Finally an overnight freeze and I could try the Atomic Skintecs out for camber tension in double poling conditions, and see how much grip there was in icey tracks.
This week has thrown all that would be unusual for Atomic or any other ski-house, at me. First new, wet snow and rising temperatures then a freeze back. Really conditions the skin was not designed for perhaps, but also conditions which are almost impossible to wax correctly on the 'right' skis. In the soft, the snow was too wet for hard wax yet too soft and granular for clisters. In the hard, it was wet enough in places for a 'red' or 'silver' clister while the harder areas needed blue ice clister. For me a good universal clister job today would have lasted only about 15km, and I racked up about 25km without thinking about more than water breaks.
So we have to seperate out a few things here
1. The Mohair skin
2. The camber tension
4. Technique and weight of skier.
1. The skin ..... And 2,3,4 also....
Any skin's grip varies with the length & width of it, the snow base its on and any treatments such as glider or anti-icing.
Mohair skins in full legnth will climb anything, but being about 30 - 40 cm under the camber sole on all these new class of skis means that there is quite a finite amount of grip relative to 2,3 and 4 !
In other words to get to the performance of the skin alone, you have to subtract the other factors, including your own skill or style , which means you either need a comparable pair of non skinned or you compare to your 'best ever skis and wax job'.
So my personal opinion and summary on using Atomic Skintec is-
1) the skin's limits are new snow over 1 cm in the tracks; very soft, wet snow; glazed, icey tracks. Here you get bad traction.
2) the skin seems to waterlog in warm conditions, and ball up just a little bit in 'zero' conditions. Sprays or glide Treatments may help. It both looses traction and glide imho when it gets waterloged
3) camber tension - to race or be really satisfied throughout the season, nyou probably want a softer pair and a pair which are quite hard. Atomic SDS gives an edge here.
In the hard conditions i felt the camber was great for double poling, but i had to press pretty hard on anything icey in diagonal to get ashesion. Downhill i could rock back weight onto my heels to get more speed and lose the little skin-noise there was. Hey, i do this with a clister job or in slower conditions on wax skis.
One odd thing which dawned on me after a few days, like a kind of double take, was how far forward on the ski the skin sits- from a mid ( clister ) forward mark back to only around the ball of the foot I dare say you could clister back to the heel on the bare ski and get some much needed traction on polished - icey uphills !
So my conclusion - it sucks living near the coast if you want to enjoy an easy life of xc skiing ! The correct length and camber skin ski will give any skier less to worry about in well prepared tracks which are firm but not icey. They bust universal clister, but are not as grippy as red or silver clisters and on pure ice, blue clister.