DIY Rattails

I recently bought a pair of alpine touring skis with skins.  I intend to use these to ski into some ice climbs in the Adirondacks.  In order to keep the skins on the back of the skis you can create a rat tail in order to keep your skins attached should the glue fail.   You’ll need: skins, webbing, elastic cord, pan head screws, and a drill.

  1.  Mark a point about a third of the distance from the rear end of the binding to the tail end of the ski in the center of the ski.


  2. After marking this point, determine the depth from the top of the ski to the base.  We’re going to be drilling a hole into the ski, so it is imperative to know how far you can safely drill.  I marked my drill bit at about two thirds of the depth of the ski by wrapping duct tape around the bit.  Go ahead and drill a pilot hole ahead of the screw into the ski.0122162019a
  3.  Insert the screw into hole to test the fit.  Assuming it fits nicely, use gorilla glue, or any other urethane glue to set the screw into place.
  4. Next we need to cut our skins to the proper length.  I developed a pattern that tapered the skin 9 inches from the full length to 11/16″ as it mates with the webbing. 0122162046a
  5. The skin was cut to length and the webbing was attached to the skin, and doubled back to form a loop using gorilla glue.  Make sure the length of webbing you use allows you to reach about 2 inches short of the pan head screw when folded over.0124161859a
  6. Almost done!  Elastic material was tied into the loop.

Here’s what the final setup should look like:


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