Storing Your Backcountry Skins

How to store and keep your backcountry skins ready to ski another season.

While the skiing season is far from over—at least in Colorado—it’s also a good time of year to begin thinking about how to store your backcountry skins properly.

Thus begins that exciting but awkward time of year when you feel pulled between a variety of outdoor sports: should I climb, mountain bike…or should I still ski?
The answer is YES.

Damaged backcountry skins

Taking care of your backcountry skins might not seem like a priority in the late spring or summer, but in a few short months, it certainly will be.

When the snow begins to fly again, it can be a real bummer when you unfurl your skins and realize they are toast—they won’t stick or the glue has rotted and leaves sticky residue on your skis, like honey. Kind of like the anti-wax. Been there done that (see the above example).

Backcountry skins wear out over time, but exactly how long should they last?

How long will skins last?

This can be a tough question to answer, but manufacturers, like Dynafit, say their skins, made by Pomoca, will last up to 150,000 vertical meters, which equals nearly 500,000 vertical feet. That’s a lot of vertical gain!

Let’s break this down a bit, because math is hard. If you ski 5,000 vertical feet every time you go out, you would get about 100 days out of your skins. Or, if you do more like 3,000, then you would get at least 150 days.

However, if you don’t store your skins correctly, you will certainly get less!

For me, I measure the longevity more so in years. Typically, mine last about five seasons.

Storing your backcountry skins correctly

That’s why proper storage is key.

Here’s my top tips on how to store them:

  1. Store your backcountry skins in a cool, dry place. In other words, don’t use your garage or storage shed. Once it is heats up, your garage will get blazing hot, and the fragile glue on your skins will quickly age. Definitely don’t leave them in the back of your truck, for similar reasons.
  2. Dry them out thoroughly before storing. This might be obvious, but you want to make sure they are plenty dry before tucking them away for a summer hibernation.
  3. Use a skin protector. It’s important to put the skins on skin protectors, or plastic sheets so they can get some air but also have contact with the edges of the skins. Here’s a video that explains more.
  4. Store them away from dirt, pet hair or other debris. The more debris that collects on the adhesive of the backcountry skin, the less sticky they will be.
  5. Consider storing them in the freezer. Not everyone has this option. In my house, we quickly run out of space. But when you put them in the freezer, the temperatures never fluctuate. It’s like your backcountry skins forever live in Narnia…they will last a long time because it’s forever winter. One can only dream of such things…

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