Skiing: How to Trim Black Diamond Skins

Some climbing skins come pre-cut to fit your skis but most need to be trimmed to the correct length and sidecut width. We show you how to trim your Black Diamond skins with a Phillips-head screwdriver, pliers, a marker, a straight edge, and the trimming tool and hardware that come with your new skins. Shop REI’s selection of climbing skins at

Most of Black Diamond’s Climbing Skins don’t come precut, so you’ll need to trim them to the right length and sidecut width. You’ll need your skis, a Phillips head screwdriver, something to screw into, pliers, a marker, a straight edge, and the trimming tool and hardware that come with your new skins.
Start by laying out the skin and pushing the tail clip through the fourth or fifth hole on the strap. Clip the strap to the tail on your ski, strip off the paper backing, and attach the skin. Make sure it stays centered and taut as you stretch it over the ski. Fold the extra skin back and place the tip loop over the ski. If the loop slips side to side and doesn’t feel secure, you can adjust the width so it grabs more of the tail.
Now, mark the ski where the skin will meet the tip loop. Use these marks as a guide and draw a line across the skin where the tip will connect. Check your work and trim the skin along this line. Slide the tip loop onto the skin with the countersunk screw holes on the glue side and screw in the 3 break-off screws from the bottom up. Be careful not to screw into the skin or your fingers and make sure the notch on the screw is all the way out the other side. Now, you can use your pliers to break off the screw tips. Draw lines from the corners of the tip loop to the widest point of the tip of your ski and trim off these sections.
When trimming your skins, the goal is to make sure both metal edges are exposed while keeping the base fully covered. Reattach the skin to the ski starting with the tip loop. Keep the skin slightly off-center with about 2 millimeters more material on one side than the other. Use your trimming tool to cut the wider side first. Keep pressure against the side of the ski as you pull. Check your work and touch up any spots you missed. With the first side trimmed, reposition the skin so that the trim side exposes about 2 millimeters of base. You’ll want to see the edge and another edge’s worth of base. Now, you can trim off the excess from the other side of the skin.
When you’re done and you reattach the skin centered on the ski, you should see only the metal edges exposed with little or no base material showing. The more base you have covered, the better traction you’ll get, but don’t worry if you have a small amount of base showing. To recap, attach the tail clip and adjust the tip loop to size. Trim the skin to the right length. Attach the tip loop to the tip of the skin. Trim the sidecut and reattach the skin and check your work.


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