Our last post about choosing the right Nordic skis mentioned skin tech skis, so we thought we’d go into a bit more detail on what the new ones from Madshus are shaping up like.
Waxless skis have long been the choice for recreational skiers as they usually involve a crown, or fish scale for grip. The crown tends to slow the skier on the glide, so the alternative has either been zero skis, or waxables – both of which perform very well for a more technical skier. With the new IntelliGrip® base, Madshus believes they have created the almost perfect blend of waxless skis and high performance.
The skins of the skis which give the ski grip are made from a mix of Mohair (65 %) and Nylon (35 %) which doesn’t need waxing, and according to Vidar Igeltjoern, master skier and Madshus engineering specialist, they outperform waxable skis in nearly all conditions as there is no grip wax to wear off. He placed 152nd of 15,800 in the Vasaloppet, a performance even he found hard to believe on waxless skis and attributed his placing to the fact that other skiers wax became less effective as the race went on, whereas he was able to continue at the same pace.
Most importantly, for those of us who aren’t worried about placing in races and just want to get outside and ski – less time in the wax room means more time on the trails. A higher performing ski with minimal effort – surely that’s the nirvana of Nordic skis? As Madshus has coined it, ‘Simply Skiing’.
Furthermore, the skins are set down into the base, rather than attached onto the base, which reduces the weight of the ski significantly compared to its competitors. Having said that, the skin is easy to replace – the skin is hot glued on – but it is meant to last a few hundred hours so won’t need replacing often.
“We removed the base material in the kick zone, making the ski lighter, and the skin feels more like normal kick wax. That feeling is further enhanced by the progressive construction of the skin,” says Per Wiik, global marketing manager at Madshus.
Zeros skis have been great for elite racers, but unlike the Zeros, the new skin skis work in a much wider range of temperatures and conditions, from cold and dry to wet and warm. And you don’t have to do a thing to them. For Igeltjoern, this translates to a lot more ski workouts during the week.
He says that the skis really shine when conditions are icy, hard tracks at high humidity. However, when the mercury drops down into the blue and green wax range with cold, new and fluffy snow, Igeltjoern argues that traditional wax outperforms the skins. However, those are also the conditions that are the least tricky to wax for, again meaning less time in the wax hut.