Splitboard skins are strips of fabric that attach to the bottom of your splitboard. They allow you the ability to climb up hills while keeping the ski’s on.
Most splitboard skins are attached with tip looks, tail clips, and sticky glue. The best part is the skins can be easily peeled off, and when you put your board back together, you’ll enjoy your ride with no hassle.
Important factors to consider when choosing the best splitboard skins are material, length and width. In addition, you must also understand how to trim the skin for an exact fit to your splitboard, and how to attach it your board.
Be mindful that a splitboard skin is different than a ski skin, and it’s important to purchase a skin that will be the right size to your brand and style splitboard.
Here are the best splitboard skins recommended for a fun, and safe outing in the backcountry.
The 5 Best Splitboard Skins
|G3 Alpinist 100mm Skins|
Supple Synthetic Plush
Short (153 - 169 cm), Medium (168 - 184 cm), Long (183 - 199 cm)
|Burton G3 High Traction Splitboard Skins|
Supple Synthetic Plush
Short (146-160cm) and Medium (158-172cm)
|Fischer Profoil Hannibal Climbing Skins|
|Jones Nomad Skins|
30% Nylon, 70% Mohair mix
|Black Diamond Ultra-Lite STS Skins|
65% Mohair & 35% Nylon mix
1. G3 Alpinist 100mm Skins – Best Skin Overall
The G3 Alpinist skins have a great glide and their ability to glide helps to slide forward yielding less energy. Therefore this is a recommended product when skiing long distances.
This splitboard skin is constructed in a way that the fabric is glued well, to resist rolling and peeling. The glue also works in wet and cold conditions. If the glue wears out it’s easier to peel off the section and apply new glue to it.
This product is shipped with a trimming tool that makes it easier to resize the skins. It’s usually intimidating for beginners to trim their own skins to the proper size of the split board. This feature reduces the fear of cutting the skin incorrectly.
The G3 Alpinist skin is among the few skins that are mostly compatible with many different skis on the market. The skins are made of tip metal clips that are very accommodating to many skis. The clips offer security regardless of the tip’s shape and size.
2. Burton G3 High Traction Splitboard Skins – For a Near Perfect Grip
The Burton G3 High Traction splitboard skin is made extra wide so it is the perfect fit for your splitboard. This product has improved upon its first climbing skin design by adding a plush synthetic high traction material.
The high friction material offers a 10-20 percent increase in traction on steep and hard slopes. This increase in your climb is extra beneficial when with tip connectors that give this splitboard skin a glove like fit.
In terms of grip, the Burton G3 High Traction skin provides a tighter grip.
This can be a positive, but the negative side to this would be that it isn’t the best for gliding.
Just like the G3 Alpinist skin, the Burton offers great compatibility.
These skins can be purchased at any length or width and be trimmed to the exact size of your skis.
Apart from compatibility, the G3 High Traction splitboard skins have steel hooks for a secure lightweight connection.
3. Fischer Profoil Hannibal 94 Climbing Skins – For a Near Perfect Glide
The company chose to focus on the connection between the skin and the snow rather than the board.
Most climbing skins in the market feature a directional fiber that prevents backsliding.
The Fischer Profoil took a different approach and employs plastic scales arranged like the scales of a fish. This, in turn, provides superior glide that works for both uphill and downhill climbs.
The Fischer Profoil’s composition features synthetic material that is fairly durable. However, the nylon was compromised in performance during icy conditions.
The glue provided sticks as long as the temperatures do not drop below 20 degrees when used for extended periods.
The grip of these splitboard skins is dependent on the prevailing weather conditions. On days when the temperature is above 16 degrees, the grip is extremely good. On colder days, however, the scales became somewhat ineffective.
The glide on these skins is as good as they are advertised, and could glide on an inclined or flat surface with ease.
4. Jones Nomad Skin with Universal Tail Clip – For Experienced Splitboaders
Very popular with experienced splitboaders, the Jones Nomad Skin delivers a good combination of glide, climbing prowess, and lightweight. For a user whose technique is above average, you will love the traction and grip of this skin.
The grip of this product is close to what the G3 Alpinist skin provides and very good balance.
While technique is not everything when battling snow, this skin does its part by increasing speed, which reduces the effort for any user.
This skin will need a user who is a bit skillful because you are required to attach the clip by yourself.
This can be fairly easy if you’re a crafty person but, for non-crafty customers will have to navigate to their website to see the step by step video.
