CrossCountry Ski Skin Care: How to Clean and Maintain Ski Skins?

CrossCountry Ski Skin Care How to Clean and Maintain Ski Skins

When the time has come for you to pick up your cross-country skis and get ready for the next day of skiing, you realize that it’s time to clean your skins. Many people skip this simple step because they think cleaning their ski skins is too much work.

However, taking care of these essential equipment ensures that you always have a good skiing experience and your skin lasts longer – which will save you money in the long run!

Luckily, caring for ski skins is easy. Most importantly, use hot soapy water and scrub them lightly with a soft brush while rinsing and letting them air dry before applying again.

If you’re looking for more detailed instructions on how to clean your ski skins, check out this article on the subject. By following these simple steps, you can ensure your ski skins are always in good condition and ready to use!

1. What Are Ski Skins?

1. What Are Ski Skins

Ski skins are a vital piece of equipment for cross-country skiing. They attach to the bottom of your skis and help you move faster and easier through the snow. By taking care of your ski skins and cleaning them regularly, you can ensure that they perform their best every time you hit the slopes.

2. Are Ski Skins Reusable?

2. Are Ski Skins Reusable

Yes, ski skins are generally reusable for many years if you take good care of them. Cleaning and maintaining your ski skins as needed allows you to keep them in good condition and reduce the need for expensive replacements.

3. Why Are Ski Skins so Expensive?

3. Why Are Ski Skins so Expensive

Ski skins can be quite expensive, ranging between $50 and $300. This is because they are made from high-quality materials that stand up well to wear and tear, as well as being designed specifically for cross-country skiing.

4. How to Clean and Maintain Ski Skins?

4. How to Clean and Maintain Ski Skins

There are a few reasons why it’s important to keep your cross-country ski skins clean and in good condition:

  • Clogged or dirty ski skins can be extremely slippery, which makes it difficult to gain traction on the snow and increases your chances of slipping and falling.
  • Dirty ski skins can also wear out quicker than clean ones, decreasing their lifespan and resulting in costly replacements.
  • Regularly cleaning your ski skins will help them stay in good condition for longer, preserving their performance and longevity over time.
  • Fortunately, keeping your cross-country ski skins clean is relatively simple and doesn’t require any specialized care products or equipment.

Cleaning Your Ski Skins: The Basics

Tools you will need:

  • Bucket or container
  • Cleaning cloth
  • Cleaning product for the skins
  • Nylon brush


1. Fill your bucket with warm water and add skins cleaning product. Stir until the suds form.

2. Use the cloth soaked in the cleaning product to clean away any dirt, debris, or built-up wax. Follow the glide direction from the front to the tail.

3. Use the nylon brush to brush the ski skin gently. Follow the glide direction from the front to the tail.

4. Let them dry at room temperature.

5. Once the ski skins are clean and dry, apply a small amount of good-quality glide wax to the skins in the direction of the hair.

5. Proper Care for Cross-Country Ski Skins

5. Proper Care for Cross-Country Ski Skins

To ensure that your ski skins remain in optimal condition for as long as possible, follow these basic guidelines for proper care.

Trim the skin edges

As time goes by, your skin’s edges will become frayed. To keep your skins healthy and cared for, remove any loose fibers with scissors and seal them with a lighter.

Look after the glue side

The health of your climbing skins largely relies on how you attach and remove them both before and after touring. To keep the glued side in pristine condition, avoid contact with the ground, dirty snow, or other debris to keep the glued side in pristine condition. If damaged, you’ll need to replace the skin entirely – a complicated process best left to professionals.

Waterproof your skins

It’s essential to clean and dry your climbing skins before you use them, but it’s also crucial to waterproof them. You can do this by using special skin wax or a waterproof spray. Be sure to read the instructions carefully before applying either one.

Waterproofing your ski skins ensures that they move more smoothly through the snow. If they aren’t as smooth, wet snow can stick to them and make them harder to climb. Not regularly proofing for your climbing skins can occur sooner, especially during springtime.

6. Caring For Your Ski Skins While Climbing

6. Caring For Your Ski Skins While Climbing

Taking care of your ski skins when you are out and about, skiing in the backcountry is important. If you get your skins wet, they will lose their stickiness and not work. If they get too dirty, the same thing will happen.

That’s why avoiding puddles and wet snow when you’re skiing is important. Also, try to prevent dirt and sticks, especially when you’re crossing through a forest. If you get pine resin on your skins, it will be complicated to remove.

7. How to Correctly Store Your Ski Skins

7. How to Correctly Store Your Ski Skins

One good rule to follow is to repeat all of the above before storing your ski skins. Never store dirty or wet ski skins, as they may begin to dry rot before you can use them again. 

Here are some simple rules to follow when storing your skins:

  • Before storing your climbing skins, clean, waterproof, and dry them.
  • All glued surfaces should be covered to prevent the glue from drying
  • Fold them, not roll them.
  • Climbing skins should be stored in a bag that is not airtight in a dry place, away from direct sunlight, and at room temperature.

