1/19/16

Volkl Vacuum skin review and long term testing results



I've been using the Volkl Vacuum skin on my Black Diamond Convert ski for the past few weeks and have some immediate thoughts. See long term update at the end

1. Putting typical skins on my skis is sort of like wrestling with a honey covered anaconda. The vacuum skins are domesticated and incredibly well behaved. Putting them on and taking them off is ridiculously easy.

2. Grip and glide are awesome. Used to use straight nylon skins - these things glide a little bit better and grip just as well.

3. Once on - they have never once some loose on the skin up - even in very cold snowy conditions. My last skins would often pick up snow pack under the center section.

4. The problem lies in going for multiple laps. Once the skins come off  - they have absolutely no "stickiness" that allows them to go back on a cold and snowy ski. Unless you had the forethought to keep the skins on an inside pocket on your jacket on the way down - and keep the base of your skis clean, you don't stand a chance in hell of getting them to stick on again.

5. For a dog hair, wood chip and dusty encrusted home like mine - normal skins get crazy dirty over the course of my 70+ ski days per season and eventually lose their stick. The vacuum skins are super easy to clean and will (i think) be every bit as useful at the end of the season as they are now.

Overall big fan - just need to figure out a better way to keep them dry and warm during the descents.



Update:
After a full 100+ day season on these things I've figured out a few things.

1. They are harder than standard skins to do multi laps with but with a little practice (and outside very cold or very wet conditions) multi laps work well. I did a 5 lap day in LCC Westbowl this winter with no worries each time. In certain cases you have to take off your gloves and with a glove liner on - rub hard on the skins to get them to adhere. Storing the skins in an inside jacket pocket helps.

2. Cleaning the skins at the end of a season was a dream. I filled a bathtub with a few inches of soaps water and washed both the fur side and the smooth side - and ended up with a pair of skins that looked liked new.

Overall for me the benefits outweigh the shortcomings but I'm still probably going to reglue an old pair of skins for next season's high angle multi lap uses...

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