G3 Alpinist + Glide Skin Review

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Living in a cold-dry snowy place, I was immediately drawn to the description of G3’s Alpinist + Glide skin. G3 has dubbed the skin as an, “ideal all around skin for dry-cold snow”. I was on the hunt to review an all around skin that could be used in the backcountry on short dog tours, longer days with steeper terrain, and quick before work laps at the local resort. Here are my initial impressions on the Glide skin, one of the 4 offerings from G3’s Alpinist skin line up, which also includes the Universal, Grip, and Speed.

For starters, the G3 skins are incredibly easy to trim at home. G3 provides a trim tool and the entire process is done in a matter of minutes. Simply follow the instructional video at G3 University and you will be ready to hit the skin track in no time. 

Grip and Glide

Everyone has their personal sweet spot for skins, which is the balance between grip and glide. Often, you have to sacrifice one characteristic for the other. The decision to lead towards one features vs the other has to do with personal preference, ski ability, terrain, and typical weather patterns. As an intermediate backcountry skier, I tend to prefer selecting a skin with more grip and security on the uphill. This in turn sacrifices some speed or glide, but that is a trade off I am willing to make to some extent. Cardiovascular fitness and efficiency can overcome some of the decreased glide that I may experience.

With that said, the grip of the G3 Alpinist + Glide is incredible. The skin features a combination of 70% mohair to enhance glide and 30% nylon for added durability and stability on the ascent. I have yet to experience any issues with grip on the skin track or at the 29-30 degree angle on the final push at the resort. The skin also features a new waterproofing treatment; this translates into fewer issues with snow globbing or icing. Temperatures during testing have ranged from -10 to mid 40s and I have had no issues with snow build up requiring scrapping or waxing the skins. 

Rating or determining the amount of glide is a very subjective evaluation. With that said, the addition of mohair enhances the glide of the skin, over traditional nylon only skins. The glide of the G3 Alpinist + Glide skin is significantly better than the G3 Alpinist + Universal (previously tested) and Hi Traction (older model), but less so than other mohair-nylon mixes on the market. The amount of glide is very dependent on the conditions as well. Overtime, with continued use, I am eager to see if the glide improves.

The G3 Alpinist + Glide is very packable and light weight. Unlike the G3 Minimalist line which can be rolled, the Alpinist + Glide requires folding; either in 4ths from the start with tip/tail to the center or tip/tail on each other and then folded again. The tip and tail design helps to shave weight and these skins are highly packable within my jacket or pack.

Skin Glue

In my previous G3 Alpinist skins, circa de 2015-2016, I would constantly get glue residue on my skis. This added an extra step at the top of the transition or I’d suffer a slow and sometimes dangerous down hill. This started happening after about 20 days of use. Fortunately, G3 has updated their glue matrix and this issue is a thing of the past. G3’s glue matrix is also non-toxic, which is a bonus given how often I am handling them with and without gloves. 

The added Scala tip helps to prevent snow from creeping under the tip of the skis. This translates into better adherence of the skin glue to the ski and that the skin is ready for more transitions from up/down. I used the skins on a 5 transition day (short laps with the dogs) and had no issues with adherence of the skin to the skis. Pulling the skins apart requires the same tension that I have had to utilize with all the other skins I have used in the past. Due to some shoulder issues, I typically fold my skins from tip to half way and tail to half way, which is easier for me to pull apart. This is also a nice trick for when it is really windy. 

Scala tip (photo taken while trimming skins)

If the glue does fail, G3 has added a removable rib strip that runs about 2/3rds the length of the ski. If your glue gets contaminated/iced over, etc, you can remove this strip for added adhesion in the middle of your ski.

Tip and Tail

Slipping the skins over the tip of your ski is quick and easy thanks to the self-aligning stainless steel clips. These pivot and adjust to the contour of your ski and stay put. The tip connector features thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) that spans approximately 7.5″. This helps to promote glide when you are breaking trail and prevent snow from building underneath the skin. 

The tail connector features an elongated tail strap to ease transitions with your skis still on. The tail cam clip slips into a groove on G3 skis (if paired with their skis) for increased security. If you aren’t using G3 skis, not to worry, the ability to adjust the tail connector tension and clip will keep the skin secure. This is a must have feature if you are skinning with dogs that constantly step on your ski tail!

G3 has also eliminated some of the skin material at the tail to helps save weight, note the tapering of the skin and added distance between the skin and tail connector. This change has not sacrificed grip or performance. 

Skin Storage

The G3 Alpinist + Glide skins come with skin savers for storage/drying at home and a stuff sack. The new and improved skin savers prevent the glue from sticking to the skin saver. G3 recommends folding the skins in half with the saver in between. Hang dry in between uses and never near the stove at the hut, as this may overheat and ruin the glue. 

I like the stuff sack on longer trips to help keep my skins separated from the rest of my gear and to help keep them clean. I don’t use the sack for day to day use. G3, however, dose recommend summer storage in the provided sack. Also, remember to store in a cool-dry place, away from the sun, during off season months. 

Size specs

X Short 150 – 166 100, 115, 130, 145 244 g / 8.6 oz – 307 g / 10.8 oz
Short 161 – 177 100, 115, 130, 145 259 g / 9.2 oz – 329 g / 11.6 oz
Medium 172 – 188 100, 115, 130, 145 275 g / 9.7 oz – 351 g / 12.4 oz
Long 183 – 199 100, 115, 130, 145 290 g / 10.2 oz  – 374 g / 13.2 oz

MSRP $184 USD and proudly made in Canada.

Final Impressions

The G3 Alpinist + Glide skin is a workhorse skin that I can depend on day in and day out. The Glide skin is ideally suited for the conditions in which they were tested; cold and dry snow. I look forward to seeing how the new G3 skin matrix holds up overtime.

For more information on the G3 Alpinist + Glide skin and other G3 offerings, please visit www.backcountry.com/g3

Shannon: Shannon, our fabulous female tester, takes gear testing to a new level for women. When not at work or school, she is most likely training for a marathon, climbing one of Colorado’s tallest peaks, riding her road bike, or skiing down a mountain slope. Like many women, Shannon gets cold easily, therefore, we try to test the best all weather gear to help her stay warm and dry during all day outdoor pursuits. In the warmer months, Shannon enjoys exploring the Colorado backcountry with her friends and dogs and attempts to escape for as many trail runs as her schedule allows. Shannon is a great women’s tester because she gives readers true insight into how a product may perform for an active woman.
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