Pomoca Climb Pro S-Glide Skins
Glide, young man, glide One step, two, each charting closer to near-certain nirvana. For skiers, the skin track is a sacred ritual, perhaps the closest we come to meaningful meditation. When things are good, the rhythm carries us, offsetting the thigh burn as we attain unimaginable objectives. Did we really just do that? Yes, we sure did.
But when things are bad, that fall from grace is awkward and swift. It starts with a stutter, then a slip. Soon, your skins, once surely stuck to snow, are a game of uphill roulette. Will my footing hold, or am I about to slide backwards—again? Steps become deliberate, the progress slows and kick turns require near-laser precision until…wham! There aren’t enough curse words in the English language to overcome a skin failure, but we try anyway, yelling into open air and maybe even shedding a tear or two. One step forward, one long glide back. How did something so right, go so horribly wrong?
It’s with that utter pessimism that I approach every new pair of climbing skins. Sure, we might be friends right out of the box, but the lingering feeling of an ultimate letdown is hard to shake. When I got my hands on a pair of the Pomoca Climb Pro S-Glide skins this winter, I was already fearing the worst.
But it didn’t take long for the Climb Pro S-Glides to start eroding that cynicism. Just picking the skins up for the first time, it was obvious I was dealing with something different. Weighing almost five ounces less than the average climbing skin equivalent, the Climb Pro S-Glide felt airy in comparison, easy enough to throw in my pack or stash in my jacket pocket without adding too much extra bulk. Thanks to Pomoca’s included idiot proof skin cutter (that idiot, of course, being yours truly), I was also able to trim the Climb S-Pros effortlessly and accurately, leaving just enough edge for my skis to bite on the sidehill, but glide smooth across the skin track. For a moment, it felt like there was a glimmer of hope in my uphill future.
The real test wouldn’t occur until a few days later though. After a trans-Atlantic flight, my ski partner and I landed in the French Pyrenees to a massive melt/freeze cycle and the kind of variable conditions that would push our gear and expose its uncomfortable shortcomings sure to haunt us for the next week. I gingerly readied my setup in the parking lot. Preparing for a Herculean effort, I was surprised to pull my skins apart seamlessly, stretching them onto my skis without breaking the near-customary pre-ski sweat. The Climb Pro S-Glide’s easily adjustable toe and tail clips form a system called Ready2climb, advertised to make their skins customizable to a variety of ski lengths and shapes. Sure enough, with a bit of tail clip maneuvering, my Climb Pro S-Glides harmonized with my touring setup like an old friend—another point for the new guys.
Constructed with a 70 percent to 30 percent mohair to nylon plush base, the Climb Pro S-Glide is woven to provide equal parts glide and grip. Starting our morning out on a frozen, shady uptrack, the latter was in higher demand, and while I waited for the inevitable slip, the backwards jolt never came. That didn’t change as the angle increased, each step feeling just as secure as the last.
When we finally crested the ridge into a sun-filled basin, the snow quickly transitioned to wet, slushy, shmoo. But while my partners skis started to sink and slow in the goopy mank, I kept my stride in step. Pomoca’s Glide technology, a treatment applied to the entire length of the fibers in the Climb Pro S-Glide, lets the skin glide while repelling moisture and preventing the skins from getting bogged down by warm conditions. For me, that translated to a relatively easy ascent through afternoon heat. Throughout it all, the skin glue that had been so easy to separate back in the parking lot kept the skins and skis as one, preventing any unwanted snow build-up and keeping the possibilities of a dreaded skin failure out of sight and out of mind.
As I transitioned toward a spring-like descent into the valley, I shook my head in disbelief. I hadn’t even gotten close to my swear-word quota, and the uphill journey had been, frankly, problem free. I folded up my skins and stashed them in my jacket pocket. Sure, our journey together had just begun, but I had faith we might be onto something good.