(Post sponsored by our publishing partner Cripple Creek Backcountry.)
My somewhat annual report on happenings at Contour (Koch Alpin): We liked the original Hybrid glue that Contour began testing in fall of 2014 (they distributed 100 pairs that first season). There were a few glitches along the way, but nothing heinous (and everything is backed up by warranty).
Going forward, for 2018-2019 the Hybrid glue boasts ever stronger bonding to the skin fabric, with more tack to your ski base. It is still washable, and cleanable with wax remover (cleaning can bring the skin back to 100% factory tack). In my view, what’s coolest is they’ll be selling the Contour skins with NO re-usable storage backing. They’re confident in their chemistry. You will never chase those wind flapping flags again — store glue-to-glue and be done with it. (Boxed retail skins will be sold with a non-reusable warehouse liner, tricked out to make cutting skins easier, see below.)
A few more items: Contour will change their standard tip loop to a riveted version. To swap tip loops, you’ll need to drill out the rivets, then re-do with supplied replacements. They’re doing this because the formerly supplied Varioclip was fiddly as a standard tip fix system, thus sometimes installed incorrectly by users. We like the Varioclip. It’ll remain available. Likewise, Contour’s excellent accessories such as the Shark tail-hook. Incidentally, we were told the new black bonding material was in once case tested with 120,000 vertical meters of real-life ski touring use!
It should be mentioned that Contour’s excellent split skins will remain available. We’ve found these to be a life saver for ski testing. Options in this are the “Hybrid Free” for skis at minimum waist 95 millimeters, and the “Hybrid Fat Free” for minimum 108 mm.
In a previous post I called Hybrid “The Tesla of ski climbing skins.” Contour owner Werner Koch and I joked that perhaps that’s not such a great analogy these days, given the twists and turns of Tesla. So I’ll amend, how about the “Daimler?” Nah, German company, Contour is Austrian. “Ferrari?” Dead simile. Readers, can you rescue me? Huquavarna of ski climbing skins? Dreamliner?
We’ve done an enormous amount of Contour ski touring climbing skins coverage, try a site search.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.