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Making the most of your skin skis is easy

Madshus Intelligrip skin skis makes classic skiing a breeze. Photo: Stefano Zatta/Madshus

A 3-step guide to perfect kick and glide.

Madshus Intelligrip skin skis makes classic skiing a breeze. Photo: Stefano Zatta/Madshus

Madshus Intelligrip skin skis makes classic skiing a breeze. Photo: Stefano Zatta/Madshus

Skin skis continue to top the sales charts, and it’s easy to see why:

  • Skin skis make it a breeze to get out for a weeknight workout.
  • Skin skis lower the entry barrier to Nordic skiing for recreational skiers who find kick waxing to be tricky and time-consuming.
  • Skin skis are great choice when the conditions change over the course of the day.
  • Skin skis solve the hairy waxing conundrum when the temperature fluctuates on either side of freezing.
  • Skin skis work equally well in cold and dry snow, in hard-packed and icy conditions, as in wet, slushy snow.
  • The skins are made to last several hundred kilometers, and are easily replaced if they get worn out or damaged.

All Madshus Intelligrip skin skis are ready to use right out of the box, as is. However, while skin skis are kick wax-less, they are not entirely maintenance free.

Roger Gråv, who is the head of the Nordic department at Sport1 in Lillehammer, Norway, offers a quick guide to getting the best performance the longest life out of your skin skis.

“There are really just three things to remember: prep, clean and glide,” Gråv says.

Prepping
The skins can be prepped with a skin-ski specific product to avoid icing up and globbing. Adding a prepping product to the skins can improve overall glide in certain conditions.

The skin prepping products resemble the liquid glider products that have been available for years, and the effect of these would be similar. However, skins require a special product with fewer harsh solvents in order avoid damaging the glue that keeps the skin attached to the base, Gråv explains.

He recommends using a skin-ski specific product.

“The skin-ski specific products are not that different from the regular liquid and spray on glide products, but the skin-ski specific products don’t have the same harsh solvents as the traditional varieties. The solvents can damage the glue, and even cause the skins to come off,” he says.

Skin ski prep is available both as liquids/spray-on bottles and also as pretreated wipes. Prep the skins when needed.

“You will notice when they need prepping. Typically, you will find that the skis don’t glide as well. Also, it’s a good idea to prep if the snow is really wet,” Gråv says.

Cleaning
Generally, skin skis don’t need any special treatment or cleaning. But if you have skied on trails with significant debris or dirty snow, it’s a good idea to clean your skins afterwards.

“You don’t need to clean your skins each time you ski, but if they look dirty or feel draggy, cleaning the skins will improve the glide. This is particularly relevant if you’ve skied on warm and wet or icy tracks where a lot of people would use klister, because your skins can pick up some of that dirt. Just check your skin and see if it’s needed,” says Gråv, noting that with black skins, it can be a bit tricky to spot the dirt.

“If you see areas of the skin that seem duller than the surrounding skin, or the texture appears flattened, that is often a sign that you should clean the skin,” he says.

Cleaning is a simple operation. Gråv recommends using skin ski-specific cleaners, for the same reason as with the prepping products: the skin-specific products don’t have any harsh solvents that can damage the skin or dissolve the glue.

“Traditional base cleaner contains pretty strong solvents, which can cause the skins to detach from the base,” Gråv explains.

Skin ski cleaners are available both as spray-on/liquids and in pretreated wipes.

Story continues below

 

Madshus Intelligrip skin skis are ready to use as is, but in certain conditions, using skin ski specific prepping and cleaning products can improve both grip and glide. Photo: Stefano Zatta/Madshus

Madshus Intelligrip skin skis are ready to use as is, but in certain conditions, using skin ski specific prepping and cleaning products can improve both grip and glide. Photo: Stefano Zatta/Madshus

Gliding
Like all Nordic skis, skin ski bases should be glide waxed in front of and behind the kick zone (the middle part of the base with the integrated skin).

Glide waxing skin skis is easy, but make sure to cover the skin while applying the glide wax, scraping and brushing, in order to avoid spilling glide wax onto the skin, and protect the skin from scraped wax and wax dust from brushing.

“Covering the skin with a protective tape strip is a simple way to protect the skin while you work on the glide zones. Then just peel off the tape when you’re done and you’re good to go,” Gråv says, adding that most Nordic ski retailers carry such cover tape.

Get the right ski
With increasingly more skin ski models on the market in several different segments, skiers have a variety of skis to choose from: Touring, training and racing skin skis have different properties and qualities.

“It is just as important to get fitted for the right skin ski as with any other ski. Determine what kind of skiing you plan to do with your skin skis to ensure you get a pair that meets your needs and expectations,” Gråv says.

Roger Gråv explains how to get the most from your skin skis. Photo: Submitted

Roger Gråv explains how to get the most from your skin skis. Photo: Submitted

Inside the Factory: Building Skin Skis

How do we build skin skis? Constructing the optimal skin ski presents a handful of added challenges compared to traditional skis.

