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The 7 Best Ski Climbing Skins of 2021-2022

You’ve got your brand new touring bindings mounted on some ultralight skis, and you’ve taken your avy class. Your beacon, shovel, and probe are all packed and ready. You’ve got everything you need to go start earning your turns, right? Wrong! Climbing ski skins are one of the easiest to overlook, but most important pieces of backcountry ski gear. Ski touring skins are the final piece of the puzzle that allow you to climb smoothly uphill before you rip turns back down. But for some reason they often get the short end of the stick, folks just use an old pair or buy whatever’s cheapest. And that’s too bad because the right pair of climbing skins can make a really big difference in how easy and enjoyable (or not) your backcountry experience is.

That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the best climbing skins, for everyone from first-timers looking for ease of use and durability, to experienced skiers who want something lighter and more efficient. These are the best ski skins we’ve found, so we’ve broken down what makes them great, and who each pair is best suited to here.


Armada ARV 116 JJ Precut

The best ski climbing skins of 2021-2022
 

If you’re shopping for your first pair of climbing ski skins, a pair of precut skins will always be the most simple and straightforward option. Precut skins are already trimmed to the length, and width of your skis, so you don’t need to take any additional steps to get them ready for the backcountry. The ARV 116 skins will work well on the regular Armada ARV 116, the ARV 116 UL, and even the Armada Whitewalker. So if you’ve got any of those skis and need skins, this is a great place to start. Their Mohair/Nylon mix gets you the best of both worlds, with the better glide and lighter weight of Mohair, combined with the grip and durability of Nylon. And the tip and tail hardware is robust and secure, you don’t need to worry about them falling off on the skin track.

So, if you’ve got a pair of Armada’s 116 mm wide skis, and you want to walk uphill on them, this is your best choice.

MaterialWidth Original Price
70% Mohair / 30% Nylon116 mm precut$199.95

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Black Diamond Glidelite Mix

The best ski climbing skins of 2021-2022
 

Black Diamond has long been one of the leaders in the skin game. They make a whole range of climbing skins, optimized for different users. The Glidelite Mix is one of their most versatile skins, it strikes a nice middle ground in terms of price and performance. The Mohair/Nylon mix is great for skiers who have some backcountry experience but aren’t quite ready to jump to a full Mohair skin. They glide and grip well, and will hold up for many seasons. Black Diamond ski skin’s glue also strikes a nice balance, it grips the ski well but isn’t so sticky that the skins are impossible to peel apart.

If you’re looking for the best skins with versatility that works well for most skiers, on most skis, in most ski areas, these Black Diamond skins have you covered.

MaterialWidth Original Price
65% Mohair / 35% Nylon133 mm$189.95

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Contour Hybrid Mix

The best ski climbing skins of 2021-2022
 

Contour might be a little lesser known to US-based skiers, but they shouldn’t be. They make very light, very efficient backcountry ski skins with a unique glue that sticks to skis well, but doesn’t attract dirt and pine needles as much as other brands. The Hybrid Mix is lighter and more packable than the Glidelite Mix, so it’s a great choice for anyone who prioritizes efficiency over all else. They also glide very well, it’s easy to cover a lot of ground fast on these. That said, you do need to take a little better care of them, as they don’t hold up to abuse quite as well as some of the heavier options on this list.

The Contour Hybrid Mix was designed to go fast and far in big mountains. Can you keep up?

MaterialWidth Original Price
65% Mohair / 35% Nylon135 mm$199.95

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Pomoca Free Pro 2.0

The best ski climbing skins of 2021-2022
 

Pomoca has been making and selling high-end backcountry skins for a long time now, so it’s no surprise that the Free Pro 2.0 is dialed. A lot of what makes the Free Pro 2.0 special isn’t visible to the naked eye. Pomoca has gone to great lengths to make sure that its touring skins perform well in a variety of conditions. That means that they use a special membrane to cut down on weight without compromising durability, as well as a technology proprietary to minimize glopping. The Free Pro 2.0 might be a little overkill for someone just getting into backcountry skiing, but for experienced skiers looking for premium features and performance, these are a top choice.

Pomoca’s Free Pro 2.0 is a great blueprint for what a high-performance skin should be. If you want your whole kit to feel dialed and efficient, these are a great choice.

MaterialWidth Original Price
70% Mohair / 30% Nylon140 mm$199.95

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G3 Alpinist+ Universal

The best ski climbing skins of 2021-2022
 

G3 has long made some of the best ski skins for a long time. G3 climbing skins come in a huge variety and are always at the leading edge of innovation with new features and materials. If the name didn’t make it clear, their Alpinist Universal is their one-size-fits-all solution for backcountry skiers. This skin hits a great balance of grip, glide, and durability, at a very reasonable price point. And G3 makes it in a huge variety of length and width combinations so you can find a pair that fits just about any ski or splitboard.

The feature that really sets the Alpinist Universal apart though is their rigid tip section. Basically, the tips of your skins don’t really do much to give you traction, it’s just there to hold the skin onto the ski. So G3 uses a rigid plastic material in the tips that helps the ski plane over the snow smoothly when you’re breaking trail, and keeps snow from creeping between the skin and the ski through the tip. This helps the glue last longer and stick better, and means you don’t have to worry about your skins falling off in the middle of a kick turn. The Alpinist’s Nylon construction means it’s very durable and has great grip, but will need to be waxed occasionally to maintain good glide. So if you’re looking for a simple, durable option, with a clever tip solution, go for these G3 skins.

MaterialWidth Original Price
Nylon100-145 mm$191-$201

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Pomoca Climb 2.0

The best ski climbing skins of 2021-2022
 

Pomoca takes the science behind their skins very seriously and it shows with the the Pomoca Climb 2.0. Every skin even comes with its glide efficiency in calories per hour clearly marked so that you know just what you’re getting yourself into. The Climb 2.0 is one of Pomoca’s lightest and most efficient ski skins. It’s made for long days, big objectives, and folks who value low weight and brisk speeds. Pomoca uses a 70/30 mohair/nylon blend to achieve this, and then combines that with a barrage of exclusive coatings and technologies.

The outcome of all that is a skin that’s super light (12% lighter than the last version), glides very efficiently, packs down very small, and still has enough grip for steeper skin tracks. The one thing to note with Pomoca skins is that their glue is a little less sticky when wet than some other options, so make sure to clean all the snow off your bases before transitioning. The upside is that their glue is less toxic to humans and the environment.

MaterialWidth Original Price
70% Mohair 30% Nylon100-140 mm$179.95-$189.95

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Pomoca Climb Pro S-Glide

The best ski climbing skins of 2021-2022
 

The Pomoca S-Glide takes all of the same performance benefits of the Climb 2.0 and turns them up to 11. More glide, more grip, better water resistance, the whole nine yards. Pomoca makes it very clear that the S-Glide isn’t for everyone. It’s a high-performance skin that’s been fully optimized for efficiency and reliability in the mountains. Beginners need not apply.

But if you’re an experienced backcountry skier that’s looking to eke every marginal performance gain out of every piece of their gear, you need the best of the best, and that’s the Pomoca Climb Pro S-Glide.

MaterialWidth Original Price
70% Mohair 30% Nylon100-140 mm$189.95-$209.95

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