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 Post subject: Choosing the Right Climbing Skins
PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 10:11 pm 
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Location: Zuma
Where skins can take you,
Hello there, I have done some research on climbing skins and have compiled what I found. The idea came out of a tipping point I had that I needed to start shopping ethically as well as thinking ethically. We all love the natural environment that we play in and want to keep it that way. By doing a bit of homework on the brands that you buy and selecting companies that have higher standards, you can show them and the world that you care if a 10 year old Vietnamese is paid a low wage made your shiny new toy. Or that the factory that produced it dumps tons of wastewater into the local water table. I was kind of surprised that there were not more companies that were addressing their sustainability; it can be a great marketing tool. So I found that there is still not much on the market specifically for splitboards but as any spliter who has been in the game for a while knows that sometimes you have to rig it to get it to work. With the different tail and nose attachments out there, you could if sufficiently handy retrofit pretty much any skin on the market. As for Split specific skins I found that G3 out of Vancouver made a slick looking pair but I could not find a shred of evidence on the G3 website of where they were made ( I think in Vancouver) and what if anything G3 was doing to address there environmental impact. Volie, the godfather of splitboards similarly has little information on there production. They are however according to their website MADE IN USA in the Salt Lake area so you don’t have to think about all the additional globe trotting miles your new skins had to be shipped. But they don’t have any mention of addressing environmental impacts. That said, according to their website you can still sleep at night knowing that Volie has been a big supporter of avalanche centers both in Utah and abroad. That is pretty much it for splitboard specific skins but as I said if you’re feeling crafty you can look at a wider range of companies. I would steer clear of K2 and Dynafit (even though Dynafit has their super popular binding system) until they provide some transparency in their manufacturing process at least in the form of their respective websites. Although Dynafit, according to their website does supports snow leopard research which is pretty cool. A Swiss company Colltex shows their manufacturing process, on their official website but no information on where there material comes from. They do sell 30 meter rolls of any of their four types of skins so you and bunch of friends could be rolling in the stuff that is if you can find out where they sell it. Then there is Climbing Skins Direct, a small company who has a PO box in Wilson Wyoming and is headed up by a former Life Link development guru and claims according to their website for environmental reasons that they don’t treat their skins with a waterproofing agent and has links on their website to articles on the nasty’s of perfluorocarbon (PFC). Instead they urge the use of wax as a more environmentally friendly way to keep them from soaking up water. But what is in the wax you would be using more regularly? If it is not straight bees wax then I bet there is some petroleum mixed up in it. I think that they could do more by opening up the manufacturing process and showing what a company could do to reduce there overall impact. The two companies that I found that have seen the train coming and have gotten out in front of the movement is La Sportiva and Black Diamond. Both have loads of information on their websites about what they do and how they do it. They have held themselves to higher standards and some of the things they have done are remarkable. According to Black Diamond’s website they are another Salt Lake city company and have addressed all aspects of their business from transportation, gear, packaging, recycling, to energy use in stores, manufacturing, and warehouses. They sport solar panels on the roof and plenty of bike parking to encourage commuters. Maybe even more importantly they are ISO 9001 certified. This basically means that their overseas manufacturing would not be an embarrassment if it were to be seen first hand today. Much the same can be said for La Sportivia an Italian company that has similar transparency in there production and a host of ISO certification for their factories once again according to their official website. You can rest easy at night when you deal with these last two companies because you’re buying piece of mind. The rest of these companies may be doing similar things but me as a consumer would never know. When a company sets goals for being sustainability and opens up their manufacturing process it holds them and their industry to higher standards so it is harder for companies to exploit labor and pollute the environment. So I encourage anyone to think about the company you are buying from and not just the shiny new toy. And I think a company’s sustainability should be looked at first rather than which of the skins have better glide or steeper climbing capability. By buying ethically you send a message to the whole world, and as users of climate dependent wild spaces we should together have a strong voice.


