Black Diamond skins are coming around to the light side. The “UltraLite” construction is 20% lighter and more packable than previous iterations. In addition, BD renovated the tip attachments into a simple Dynex™ cord and pipe that is light, secure, and field replaceable. All this means you can have the most reliable glue in the industry without the weight penalties. The UltraLite formula is a 65% mohair / 35% nylon blend with impressive traction and isn’t half-slow. It might be time to give the Black Diamond climbers another chance.
- Innovative new loops require no adjustment to fit a wide range of tips.
- Patented STS tail is a durable nylon strap with 10cm of adjustment range.
- Lathered in Gold Label glue for the ultimate in cold-weather reliability.
- Redesigned construction is lighter and more supple, to the tune of 20%.
- STS kits ship with unattached tips so they can be fit to any length ski.
- Available in 110mm, 125mm, and 140mm widths with tails attached.
Update 2019/20: BD is now including bungee tips with the Ultralite skin kits, for use with skis that have tip notches, e.g. the Helio 76. All of our stock is current and has both tips included.
Questions & Reviews
I was a Black Diamond skin evangelist for more than a decade. BD skins just worked with no hassles for me. G3's failed on me, and the euro brands lacked grip and durability. All that changed many years ago (well G3 products still fail for my partners....).
I won a pair of these ultralight skins at an event and was super excited to try them, but they're terrible. I got rid of them after just a few days. I echo everything that is said in LCC Skier's review:
- they are as tough to stick/unstick as saran wrap
- the floppy tip attachment encourages snow under the front edges, leading to glue failure.
And as Emily reviewed earlier, the glue is always too-sticky or not-sticky-at-all.
I got rid of these skins and bought a pair of Pomoca Freeride skins. They are equally thin and low bulk, but have durable tip attachments, and the glue is consistent across temperatures.
If you need the lightest and fastest skins, bypass these and just get a race skin from Pomoca (also branded Dynafit, and Voile?), or Coltex (aka Movement?). I'll bet Kohla or Contour race skins are great too, haven't used them yet though.
I decided to trim these skins down to fit a narrower ski when I purchased some skins from another brand. Now that these skins are being used on a narrower ski, the snow/icing problem has chacefill. Overall, I'd avoid buying these skis, but if you're interested in the Yampa...
They are light, they are extremely packable (my favorite full-size skins to stuff into my jacket by FAR), they have good grip.
BD's system of making single-length skins with the tail preattached sucks, you have to do the tips yourself which means they're likely not going to be factory-perfect, which means there's gonna be snow getting under them. That's a big pain in the butt. Despite my tips being properly attached (the screws are all the way in there, etc) the little white rope thing sometimes wants to pull itself out, which is worrying. There seems to be no way to replace that, should it fail, save for buying a new tip attachment kit and hoping that your screw holes can be reused. The tails (why is this insignificant part factory attached but not the tip??) are weak, despite NOT being clipped tightly, mine have already started to tear around the tail clips (and even ABOVE the tail clips!!), which are perhaps just oversized. The glue also comes out of the box absurdly sticky, it can be a two-hand affair to rip your skins the first handful of times you use them. Overall durability seems very poor: these issues have occurred with less than 10 days of use. I am quite gentle with my gear (although I do tour 5-6 days/week) and only 150lbs at 5'10" so it's not like I'm some deadlifter type just brute forcing the tail straps apart either. I bought these from BD and am kicking myself for not having come to skimo.co, I wish I could swap them for the Pomocas.
At least BD is pretty good about warrantying their stuff. For the price, skip these.
I need to pick up some new skins. I have really enjoyed Dynafit's Pomoca skins in the past for the glide and weight. Would you encourage me to check out the BD ultralite or stick with the Dynafit offering? Thanks!
Being new to buying climbing skins i'm not sure if that is something i need to consider.
Do you trim these to fit length wise as well as width?
I was thinking the 125mm would work for me...?
It would really help to have a simple skin weight comparison - most published skin weights are bogus because you don't know the length or width of the skin being weighed & that length/width is not standard between brands for the purpose of comparison. It wouldn't take too much effort to publish a grams per square cm for each skin - just cut off a little strip, weigh it & divide by surface area.
Back to the original question - any rough weight comparison of the new BD skin to some your other stuff? Heavier than a race skin but lighter than a normal mohair mix? Same weight range as a pomoca or dynafit speedskin? Or have they really achieved some kind of significant weight saving deserving of the "ultralite" designation?
Skin weight is an under-appreciated attribute - especially for the greatly increased surface area of fatter BC skis. Thanks for your time.
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