Overall: Five Stars for a climbing skin with typical Euro momix glide and atypically strong glue. My only caveat is that the laminate is so subtle as to render them more prone to “rats-nesting” when combined with the strong tack, although this is a concern only if you’re already in the habit of making a mess of your transitions on windy ridges.
Background on product familiarity: I have almost 43,000 vertical feet on a 2013-14 Movement-rebranded pair precut for the Movement Response-X and another nearly 44,000 vertical feet on the same version trimmed down slightly for the Hagan Y Flow. Previously, for (too?) many years I had been wedded to a certain line of purple and then orange skins, but my Manaslu skins in 2008 helped wean me away from that habit to a current assortment of various momix skins for all my touring setups.
First, the first impressions out of the box: If you’re accustomed to a certain orange (previously purple) skin, then these Euro skins will seem very different with their slippery plush, very subtle laminate, and glue that is . . . extremely tacky?!? And given that the glue on that ‘Merican brand has recently been moderating its tack, these skins might have the strongest glue on the market.
The metal tip loop is rather old school but with a twist – or more literally, some clever bends to enhance fit on a wider variety of ski tip shapes. The tail strap is laminated into the skin for zero drag on the snow, although the camming clip is a little bulky, with a continuously adjustable length.
I trimmed down one pair to a very precise edge using the very basic little BD “letter opener” tool, which appears to be identical to the Colltex-branded version. Some mohair debris did end up on the glue, but that might have been my own sloppiness at fault.
Second impressions, in use: The metal tip loop attaches mindlessly and securely to both the rounded-off tip of my Movement Response-X and the more pointed tip of my Hagan Y Flow, yet allows for clean rips without getting hung up.
The tail strap’s cam also attaches easily, and then allows for a secure grab for ripping. The cam’s length adjustment has just the right amount of tension for adjusting inside, but has too much resistance if you want to be adjusting it constantly in the field for the slight length changes that result from temperature, snow moisture, and repeated applications. But the tail attachment is mainly there as a backup, and as a grab for ripping, so a little looseness doesn’t cause any problems.
Overall, I liked the tip and tail attachment system so much that I never got around to my original plan of replacing it with a race-style setup on my Y Flow skis to take advantage of their notched tip.
The glue is so strong that on a tour with temps around 0F at my skin>ski transition and not much warmer over 2,000’ vertical below at my ski>skin transition, I skipped my usual habit of rewarming the skins inside my jacket on the descent. The tack was still excellent on subsequent laps, without even a hint of the cold temps that the skins were battling.
The only downside of that strong glue is that combined with the very subtle laminate (and without any “wimp strip” down the middle), the skins are more prone to “rats-nesting” than average. I probably lost only a few seconds on each transition with this. But if you’re already in the habit of making a mess of your transitions on windy ridges, then you should probably seek out some combination of a more “boardy” skin and/or more forgiving glue.
Glide is excellent. I’ve heard complaints that momix skins don’t grip quite as well as nylon skins. Perhaps true, but I’ve never noticed any differences, even for steeper-than optimal skintracks. (And if you’re constantly trying to take as steep a skintrack as possible, while using the highest heel elevator setting on touring bindings, then learn how to set – and love – a lower-angle and ultimately more efficient skintrack!)
Third impressions, for long-term durability: Not enough usage yet to pass judgment based on personal experience. But the tip loop is impressively bomber, and the tail attachment also looks durable. (I have an earlier incarnation of the tail attachment that is still in perfect condition after over 195,000 vertical feet.) As for the plush, my experience with other brands is that the momix fibers seem to last pretty much forever (unlike the noticeably fast wear rate of pure mohair). The thinner laminate might in theory be more prone to tearing if you like skinning through rock gardens, but I haven’t experienced any problems (although my skinning with these has been almost exclusively on snow).
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