Upon testing the skin, the skin was found to be adequately sticky and pulls off with a reasonable amount of force. Although more inclined towards the experienced user, these skins are usable by any splitboader due to their improved glide and reduced weight.
5. PIEPS Black Diamond Ultralite Mix STS Climbing Skin – The Super Lightweight Skin
Made from a combination of 65% mohair and 35% nylon, the Black Diamond brings the best of both worlds with the best glide and minimum weight. The skin attaches by means of a powerful adhesive.
The tip and tail are field replaceable and allow an adjustable length of up to 10 centimeters. This means that even if the glue wears out while you are battling the snow, you can use the tip and tail hardware to make adjustments.
Use of mohair for more than half of the skin material makes the overall construction lightweight. The skins length also makes it perfectly suited for different boards but can still be adjusted to fit any ski.
However, the grip of the Black Diamond skin is not the best but does have a great glide. This offers an effortless transition from point A to point B.
Choosing the Best Splitboard Skins
Today’s skins are made from synthetic skins, mohair, or a blend of the two. The skin material is plays an important role in the traction, glide, and cost of a splitboard.
Synthetic or nylon skins are a durable option but fall short when it comes to gliding. They are less expensive compared to the other two counterparts.
Mohair skins offer a good mix of grip, glide, and still manage to be lightweight. They are not as durable as nylon skins but they’re relatively more expensive.
Blended skins combine mohair and nylon skins and offer the best of both worlds. These skins possess a good compromise of weight, grip, glide, and cost.
The material is an important factor to consider when choosing the best splitboard skin. A regular backcountry snowboarder should go with lightweight skins that offer better glide. A new snowboarder should opt for nylon skins for their excellent grip and durability.
The length of your skins will typically be based on the length of your splitboard. Climbing skins are normally sold in different length ranges and require you to trim the skins to fit your board.
For instance, if your board is 165 cm long you would buy the 160-175 cm skins and fine tune the length to fit. The tail adjustment device allows approximately 10 cm of adjustment to be done on the skin.
Skins that are sold in a single length come with the tool included so that you can fit its length to the exact size of the splitboard.
With a good skin length, the next important thing is the width. This is an easy decision because most manufacturers offer only a single width of about 140 mm.
The width can then be trimmed to fit the shape of your board with the included tool.
If there are additional widths, keep in mind the wider, the better. Wide skins cover more of your splitboard’s underside resulting in better traction.
While it’s not an important factor for most people, rando racers are specifically worried about this feature because they need more speed than grip.
For the best straight coverage, find a skin that comes close to the width dimensions of your board but not touching the edges. This will leave the base showing on the tail and tip of the ski.
The grip of a skin refers to its ability to have traction. A good grip is mostly achieved by tight or dense material weave. Skins that have great grip are ideal for steep inclines and areas with a lot of traffic.
The glide of a splitboard skin refers to its ability to slide on the snowy surface. The grip is often seen as the most important attribute when climbing uphill. However the glide also has a role when maintaining the control of your splitboard.
Grip will create friction and allow you to keep your hold on the snow, glide on the other hand allows the skier to easily move between two points. A climbing skins gliding factor is dependent on the material used.
You can also increase the glide of a skin artificially by waxing the board and skin for durability and additional smoothness.
If you prefer wall-to-wall coverage, find the widest part of your ski and subtract 5-6 mm to find the desired skin width.
Many manufacturers will have the ski width printed on the ski, but if it’s not available, you will have to measure using rulers or calipers.
The objective of wall-to-wall coverage is to cover the entire plastic base and leave only the metal rails bare. The advantage of this coverage is it gives maximum grip when going uphill and also lets you glide on hard snow.
Tip and Tail Hardware
The tip and tail come in many styles. While some hardware adapts to fit a variety of tips and tails, other manufacturers make hardware that only fit their own skins.
In Europe, you will find that most racers particularly prefer stretchy tips attachments with no tail. For occasional touring, however, we recommend that you use tail hardware as it can come to your aid wherever your skin glue fails.
Our Final Review
Splitboard skins are primarily made to grip and glide on the snow surface.
In addition to the main functions of a splitboard skin, other additional attributes include the skins weight, glue strength, and the attachment method.
The market is saturated with splitboard skins from many manufacturers, but the review above will give you a better idea on where to start.
The factors above are set to help you identify an appropriate skin for your board and other snowy adventures.