Skip to content
Celebrating 50 YEARS of Business - Thank you to our loyal customers!
Celebrating 50 YEARS of Business - Thank you to our loyal customers!
Get the most out of your skin skis

Get the most out of your skin skis

Nordic skin skis have really taken off in the last few years.  Convenient and simple to use, they have become a go-to ski for many people and may even be the only pair of cross country skis you own.  If you're new to the concept of skin skis, check out this post.

Atomic skin skis

The advantages of skin skis are what make them so popular.  Used by all levels of skiers from beginners to World Cup racers, they give you the convenience of a waxless ski but performance closer to a waxable ski.  In most conditions the grip is solid and the glide is excellent as long as the ski has been fitted properly. 

This post is meant to help you get the best performance out of your skin skis and troubleshoot any potential issues.


The beautiful thing about skin skis is you hardly need to do anything to maintain them.  Like all ptex-based skis you will need to hot wax the glide zones every 100km or so.  The skin itself doesn't need anything to be functional, however there are a couple of products you can use (described below) to enhance their performance.  

Dirty skins

This is mostly an issue in warm conditions when there may be residual soft wax and klister in the track.  You'll notice if your skins pick this up because you'll be getting inconsistent grip and you may be able to see some goop in the skin.  The only way to remove this is to clean the skin; however it is important to only use products created specifically for skins as other solvents may erode the adhesives holding the skin to the ski.  We find Swix Skin Cleaner works well, but any reputable ski wax brand will have a decent skin cleaner.

Swix Skin Cleaner

Icing up

If you are having trouble with grip and you know your skis are sized properly for you, your skins are probably icing up.  This also happens with waxable skis and mostly occurs when you have fresh snow around the freezing point.  Snow crystals stick in your wax or skin and don't let go.  This causes more crystals to adhere.  The result is either clumping or a thin film of ice (that you may or may not see) caused by melting and freezing due to friction.

If you are skiing in these types of conditions it's really important to apply an anti-icing agent to your skins before you go out.  We sell Swix Skin Care and Vauhti Skin Ski Care for this purpose; Swix F4 also works.  Simply spray the skins and rub in gently to coat the hairs; you can also get a thinner layer by applying the liquid or paste to a lint-free cloth and rubbing it on your skins in a gentle side-to-side motion (not up and down).  Let the product dry for a short while before you ski on it.

If you notice you have lost glide as well, your glide sections may also be icing.  Applying Skin Care and liquid glide products to the ski tips and tails will help prevent this. 

Vauhti Skin Care kit

Wear and tear

After hundreds of kilometers of prudent use you may start to see some wear on your skins.  This is normal and usually starts at the ends of the skins.  You will still have lots of life left in them so don't worry about it.  Staying off ice and debris will extend the life of your skins greatly.  In the photo below Kevin shows how his skins look after more than 400km.

Kevin Robinson skin skis

You will know when it is time to change your skins when you are no longer able to get grip, and you'll see a lot of the hair missing.

Binding placement

Skin skis are sensitive to snow conditions and if you have movable bindings you can fine-tune your grip and glide.  For a little more grip, move your bindings forward.  For more glide, move them back.  

If you don't have adjustable bindings you can play with your kick by weighting the ski slightly forward or back (advanced skiers).  Your bindings will have been mounted on the balance point and should be in optimal position; your only other option would be to re-mount the bindings forward or back of this point, but we don't normally recommend this.

Salomon skin skis


As long as you have gotten skis appropriate for your skill level your technique shouldn't keep you from being able to enjoy skin skis.  Racing skins may have shorter hairs and the ski will have a camber suited to a skier with more complete and aggressive weight transfer.  Recreational skin skis are designed with a more forgiving camber that will enable someone less elite to compress it for grip, yet maximize glide potential.  

Good technique always helps of course, but unless you are a beginner on racing skis it shouldn't be too limiting a factor in making the skis work for you.


If you have any issues or questions that haven't been answered here, please contact us!  Most of us have owned skin skis for years and we are happy to help out.

Previous article Which SUP is right for you: hard board or inflatable?


ebsadventure - January 25, 2019

Hi Pierre,
These skis should fit you. The skins (yellow) on these are the grippiest that Fischer makes, so the only way to increase your grip is to move the binding forward. That being said, there are a few things to consider. Many people are used to a waxless or a wood ski with tremendous grip, or are used to skiing on waxable skis where you can apply as sticky a wax as you like and make your wax pocket long (resulting in velcro-like grip). Switching to skin skis is a big change as you cannot alter the size or “stickiness” of your grip pocket, so it requires better weight transfer from ski to ski as you stride. Try weighting your ski more on the kick – think of sinking your soccer cleats into the ground – and it will result in better grip. Also make sure your skins are dry – the hairs of wet skins stick together and this results in less grip. Hope this helps!

ebsadventure - January 25, 2019

Hi Gail, there are many factors that would influence where your “sweet spot” is, including technique, snow conditions and where the ski’s grip pocket is (forward or back). If it feels best second spot from the back there’s no problem with that. Even having one extra spot to slide your binding back for better glide is better than an immovable binding. There won’t be a sweet spot that works for all conditions. For example when the snow is soft it grips the skin more (because your ski sinks in) so you need less grip. On very hard packed surfaces you may wish to slide the binding up for more grip. Hope this helps!

pierre - January 25, 2019

I’ve just bought my first pair of skin ski , FISCHER Twin Skin Sport EF IFP, 204 cm for my 190 lbs body . The white sticker on it say a rating of 154 to 194 lbs ( FA 47 ) . So I’m at the upper limit camber range for this skis . The ski was test with me on it at the retail store and seem ok . First try : Not impress with the grip ( glide is at least ok ) . Other than forwarding the binding ( nis plate ) I wonder if there a gripper mohair strip avalaible from Fischer ? Tks

Gail - January 25, 2019

I have skin skis with adjustable bindings. I am trying to understand the range of the adjustable binding. I feel like there is an ideal setting for most conditions and that once I find this ‘sweet spot’ my binding would be primarily left in this position. If I am getting a good grip and glide at the adjustment second to the back does that make sense? I am concerned that my glide being that far back on the ski means I could run our of good glide options in different conditions. It seems I am either getting really good grip or really good glide but find the ‘sweet spot’ difficult to find.

ebsadventure - December 6, 2018

Hi Lorraine, skin skis really need to be fitted properly since you can’t adjust the amount of grip you have. Did you stand on the skis before you bought them? or get them tested according to your weight on an electronic camber tester? If not, then they were not properly tested. There are often weight ranges published for ski models which are usually accurate, but the only way to truly be sure is to use a camber tester.

Lorraine - December 6, 2018

I just went out on my new solamon 7. First time with skins. Glide was great but sliding backwards on slight hils is no fun. How do I know they were properly fitted. I only have on ski shop in this town and I trusted they new what they were doing. Now I’m not so sure. Thanks

Leave a comment

Comments must be approved before appearing

* Required fields

Compare products

{"one"=>"Select 2 or 3 items to compare", "other"=>"{{ count }} of 3 items selected"}

Select first item to compare

Select second item to compare

Select third item to compare