I have been testing the High Trail Evotec Climbing Skins in Colorado and New Hampshire, and have had the opportunity to hike up and ski down in a variety of spring conditions: powder, ice, corn and even some groomed corduroy. I have skied big laps on Mt Cardigan, traverses, and short multiple laps at the Dartmouth Skiway. Here is how Evotec skins worked for me.
Strong adhesion to my skis
These silicone adhesive skins consistently stick to my skis in all temperatures. If you have ever used traditional glue climbing skins, you have probably noticed days when skins really stick and days when you unclip your tail, give a tug and the whole skin easily rips off. My Evotec Skins didn’t do that. They always maintained a strong suction to my skis; strong enough that it was fairly difficult to do the “rip skins” while leaving my skis on – a convenient move that avoids removing skis after the ascent. I found it more difficult to pull the skins off in one tug, and I needed to give a constant pull. Not impossible, and I still leave my skis on when I rip these skins.
Ease of use
These skins are ridiculously easy to pull apart. They stick to my skis better and stick to each other less. What more can I ask for? The directions say to store them attached to a plastic skin sheet that comes with the packaging, but I stuck them to themselves during the ski day, and I couldn’t help but smile a little bit when my friends were struggling to pull their skins apart, and then struggling to keep them off of their gloves.
The silicone adhesive coating isn’t gooey and didn’t transfer onto my gloves and clothes like traditional skin glue does. It feels rubbery and tacky.
Tip and Tail -clips
The tip-clip is oversized on this year’s skins. The plastic and metal construction is a little chunky, but the overall shape allows the tip to stay put on any size/shape tip. Next season, the front attachment will be sleeker according to Mike Selby of Powder Tribe, the US distributor of High Trail. The tailclip is plastic. It seems a bit flimsy, but hasn’t slipped or come off while skinning. Friends of mine with the Black Diamond tailclip have had to change theirs out a few times. I haven’t had the chance to do a whole lot of testing in extreme cold, and I think that will answer a lot of questions that I have about the durability of the clip. Even without the clip the skins adhere so well, I can’t see them rolling back.
Grip and Glide Performance
The grip and glide is comparable to other mohair skins. While skinning with other skiers using BD and G3 skins, there wasn’t a track that they could climb that I couldn’t, and my glide was just as good.
Debris can be removed from the adhesive by picking it off, or by running water over the surface. A youtube by the manufacturer demonstrates wiping the skins gently with a sponge and water. It is pretty easy to scrape off a bit of the silicone adhesive if you use an abrasive scraping motion to pull off dirt. This can damage the skins, so I would be careful if you need to clean your skins. Or, just don’t get them dirty! One concern I have about the Evotec Skins is that I don’t know how to re-glue them like traditional glue skins, since the silicone glue is not readily available. However, Mike has informed me that High Trail is warranting the adhesive qualities of the skins for their reasonable life.
The High Trail Evotech Skins are a perfect alternative for those of us who hate getting skin glue on everything and don’t want the biggest workout of the day to be pulling our skins apart. Climbing and gliding performance was comparable to other skin brands such as Black Diamond and G3. Personally, I will continue using my Evotec Skins for their sticky adhesion without the residual goop on my gloves.