Overall: Five Stars for a race skin with my favorite tip attachment system, good glue, the usual 100% mohair plush, and a relatively stiff laminate that allows for clean deskinning.
Background on product familiarity: I’ve used a pair of the 2013-14 skins, for both training and racing. Mine have white plush, with a backing that features both Pomoca and the Dynafit Snow Leopard logo (both owned by Salewa). I’ve seen some etailer pictures with a black plush, but I don’t know if that’s an older or newer version. I’ve also used half a dozen or so other pairs of mohair race skins, although mainly various close-out models or black unidentifiable mohair of somewhat mysterious origins.
First, the first impressions out of the box: The glue is quite tacky for a race skin. For a pure mohair skin, the laminate is relatively stiff, and the plush fibers seem relatively short. But even though some other skins used by a buddy have felt more luxurious because of longer fibers, they seemed to be slower.
The rubber tip is sensibly just sewn in place (unlike the unnecessary plastic “tip plate” receptacle on Dynafit’s touring skins). And the tail sensibly lacks any tail clip that would just go to waste when you cut it off for racing. The dimensions are 59mm by 156cm, so you might want to start with them full length while breaking them into during training, then trim them however short you dare for racing. (I’ve heard anywhere from 8 to 10 inches back from the tail as a range for typical race course layouts.) And remember to round off the corners (as any right angles are more prone to peeling back).
Second impressions, in use: The rubber tip is brilliant simplicity, with a more secure grab for deskinning over various bungee-based tip attachments. I’ve used them on three different race skis, and I’ve used Dynafit rubber tips on two other touring setups – by far my favorite system. I’ve sewn other Dynafit rubber tips onto many other brands of race skins.
The glue has performed well, and although I haven’t yet experienced a wider range of temperature and snow conditions extremes with them, I expect them to keep doing well given the tackiness.
I absolute love the relatively stiff laminate for clean and fast “rips” at transitions. Probably helps to prevent tail curling/unfurling too.
Grip seems typical for a straight mohair race skin.
So now for the big issues: just how fast are they? I have trouble trying to distinguish among different models of mohair races skins. Three of us have tried some tests swapping our various skins back and forth, with one skin on one ski and one on another. Typically we come up with three different opinions, i.e., one faster, the other faster, and can’t tell. Add to that the potential variances in a natural product across different batches of the same model, plus the potential variances across different temperature and snow conditions, and I have even more excuses for ducking the central question.
Third impressions, for long-term durability: All pure mohair skins are expendable, eventually shedding their plush fibers to past the optimal glide stage in their life to becoming too slow as you’re trying to glide on large sections of bare laminate.
As for the rubber tips, on my Manaslu skins that have over 300,000 vertical feet, still no signs of cracks or tears. And ditto for the many other tips I’ve retrofitted onto various mohair race skins with lots of use, with some tips even on their second pair of skins.
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