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 Post subject: Re: Choosing the Right Climbing Skins
PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 11:38 pm 
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Wow. That's totally to long for me to read!

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 Post subject: Re: Choosing the Right Climbing Skins
PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 11:53 pm 
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Location: Stockton, CA
Don't limit your research to just skins with respect to environmental impact. Just a guess but I would think boards and boots would have the most environmental impact from the composites. Also, packaging can be so misleading. The box could be made in Usa for example and the contents from china; this type of issue is frequent with automotive parts.


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 Post subject: Re: Choosing the Right Climbing Skins
PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:41 am 
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Location: UT
FYI: Voile skins are Black Diamond skins

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 Post subject: Re: Choosing the Right Climbing Skins
PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 11:10 am 
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i'll go a step further than that. a huge percentage of outdoor gear is really only made by 5-6 mfg's. different company logos are slapped on the shit and off they go. Nothing about splitboarding, besides the overall attitude and respect towards the mountains, is environmentally friendly. while I appreciate the idea of the original post it's kind of a losing battle at least with skins. I'm about 99.9% sure it's all made overseas.

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 Post subject: Re: Choosing the Right Climbing Skins
PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 11:21 am 
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There are these things called "paragraphs." You should check them out.


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 Post subject: Re: Choosing the Right Climbing Skins
PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 11:34 am 
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Location: CGY, Canada
I'm pretty sure G3's are made in Taiwan.

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 Post subject: Re: Choosing the Right Climbing Skins
PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:59 pm 
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mrash wrote:
I'm pretty sure G3's are made in Taiwan.



The packaging my skins came in suggest otherwise.
Image

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 Post subject: Re: Choosing the Right Climbing Skins
PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:29 pm 
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Location: Stockton, CA
stuka, your link doesn't work. My red bag for my g3 skins says made in china, but that could mean only the tag or only the bag. It gets confusing as you boil down the minutia.


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 Post subject: Re: Choosing the Right Climbing Skins
PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:53 pm 
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Thanks for the heads up on the link. Should be working now.

The tag on my bag says china but I'm guessing it's for the bag. It's also been mentioned that the box may be made in Canada and not the skins. I really hope that g3 wouldn't stoop to that as such a strategy could backfire on their reputation.

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 Post subject: Re: Choosing the Right Climbing Skins
PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:30 am 
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e
stuka wrote:
Thanks for the heads up on the link. Should be working now.

The tag on my bag says china but I'm guessing it's for the bag. It's also been mentioned that the box may be made in Canada and not the skins. I really hope that g3 wouldn't stoop to that as such a strategy could backfire on their reputation.


i'm sure the skin material and glue is made in asia somewhere. The tip and tail clips are probably assembled and put on the skins in Canada thus "Made in Canada"

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 Post subject: Re: Choosing the Right Climbing Skins
PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:17 pm 
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Interesting topic, heres the word from G3:

Quote:
I can confirm that all G3 skins (Splitboard, Alpinist, Expedition) are designed and manufactured right here in North Vancouver, BC, Canada. The assembly line begins about 40 feet from where I am sitting. The actual materials such as the plush fabric, glue and tip/tail connectors comes from a variety of suppliers across the globe, including North America. Likewise with the machinery and tooling that the skins are made from.

The skin bags are made in China.

-Stephen



Stephen France

G3 GENUINE GUIDE GEAR INC.
http://www.genuineguidegear.com


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 Post subject: Re: Choosing the Right Climbing Skins
PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 9:24 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 9:11 pm
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Location: Zuma
Thanks for all the comments. All the information I got was directly from their websites. So if companies are making their skins in North America they should promote that on their sites. The whole idea is get people and companies to question where and how their products were made and encourage transparency in their production process.

And yes you could look at any corner of the outdoor world and point out the same types of things. We have a long way to go but if the consumers don't start questioning and demanding transparency from suppliers then we are part of the problem


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