I needed to replace my cross country skis, and decided to try the new technology with the mohair grip zone (skintec). Atomic skintec skis have really come down in price in the last couple of years, and there are now budget skintec models availabe, both under the Atomic and Salomon brands. I decided to get the Atomic Pro Skintec, but my local store did not have them in stock, and I ordered them online.
I felt pretty safe ordering these skis online because my weight (82kg) falls right in the middle of the weight range for the 202cm length (70-95 kg).When they arrived, I took them for a test. The temperature was -6ºC with fresh snow – awesome conditions. However, I was not impressed with how the skis were handling. I was getting a lot of grip, and not a lot of glide, and the realization that the skis were too short for me started to settle in.
I later took the skis to the store and verified on the camber measuring board that I got the wrong size – there was almost no crown when I was standing on the two skis. Bummer. But I liked the feel of the mohair grip zone – it is so quiet compared to the fish scale design of waxless bases, my enthusiasm to try mohair base remained undiminished.
The main message in this article is – don’t trust the specification tables, make sure you measure the camber compression at a properly equipped ski store before you commit to buying the skis. On a happy note, customer service at MEC proved to be awesome, as they let me initiate an exchange for the next size up (209cm), even though I used the skis once. I am waiting for the replacement to arrive. I’ll post an update once I take the longer skis to the snow.
For the record, this is the published weight to length table for Atomic Pro Skintec:
- 55-65 kg (181 cm)
- 55-70 kg (188 cm)
- 60-75 kg (195 cm)
- 70-95 kg (202 cm)
- 75-100 kg (209 cm)
As you see, my weight (probably around 85 kg with skiing clothes on) fits in two last ranges. Here is hoping that the 209 cm skis are not going to be too stiff for me. I also hope that my ski bag can accommodate 209 cm skis. Seeing how the 202 cm skis fit in it, I think that it just might.
Update: I tried the 209cm skis
They handled a lot better than the 202cm, and I was getting quite a bit of glide and enough kick on the 209cm pair. However, I still did not like them. On perfect snow, using the Skintec skis was a real pleasure – they slide very well and grip awesomely during the kick. But one thing was extremely upsetting: whenever there was some imperfection on the track, like a lump of snow or a bump, high enough to reach the top of the camber, the grip zone would engage right away and there would be a very unpleasant, jolt-like braking action. In other words, if the mohair region engaged with snow for whatever reason during a sliding phase, it would result in a very sudden slow down. Since this kind of thing happens regularly, I found this issue to be annoying enough to be a deal breaker. I am giving up on Skintec and going back to traditional skis with fish scale grip zone.
wow, excellent review. Can’t find advice like this at any store.
I think the weight range tables were wrong. I’ve seen the same table as you but this is what is currently on the Atomic website
a 15kg range seems more reasonable than a 25kg range.
Thanks for your review
Thanks, the table you posted makes more sense.
My review is almost two years old at this point, so some of the information is probably out of date by now.
First off, thanks for posting your critique. I was very surprised to see you would prefer fish-scale over the skin-skis. The last time I used fish-scale was back in the ’70’s and they were slow and noisy. I eventually upgraded to a wax-able ski. Then I had to learn how to wax. Now waxing is so complicated (according to the expert advice out there) I thought the skin-skis would be the panacea. Has the technology for fish-scale improved that much? I rented a pair of Fischer Twin Ski Pro’s last year and they seemed just fine for the conditions & my abilities. Another factor is the price of the Atomic compared to the Fischer or Salomon. It’s just too pricey for me. Once again, thanks for your critique.
I am sure that properly waxed skis are much better than fish-scale. I am a recreational skier and cannot be bothered with learning the art of waxing, nor finding time to wax. I hate the noisiness of the fish scale skis, and in that department the Skintecs were vastly superior. They were, pretty much, silent. I really wanted to like them. I was quite surprised with my experience. Granted, that was almost two years ago, so maybe there was an improvement one way or another.
Waxing is not difficult. You can make it complicated and if you are racing then you need to. Otherwise, wax to your comfort zone and enjoy. I use a variety of skis, including one pair of modern waxless for one condition. But generally waxing is the wya to go. If you are feeling lazy, wax accordingly.
I appreciate your comment. At this stage in my life, when I go skiing, I generally need to prepare three pairs of skis (for myself and the kids). The thought of having to wax up three pairs of skis with different waxes does not fill me with enthusiasm. 🙂
Also, I don’t quite understand the advantage of switching to waxable. I’m just a recreational skier, and I don’t care if I start skiing 10% faster after the switch. My waxless Fischer skis work wonderfully for me, and I get a good workout when using them. What else do I have to ask for from the skis?
Maybe when I’m older, and have fewer things on the plate, and I’d feel like experimenting with waxable. Until then, I just don’t see any good reason.
I have made a similiar discovery with fish scales….
But first want to say that I am now an advanced re recreational
skier, who wants to start dabbling in a senior race on occasion.
I know wax skis are super fast, but it gets too warm here often enough to make that practictical. I wanted to get new skis, because my original and still current ski is a Rossi Evo ~50 (of all things), but since I knew virtually nothing about XC, I thought the size for my weight looked ridiculously short, so took home a size for much heavier person. It worked, I realized much later, only because these skis have an longer scale kick zone than any other ski I have looked at. They climb like the dickens and fast are flat on the flat (it helps having a good motor at 69 now I guess) and drives my my friends with fancy skis crazy.
Now…need to know: I was wondering about a skin ski, narrower (~44-45), but am afraid to size up too much at my age
to eliminate skin drag (I may hit a point of diminshing return in the way of stability of those bumpy days.
What say you all?
Also….is the “twin skin” concept actually better with faster glide?
I wish we could try before buy!!!
Hi, Monica, some skiing resorts have “demo days” when they let you try different products from their store. May be a good chance to try before buying.
I did not hear about twin skin until I read your comment. No personal experience, but it looks a bit as just a marketing fad in order to differentiate from other brands on the market, but I could be wrong.