Black Diamond Ascension Nylon STS Climbing Skins Review

August 29, 2014
Black Diamond Ascension Nylon STS Climbing Skins
Black Diamond Ascension Nylon STS Climbing Skins Black-Diamond-Skins-6 Black-Diamond-Skins
Grip to Glide Ratio
Glue Quality
Ease of Use

The Good

  • Fits most ski widths and lengths since you customize them yourself
  • Durable nylon plush stands up to multiple years of use
  • Grips in all types of snow conditions
  • The tail clip is designed to integrate with Black Diamond Skis

The Bad

  • You have to cut and essentially build the skins to suit your specific skis (not for everyone)
  • The adjustable tip and tail attachments wear out over time
  • You may pull a muscle trying to separate the glue, it’s that strong

Like all things Black Diamond, the Ascension Nylon STS Climbing Skin is a great product at a fair price. The ability to custom trim the skins to fit virtually any width and length ski is a huge plus, though it may also be the downfall for those not handy with simple tools. The Ascension’s nylon plush fabric proved durable and should outlast the tip and tail attachment hardware—luckily those can be purchased separately when replacement is necessary. Being a synthetic skin, the Black Diamond Ascension Nylon STS Climbing Skins will not provide as much glide as a mohair climbing skin but the grip is far more of a concern for most and this is where the Ascension Skins shine.


The Black Diamond Ascension Nylon STS Climbing Skin is a nylon plush synthetic skin which fits most skis thanks to it’s adjustable tip loop and easy-tension STS tailpiece, which provides up to10cm of adjustment via the elastomer strap.

Good climbing skins are the difference between an epic day in the backcountry and a potentially life threatening situation. If they work as intended all is good. If the glue fails, the hardware breaks or the tail clips continually fall off then you are in for a world of hurt. Luckily Black Diamond knows a thing or two about designing climbing skins and the Ascension Nylon STS never disappoint.

Glide / Grip
Two important qualities in any skin are their glide and grip characteristics. Most people place far too much emphasis on grip however. If your skins are failing to grip it’s likely due to the fact that you are climbing too aggressively and this should be your cue to ease off. The BD Ascension Nylon STS Skins provide a solid climbing experience compared to other skins on the market and the glide is more than adequate given their Nylon plush.

You can’t go wrong with a Nylon climbing skin, they just last. Sure, they may not have that fluid glide of a mohair climbing skin but they’ll save you as much as a C note in the process. The only place the Ascension Skins falter (if you can call it that) is in the life expectancy of the tip and tail hardware that keeps the skins attached to your skis. If you are a resort skier who only occasionally ski tours you can expect a lifetime out of these attachments. If you put 35+ days on the skin track however, you will likely see the tail clip’s elastomer strap start to fail after a few seasons and the tip loop get pretty beaten up. If this happens, a $20 STS Kit will have you back in action in no time.

Over the past four years my Black Diamond Ascension Skins have put in at least 125 days of climbing with some of those being long epic slogs. In this time they have never failed me once – the glue stuck, while the plush gripped on the up and glided on the down. Aside from almost blowing out my shoulder joint each time I try to separate them in colder conditions they were as easy to use as other traditional glued skins.


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