Skins reglue and storage: better than botox!

Skins reglue and storage are top of mind in springtime downunder.

Aussie wet snow conditions are notoriously bad for skins – moisture is the enemy of skins glue. So what do you do? Our resident BC Guru Steve Leeder has done more re-glues than you’ve had freeze dried dinners, he has the downlow on making your skins glow and glue like new. No botox required .. oh, and some hints for summer storage too.

Removing old ski skins glue prior to reglue
Removing old glue is not a pretty sight, or much fun © Steve Leeder

Ok here’s the scenario, you have just got up to the top of the skin track ready to shred the most epic line of your life but as you are pulling your skins off your skis you notice that more of the glue is staying on your ski than on the skin. This can’t be good right? Glue does not work like wax, you wont go faster.

So you are probably thinking, ‘Yep pretty much time to start saving up for a new pair of those Contour Skins they keep raving on about.

What happens when your skins sog out – a long hike back from Twin Humps for Steve last October © Owain Price

Problem is, you don’t have $300 and just throwing something out does not sound like a very environmentally friendly thing to do. But climbing up hills with your skins on is your life, what do you do?

First up, know what causes it and how you prevent it.

Moisture is not your friend in this situation. The glue absorbs the water and turns the glue to a tacky mess. Some skin glue doesn’t get affected as much as others, but it’s a bit late for that talk now.  

One thing to do is always keep some SKIN WAX in your pack. This will help to keep the wetness out of the skins, and when its real hot it will stop the snow from sticking to your skins.

But once its gone to far and the glue is actually sticking to your bases you really need to do some maintenance.

The easiest place to start is with some brown butchers paper and your iron. By heating up the glue some of the moisture and dirt and bits that are in the skin will come out on the butcher paper. This will not fix your skins, but it can get you out of trouble until you can get onto some more permanent options.

The best thing to do is to reglue your skins.

Yep it is a thing. I personally reglue about 50 pairs of skins per season for customers and for the rental fleet. When you’ve done it as many times as I have you start to get a pretty good system down and it becomes a lot less of a struggle and more of a, well just another job.

What you need to reglue skins

1. A clean work space ideally with a way of supporting your skis. You don’t want your skis sliding around when you are trying to scrape the glue off them. 

2. A heat source to melt the old glue. A heat gun will work fine. I use an old waxing iron. It’s hot and has a hard edge to scrape with. 

3. Something to actually scrape with.

4. New glue.

5. Case of BIG SHOT Drinks in your favorite flavour. Mine’s green.

How to reglue skins

1. Scrape all the old glue off, its gross but its gotta go. All of it. Once you think you have it done, scrape again, cause there will still be heaps in the skin.

2. Apply the new glue to the skin and heat into the skin. It’s a balancing act, you don’t want to melt or burn your skin or the new glue but not enough heat and it peels back off.

3. Peel the backing paper off and apply a new set of cheat sheets. You don’t want to stick this beautiful re glue job back together with out it. Its just not right

4. Get someone to drive you to the mountain and go touring. Why can’t you just go yourself? Remember #5 in the things you need? Yeah well I’m sure you didn’t just have one, it takes a while, so you shouldn’t be driving..

Before and after of a ski skins reglue
A set of G3 skins like new after a pro job reglue © Steve Leeder

The easy way to get a skins reglue

Is there a way to do this way easier? Yep totally! Bring your skins to me at Wilderness Sports and I can do the job for you no problem. The whole job only costs $180 including the glue. It will save you heaps of time and a lot of grey hairs. Trust me, it’s harder than it looks, and if you stuff up you need to start all over. Check the comments on the how to videos out there, they are full of these problems.

Once you’ve got your skins working great again some things to keep them that way are definitely a set of Cheat sheets – use for storage only, no while out in the mountains.

When you are out there, I suggest using the Montana Skinny Bag, it’s a protective back for your skins made of spandex and lycra.  It will actually wick moisture off your skins, makes your transitions from uphilling to going down faster, and you don’t get glue on your gloves or hands.

Using the Montana Skinny Bag helps keep your skins drier © Steve Leeder