Good routines

Before the season starts, some basic routines are the nearest we can get to skiing. Change the battery in your avalanche beacon; clean and re-impregnate your shells – and give your skins, skis and bindings a once-over. Here, we’re talking skins.

Skins are often neglected. Spring, especially, can be hard on the glue; the snow can be dirty, and we pass over vegetation and rocks. But skins are the most important tool we have for getting to the top so we can come down again. We really want them in good condition on the first good snow day!

First of all, some basic skin-care tips (we repeat these elsewhere, but they’re important – so here we go!

Keeping skins in shape

Skins are a wonderful tool for opening the door to experiences in nature. There are just a couple of things you can do to keep them performing as they should. Here’s what every skin-owner should know.

1. Keep the adhesive clean and dry

One of the most important rules for keeping skins happy is to keep the glue away from dust, dirt, vegetation, stones, dog hair, carpets, and anything else that can get stuck in there.

2. Remove ice and snow from the glue – they’ll stick

Out in the mountains, snow and ice get on to the glue. It’s just the way it goes. You can usually just brush it off with a glove. If there’s a lot, you can scrape the back of the skin over a steel edge. You can also just fold them up and put them in an inside pocket. The ice and snow melt, the glue warms up and the skin might dry a little. Then it’ll stick.

3. Beating the cold

When it’s really cold, the skin gets cold too. This means a stiffer skin and stiffer glue – maybe even a skin that doesn’t want to stick to the ski. When this happens, warm the skin with body heat under your jacket. On long days below -15° or thereabouts, stick the skin into your inner pocket when you’re not using it.

4. Good routines

Glue tends to fail at the back of the skin first, sometimes at the front by the attachment. This is where snow, ice, water and dirt are most likely to get into the glue. Check your skins regularly; remove vegetation and other obvious stuck in the glue; store the skin in an inner pocket if necessary. Also bring a stick of skin wax to prevent the skin from absorbing moisture. Maybe even a tube of skin glue for spot-repairs in the field if necessary.

5. Emergency solutions

If things really go south, a ski strap, gaffa tape or sports tape can save the day. Or at least give you enough to get out of the mountains. But we repeat: routines!

6. A dry skin is a happy skin

Wet snow exists. In the spring, it’s a real hazard. This can lead to very damp skins. These are perfect conditions for skins becoming ice-magnets. Especially if temperatures fluctuate. At this point, enter skin wax. You should ALWAYS have some skin wax in your pocket; it can save the day! The other thing you can do is stick glide wax on your skins in almost the same way you would with your glide zones. The wax protects from wear; it stops moisture getting in; it improves glide. Between uses (and out in the field) skins can dry and warm up in your inner pocket. Again, good routines and preparations are key here. Give you skin a good waxing before you set out, or at the start of the season!

7. Icing? No thanks

OK, so – you forgot to wax and your skins are covered in ice. Well, no one’s perfect. All is not lost. First, scrape away what you can using a steel edge, a wax scraper, or whatever you have to hand. One of us has used the old iPhone 5 with the sharp sides before. Leave the skins on. Try to scrape from the front tip all the way back to the rear tip. You’ll probably be able to squeeze and scrape enough out. If it’s sunny, you can put the skin in the sun with the problem side facing the sun. They might dry out a little when you have your sandwiches. Finally, you should apply skin wax – and LOTS of it. If you don’t have any to hand, use what you have. Vaseline. Sunscreen. Silicone. Cooking oil. When you clean it off, don’t spray base cleaner on to the skin – use a rag.

8. Always dry skins – at room temperature!

All wet equipment should be unpacked and dried. This is particularly important for skins, because, as we say in Point 6, a dry skin is a happy skin. However, skins should NOT be exposed to direct heat. Don’t put them on heated floors, or near a stove. Hang them on a drying line at normal room temperature. When dry, store them somewhere cool, away from sunlight. A cellar, a garage – somewhere like that.

9. Proper storage between use

Most of us store our skins stuck glue-to-glue. But when skins are to be stored for a long period, over the summer for example, it may be good to use a mesh skin-protector between them. Just to be safe. Again, store your dry skins somewhere cool, away from sunlight. In the cellar or in the shed.

10. Re-glue your skins when necessary

Sooner or later, glue wears out. It ages; it’s had enough of snow and fingers and grip wax and being dried above a wood-burning stove in huts. This doesn’t mean that the skin’s finished, though: skins get better and better with use. Re-gluing a skin takes a little time from your afternoon, but there are several methods now. And glue’s much cheaper than a pair of mature skins with stories to tell.

Changing skin adhesive

When skin glue becomes degraded, skins peel off when you don’t want them to. At a certain point, the only option to prevent them flapping about is to replace the adhesive.

You will need the following tools:

Varmepistol
StålsikleLabel
Arbeidsbord med mulighet til å feste skifellen, gjerne i en 2×4 plankebit
Litt papir for å unngå for mye gris
Hansker (fellelim er klissete!)
Ny fellelim, enten på tube eller på transfer-papir

How it’s done

When working with skin glue, make sure you have a clean and tidy workbench. If you’re changing the glue because it’s dirty (full of dust and dirt) or plain worn out, you want to avoid immediately contaminating it before you’ve even hit the snow. Old skin glue can get everywhere if you don’t have a plan for dealing with it once you’ve scraped it off. But this is easy:. make sure it goes straight in the bin.

For å fjerne limet bruker vi en varmepistol med påmontert skrape, men man kan bruke bare varmepistol og en vanlig stålsikle også. Limet varmes godt opp med varmepistolen, skrapes lett og relativt kjapt av fellen når man har nok varme
Når fellen er ren for gammel lim, så legges den med «hårsiden» ned mot bordet. Nå kan man legge på nytt lim. Enten fra tube, ved hjelp av en spatel, eller ved å bruke transfer-papir. Den sistnevnte løsningen er definitivt enklest, mest effektivt og den metoden vi selv foretrekker.
Løsne papiret på den ene siden, og fest limet på hele fellens lengde. Det er viktig at limet blir lagt så vinkelrett og retningsriktig på fellen som mulig.
Når hele lengden er på kapper man av resten av lengden med lim og snur fellen så papiret kommer ned mot benken og hårsiden av fellen opp. Man tar så en tapetkniv og fjerner overskytende lim langs kanten av fellen så man ikke får unødvendig mye lim på arbeidsbenken.
Når dette er gjordt kan selve limingen begynne. Smørejernet eller strykjernet skal ha en temperatur på mellom 160 og 170 grader. Er ikke temperaturen høy nok vil ikke limet feste seg til fellen. Nå er det bare å begynne å varme i en ende og gradvis løsne papiret. Man merker fort om temperaturen er ok, limet fester seg og papiret løsner lett fra fellen.
La limet herde på fellen i 24 timer, før du tar dem i bruk eller limer dem mot hverandre. Etter det er fellene klar til bruk og holder et par sesonger til.

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