Most importantly, you want to make a ski that makes you forget that you’re skiing on a skin ski. To do that, you want to make sure you maintain the properties of the ski and make the ski feel and behave like your waxableskis. So how do we accomplish that?

 

How do we build the IntelliGrip® skin skis? Photo: Ian Coble

How do we build the IntelliGrip® skin skis with perfect kick without sacrificing great glide? Photo: Ian Coble

Perfect kick and amazing glide
Madshus head of engineering, Bjørn Ivar Austrem, explains that one major challenge is that you need a skin that provides both secure and reliable grip as well as superior glide, and that is built like perfectly applied layers of wax. To achieve that, Madshus has developed a method to cut a pocket in the base that is deeper toward the ends of the skin, which in turn makes the skin protrude progressively toward the middle and taper to the ends – just like the perfect wax job.

The IntelliGrip® skins are set down into the base, rather than attached onto the base, to create smooth transitions between base and skin and ensure reliable grip without sacrificing glide.

“Progressive skin skis provide better grip than skin skis with a flat skin. When using a progressive skin, a ski that has a normal to high camber will provide better glide. So we found that by folding the skin into the base, we are able to maintain a high camber that keeps the skin off the snow when gliding while the skin is aggressive enough to make contact with the snow in the kick phase. Again, this is exactly the same principle as the perfectly waxed ski,” Austrem says.

A progressive skin that is set down into the base creates a better, more waxlike experience. Photo: Stefano Zatta

A progressive skin that is set down into the base creates a better, more waxlike experience. Photo: Stefano Zatta

The engineering conundrum
At the same time, this progressive skin construction presents a challenge, because the skin has to be folded into the base without compromising the properties of the ski, such as flex and stiffness. These key properties are a result of the thickness of the ski and the distance between the top and bottom layers of the fiberglass and/or carbon fibers that provide stiffness. Adding only a millimeter to the distance between the top and bottom layers of the fibers can make the ski significantly stiffer, and vice versa: placing the layers a millimeter closer can make the ski that much softer, Austrem explains.

“Once we cracked that code, we managed to construct a lively ski that’s stiff enough and fast enough to race.”

Of course, the actual skin matters as well.

“We use a blend of mohair and nylon on most of our models. The mohair provides great glide and reliable kick, while the nylon adds durability and prolongs the life of the skin. On the Redline IntelliGrip® , we use 100 percent mohair,” Austrem says, adding that the skin can easily be replaced if it gets worn out or damaged.

More skiing, less waxing, and still perfect kick and glide. That is the IntelliGrip® skin difference. Photo: Stefano Zatta

More skiing, less waxing, and still perfect kick and glide. That is the IntelliGrip® skin difference. Photo: Stefano Zatta

Spring: The Best Part of the Entire Ski Season

Spring skiing can offer some of the best experiences, but also varying conditions as the sun warms the snow from crusty to slushy. Photo: Inge Scheve

 

Long days, lots of sunshine and a whole season’s worth of accumulated snow pack can bring some of the best skiing. But cold nights and long sunny days can also offer some of the most challenging waxing conditions. Enter Madshus Intelligrip, the most versatile skins known to man: monster grip and glide you’ve never experienced on skins before.

 

And unlike traditional skins, Madshus Intelligrip fits any ski, from the skinniest race skis to fat back country boards.

 

The exceptional performance is the result of combining mohair in the kick zone for grip and polyethylene, which is the same material used in the Madshus racing bases. This also helps avoid icing, a common problem with traditional skins.

 

The whole setup is so small it easily fits in your pocket, a drinking belt or a daypack. Madshus Intelligrip are easy to put on whenever they are needed, and work both on groomed trails as well as in the back country. And they can even be applied on top of grip wax! How smooth is that?

 

Madshus Intelligrip skins turn challenging wax conditions into a breeze with just a few simple grips. Photo: Madshus

 

Madshus Intelligrip skins – a whole new way to do skins, and rolls up to fist size for easy storage. Photo: Madshus

 

Madshus Intelligrip skins are so small they easily pack into a fannypack or a pocket. Perfect grip, unmatched glide, for all kinds of skis. Photo: Madshus

Gear up for Spring Skiing

Spring skiing is some of the best there is, and its even better when youre well prepared. But with spring conditions come changing temperatures and variable snow conditions. Enter Madshus Intelligrip.

 

These innovative skins provide killer grip and unparalleled glide in any kind of terrain. And unlike traditional skins, Madshus Intelligrip fits any ski, from the skinniest race skis to fat back country boards.

The exceptional performance is the result of combining mohair in the kick zone for grip and polyethylene, which is the same material used in the Madshus racing bases. This also helps avoid icing, a common problem with traditional skins.

The whole setup is so small it easily fits in your pocket, a drinking belt or a daypack. The skins are easy to put on whenever they are needed, and work both on groomed trails as well as in the back country. And they can even be applied on top of grip wax! How smooth is that?

Happy trails!

 

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