Not all climbing skins are created equal. To be frank the European brands, many of which are virtually unheard of in North America are crushing the stateside competition. One of the companies leading the way is Colltex which has 70 years experience in manufacturing “Swiss Made” quality products for the outdoor world. Luckily thanks to globalization, (the good kind) you now have access to these incredible skins online.
Before I talk about the skins and why they work let me lead with a story from a tour I had a few weeks back. It was one of those days were the snow kept getting deeper with each lap. I got my fill and started touring back out toward the road. As I crested I said a brief hello to a gentleman that was ripping his skins off, gave a couple pole plants and pushed off down the road. All of a sudden the guy starts yelling in my direction, so I turned around and he said “what kind of skins are those”? My reply, “Colltex!!!! its a Swiss brand”. Later on I realized that numerous people had been struggling with their skins throughout the day. Which is a common occurrence here in the Tetons. And probably the case in backcountry zones across the globe.
So what’s the secret? I’ve been using Colltex Extreme Mohair Skins over the past season for all my splitboard test here in the Tetons. Even with numerous pairs of skins sitting here at the office, I pic Colltex day in and day out. At the end of the day its simple, I TRUST in their brand. As long as I’m not testing another pair of splitboard skins odds I will be rocking Colltex, here are some of the reasons why.
Without geeking out to much on the science of skins material, lets just say this Mohair offers the best glide and great climbing ability. These are the two most important thing I look for in a skin. Think about that for a second, there are other skins that are even sticker going uphill but offer little glide in the flats. And then there are the skins that are uber fast but are sketchy on the way up. Things like durability, and brand name don’t really seem to matter. And when I say durability you really should be getting a new pair of skins every season or every other season at most. Especially if you like to skate with your skins on ( I am splitboarder, not a skier )
With Mohair the only downfall comes in warmer temps, so if you’re living in the Pacific Northwest during an El Nino winter these might not be the skins for you. Be sure to checkout our review of the Colltex Mix Skin (65% mohair and 35% polyamide ) we wrote last year. For everyone else especially those of us that recreate in places with cold dry snow, these are the best skins I have tried to date. Colltex Extreme skins are easy to cut, and work great with the Spark tail clips. I have noticed the skins are starting to collect dirt and small partials so if anyone has tips on how to clean these I’m all ears.
Last but not least along with making the best skins on the market (or so I humbly believe) Colltex offers a free ski tour checklist on their website [HERE] and it even looks like they have guided tours throughout Switzerland. This is not a brand trying to cash in on our lifestyle, they live breathe and probably eat snow too. Do yourself a favor and order a pair of these skins and without fail you will always be the first one out to the untracked lines.