8. Inspect ski skins for damage before each use

8. Inspect ski skins for damage before each use

It is crucial for cross-country skiers to inspect their skins for damage before each use. Damaged skins can decrease grip on the snow, leading to reduced performance and potentially dangerous skiing conditions. 

Skins should be checked for tears or holes and any separation from the adhesive backing. If any damage is found, the skins should be repaired or replaced before heading out on the trails. 

Remember, taking a few minutes to inspect your skins properly can make for a safer and more enjoyable day on the slopes.

9. Climbing Skin Material

9. Climbing Skin Material

Many cross-country skiers use climbing skins made from nylon or mohair for their superior gripping power on snow. However, these materials can be pretty delicate and will require careful maintenance in order to keep their performance over time. Let’s now look at the different types of climbing skins.

Synthetic skins

Synthetic skins are typically made of nylon. Nylon is a sturdy material that offers superb traction but doesn’t glide as well as mohair. Skins made with nylon are often less expensive than those made with mohair or mohair-blend skins.

Nylon skins are the most common type of ski skins, but you can also find ones made from polyethylene plastic. These resemble the traction pattern on waxless cross-country skis and usually glide well. However, they don’t provide as much traction as nylon skins.

Mohair skins

Mohair skins provide excellent grip on snow and are a popular choice for experienced cross-country skiers. However, they can be pretty expensive and require careful maintenance to stay in good condition.

Blend skins

Blend skins combine the best of both nylon and mohair, offering superior grip and glide while maintaining a relatively low cost. If you are looking for a versatile ski skin material that is easy to maintain, blended skin might be the perfect choice for you.

As you can see, there are a variety of material options when it comes to ski skins. Choosing the right type depends on your budget, skiing style, and personal preferences. Whatever type of ski skin you choose, ensure you maintain it properly so you can get the most out of your time on the slopes.

10. Attaching Your Climbing Skins

10. Attaching Your Climbing Skins

When you’re out on the slopes, you want to be able to focus on your skiing, not on your equipment. That’s why it’s essential to know how to attach your climbing skins properly.

Here are some tips for attaching the two main systems for climbing skins:

Metal or Plastic Loop

The first system attaches the skin to the ski with a loop on the tip. The skin sticks to the ski base with glue, which provides a good amount of hold. The main advantage of this system is that it’s relatively simple to put on and take off. 

However, one potential downside is that if the glue isn’t applied correctly, the skins can loose during use.

Tip Loop and Tail Hook

The second system uses a loop on the tip of the skin and a hook at the tail. This system provides a secure hold, but it can be slightly more challenging to put on and take off. The extra step of attaching the tail hook can also add a bit of weight to your setup.

When choosing a system for attaching your climbing skins, there are a few things to remember. If you’re looking for simplicity, then the metal or plastic loop might be suitable for you. However, the tip loop and tail hook system might be a better option if you’re looking for extra security. 

Whichever system you choose, make sure that you apply the glue correctly to avoid any accidents on the slopes.

11. Top 3 Ski Skins Brands

11. Top 3 Ski Skins Brands

There are a lot of different brands that make ski skins. Here are the top three brands you should consider when purchasing your own ski skins.

1. Black Diamond

Black Diamond is a well-known outdoor gear brand, offering a wide range of climbing skins that are sure to meet your needs. Their products are made with high-quality materials and construction, so you can be confident that you’re getting the best possible product.

2. Fischer

Fischer is another well-respected brand in the outdoor industry, and they offer a wide range of cross-country skiing gear, including climbing skins. Their products are made with precision and attention to detail, ensuring you get the best performance possible on the slopes.

3. G3 Alpinist

G3 is a relatively new player in the outdoor equipment market, but they’ve quickly gained a reputation for quality products. Their Alpinist climbing skin line offers some of the best performance available today, making them a popular choice for serious cross-country skiers.

12. FAQs

12. FAQs

How long do ski skins last?

If you take care of your premium quality skins, they can last for 150,000 meters; often it will be much longer.

What kind of detergent should I use to clean my ski skins?

Use special ski skins cleaning products, or you can literally wash your skins with mild soapy water.

How often should I clean my ski skins?

It would be best if you cleaned your ski skins after each use. This will help prevent any build-up of dirt and grime that can affect their performance on the snow.

Are there any other ways to care for my ski skins?

Unfortunately, there’s no other easier way to care for your skis. The only way to care for your ski skins is discussed above.

How to trim ski skins?

To trim your ski skins, use a nail cutter or a scissor. Be careful not to cut the skin’s fabric – only trim the excess nylon material.

13. Conclusion

13. Conclusion

Maintaining your ski skins is essential to getting the most out of them on the slopes. By following these simple tips, you can keep your ski skins clean and in good condition for many trips up and down the mountain. Cross-country ski skin care doesn’t have to be complicated – just take a little time to do it right, and you’ll be glad you did.

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.

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