleaning Spray and try it -that seems to be the solution. I believe the cleaning spray restored the tackiness to it’s original state (sorry, hard to remember the original state exactly after 6 months) – but certainly much tackier than they had been before/after cleaning with liquid soap. So given the cost of these skins, and how great they are in terms of ease of separation, folding in the wind, etc., I’d suggest trying the Contour Cleaning Spray before giving up on these skins. I’d estimate I now have about 50 backcountry days on these skins. I had about 40 days on them before using the cleaning spray.