Skimo Co

Black Diamond UltraLite Skins


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

Peter (used product a few times)
I do not recommend these skins.
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.
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Emily (downright abused product)
I've had these skins for every ski I've ever owned. They are my favorite plush, but I get annoyed with the glue. It's either too sticky, or not sticky at all-- with no inbetween. That said, I think they have an amazing mix of grip and glide. Would be the perfect skin if they had Pomoca glue, IMO. They perform fine if you use them with the standard tip and tail clips, but if you use a quick-attach system in a tip notch, I don't find the glue reliable enough. I do very much like the tip and tail system, the tips are easy to adjust from side to side.
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LCC Skier (used product regularly)
These skins aren't the worst choice, but they can be, especially for specific uses. First of all, these skins are too pliable and thin. The skin material behaves like plastic cling wrap, often sticking to itself in tiny folds that are very difficult to separate. Secondly, the glue on these skins is WAY TOO STICKY. My other BD skins (Glidelite) took a few tours to "break-in" and now they are quite easy to remove from my skis, these skins maintain their stickiness and are an absolute pain in the butt to remove from your skis. My third complaint is that the tip attachment design sucks. This allows way too much snow to bury itself under the tip of the skin and over the course of a long day, the skin will completely fail. This problem is accelerated with skis that are somewhat wide at the tip (DPS Wailer 106).

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...
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mbillie1 (used product a few times)
The good:

They are light, they are extremely packable (my favorite full-size skins to stuff into my jacket by FAR), they have good grip.

The bad:

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, I wish I could swap them for the Pomocas.

At least BD is pretty good about warrantying their stuff. For the price, skip these.
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Question from David
Do you know if the fabric and glue of this skin and the GlideLite are the same? The Ultralight looks like different material in the picture (less dark)? Also do you know if this tip would be wide enough for a Hannibal ski? Thanks!
Answer from eric
David- The glue is the same gold label glue used on all BD skins. The ultralight is a different backing material making it lighter and more packable. That tip will fit the hannibal no problem.
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Question from David
I am looking for climbing skins for a pair of Asnes Ingstad BC skis - 84 62 74 and 200 cm. Would you recommend these BD ultralights or something different?
Answer from Trace Leches
Hey David! These definitely have a lot of potential to work as the material is awesome and the tail attachment is bomb-proof, though I think the tip is a bit wide for your skis and could cause some issues. Because the skis are relatively super narrow for a lot of the climbing skin kits, I think your best bet would be to make your own skin actually, that way you wouldn't end up paying a ton extra for all of the material that you're going to cut off and throw away. Also it gives you the freedom to experiment with different tip and tail attachments. If you want a really fast skin then any 59mm wide race skin will work but it'll be straight cut, if you want full coverage then anything wider than 74mm will be good! Find all the nitty gritty parts here and reach out if you have any further questions!
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Question from Tyler Beck
Hey SkimoCo,

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!
Answer from eric
Hey Tyler The Dynafit/Pomoca skins are great. The Ultralights are an equally good skin, but even thinner and more foldable. The tip loop can be a little tricky and you may see some curling of the skin near the tip on some really wide skis.
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Question from Jeremy
With the different size selections with width, i don't see any lengths.
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...?
Answer from jbo
Hi Jeremy, the STS kits ship without the tips attached. You can fit the tips onto any length ski up to about 200cm, just cut off the extra. After putting on the tips, you then trim to fit the edges. 125mm would work well for those skis, that would be full coverage. You could get away with 110mm if you wanted more glide.
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Question from Tony
how much do these weigh? Your description says "20% lighter" but that's not much of a basis for comparing to other brands.

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.
Answer from jbo
Hi Tony, I agree it would be nice to have a weight chart. We haven't figured out a way to weigh them in a consistent manner, short of destroying a pair of each model. That gets expensive though...
Answer from Tony
Thanks for the quick response. The skins you sell from a roll would be a start - cut off an inch or two & weigh it. I know that something like a G3 Alpinist would be tough given that tip/tail are pre-attached, but many skins leave a ton of excess after fitting to skis. I'd do it myself but the 6 inches plus of waste skin I always have would be of limited use given I might average one new set per year at best. Ski shops seem to cut skins for customers pretty regularly, I'd imagine there's a lot of scrap laying around for weighing. Sure, it doesn't cover everything but it would be a start. Perhaps an email to a distributor asking for a 2 inch sample of whatever they have laying around?

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.
Answer from jbo
Hi Tony, we now have comparable sizes in stock. The Ultralite STS 110mm kits weigh 300g per skin with backing while the GlideLites of the same size are 374 grams. I'd say that's significant savings. BTW, measuring surface area of edge trims is nearly impossible and you need a reasonably sized rectangle to have meaningful accuracy.
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Model: UltraLite Mix STS Skins

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