Gear Review: Black Diamond Ascension Skins

Voile markets a Splitboard Tractor Skin, which is actually made by Black Diamond and branded under the Voile name. These are made specifically for splitboards, although a 140mm will work the same. The problem with the tractor skins is that there is no tail clip.

Black Diamond Ascension Skins STS
Black Diamond Ascension Skins STS

If you plan on skinning a slope more than say 30-50 degrees you are going to want the piece of mind having the rear tail clip. If it gives out on a steep traverse you are screwed (aka a ‘skin roll’), in which case you will find yourself sliding backwards. I would still stick to my word and use the BD STS Ascension Skins that have a tail clip. They are exactly the same as tractor skins, except that the STS includes a tail clip & leash. The above pic is the 2013 model of BD Ascension skins as Black Diamond replaced mine for a warranty issue (see below).

Adjustable tip loop
Adjustable tip loop

Adjustable front nose cable

In 2011 the adjustable nose cable came out allows you to install at any angle or size! Note – the nose cable is now standard on all the STS skins.

On that note: This is the most informative (and funny) video from Steve Romeo [RIP] at TetonAT on how to go about attaching skins (ski and splitboard skins are identical)… here

Shock cord to attach tail skin.

Problem 1: The tail clip issue has been huge in the splitboard community – most jury rig shock cord to the rear board clips to suffice a solution. Since the tail of a split is not flat like a ski (rather an arced point) it has made attaching the skin tail clip a challenge. Some people notch a square cut to their board – I would not advise this because you risk a probable delam point.

My custom milled tail attachment

Solution 1: I custom milled two square clips out of the high density composite I had left over from the Voile kit. The pieces are mounted with G-flex and a heat treatment. You could do the same thing with virtually any high density plastic. Update: 1/15/14 – I now use the G3 Twin Tip Connector.

Problem 2: A note on skin cheat sheets – the ones provided with BD skins are crap. If you get in to extreme temps or windchill they will disintegrate small pieces on to your skins when pulling them apart – which is bad. And yes, unless you plan on spring boarding only, you need the cheat sheets. The cheet sheet is basically a plastic screen that goes between the skins making them easier to pull apart in cold temps. Otherwise they can be impossible to get apart.

Solution 2: go to your local fabric store and buy a yard of plastic backing (stiffener screen), or, get a yard of gutter screen at your local hardware store for a buck. On a side note – if you get the 2013 model of skins Black Diamond has now corrected the problem as the new cheat sheets are essentially the same material I just described. Update: 12/6/12 – Black Diamond corrected the problem with the cheat sheets. The current cheat sheets from 2013 forward work great.

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