If you’re like me, skinning up mountains is nothing more than a necessary annoyance when accessing back- or sidecountry powder stashes. But last winter, I started using a climbing skin that made going up almost pleasurable.
While standard skins mimic seal fur—smooth when you slide forward, grippy when you pull your ski against the snow—the Fischer Profoil takes the fishscale design that has been used on no-wax cross-country skis for decades and adapts it to alpine skins. The scaly surface offers far smoother glide and comparable bite on all kinds of snow, from icy hardpack to powder. Unlike faux-fur skins, the waterproof plastic won’t absorb moisture and get heavier as you go.
With the Profoils, I climbed faster and was less fatigued at the top. Which meant that I had more energy for fresh turns—and more time and mojo at the bottom for another lap.