G3 Alpinist Skins, Out of the Box

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This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

It’s amazing how easily I can geek out on backcountry skiing gear. I was recently excited to wrap up a day filled with skiing and barbecue by cutting some new G3 Alpinist Skins. And, more importantly, using the skin cutter supplied with the skins. I’ve sworn off any cutter that came in a climbing skin box in lieu of a straight razor for years now. I’d butchered too many sets of skins with rebranded envelope openers. Props to G3 for providing a skin cutter that is beefy, contoured, and measures the distance off the edge extremely well so you don’t monkey around with multiple cuts. Once cut each side — done. Brilliant.

Low profile tip connectors, top and bottom. So far these seem much less likely to slip off the tip of the ski. Not a huge problem for me in the past, but still happened more than I liked.

The G3 Alpinist Skins are a bit lighter weight than my last set of BD’s (based on cut and folded size, not actual weight). I’m most looking forward to how the tip connector works for me. Using two clips instead of a single large loop, I have high hopes for a more secure skin connection.

Well keep you posted on performance later this season by filing a more extensive review.

Cut, rolled, and ready to rock. Incredible cutter to left would be worth the price of these skins even if they were made of gold and diamonds.

Check them out at Backcountry.com.

(Guest blogger profile: Dave Downing and his wife Jessica live in Whitefish, MT, where he is a freelance designer and owner of Ovid Nine Graphics Lab. Dave has been told that there is nothing to see in Montana, so please move along.)

Comments

49 Responses to “G3 Alpinist Skins, Out of the Box”

  1. Blair December 9th, 2010 11:18 am

    Gotta agree with you on the skin cutter/trimmer, it works incredibly well. No more butchered skins. Great skins no problems with the tip working its way off the ski.

  2. Steve December 9th, 2010 12:12 pm

    I got a pair of the “women’s” version from STP this year. I’m pretty happy so far. I agree the the trim tool is awesome. Cut (ha!) my trim time to almost nothing. I’m not crazy about the tip hooks. I’m having a hard time flipping off the tip when I rip the skin off while wearing the ski. Maybe when the glue loses some grip it will be easier. The tail attachment also gives me a bit of problems about half the time but that’s probably due more to cold hands and operator error. But they stick well to the ski and have gripped really well on the snow I’ve been on so far. Thumbs mostly up from me.

  3. Chris December 9th, 2010 12:12 pm

    I have a pair of the alpinists and a pair of BD’s, I find the g3 better glide and the bd better grip. Both tail connections are easy and efficient. Too soon to tell about glue durability.

  4. Eric December 9th, 2010 12:19 pm

    Agreed about the skin cutter, it’s excellent. You can buy it separately for $4. I bought one and used it to cut my last 2 sets skins.

  5. Pete December 9th, 2010 1:18 pm

    Yep, the G3 skin cutter is a good one. Any tips on home remedies for removing glue from it so it can be reliably re-used again and again. I found rubbing alcohol did NOT work very effectively…

  6. Lou December 9th, 2010 1:54 pm

    Pete, our G3 cutters have been great, but we’ve found they dull after cutting a few pair and need to be replaced. Not a big deal because they’re cheap and effective, but before going to much trouble with glue removal, keep that in mind.

  7. Bar Barrique December 9th, 2010 3:00 pm

    I have successfully used citrus based ski wax remover to remove small amounts of skin glue from the base(s) of my skis. Worth a try, good stuff to have around.

  8. Ian Harding December 9th, 2010 3:58 pm

    I’ve been using the G3 skins for a couple of years now. The tip clips have been great and I’ve had no problems with them. The tail clip, however, is a real pain in the behind.

    Because I use a twin-tip ski (Salomon 1080 Gun) that has no specific groove built in at the tail, the metal clip digs into the ski. The rubber belt-like strap with the pin is also a real disaster to use when your hands are cold, so I have found that it is easier to insert the strap pin first and then slide the tail clip onto the ski from the outter edge. The result is a butchered ski tail, but that is the sacrifice I’ve made in order to use the G3s with my twin-tips.

    Other than that, I’ve quite enjoyed them. Haven’t tried the BD skins yet, but a good friend of mine recently bought a set, so I’m eager to hear/see the results he gets this season.

  9. Dave December 9th, 2010 4:13 pm

    My family business makes a citrus cleaner… I use it for prepping my skis to removing wax on my surf board. It’s good stuff and will typically not dry out / ruin a smooth surface…

  10. Ross Mailloux December 9th, 2010 4:37 pm

    Hi Yall,

    I have been using the Alpinists for all of last year and the start of this season, roughly 60- 65 days of use. My normal season might include deep trailbreaking on the coast or selkirks, bushwack sufferfests in the spring with a huge pack and many miles of on and off track skinning. I have used 2 pairs of BD Glidelite and a pairr lo Skye (predecessor to Glidelight and a company BD bought to offer an accension alternative) anyway:

    My G3s have been pretty good, glue is sticky when new and seems to work in all temperatures. The strip in the middle is not removable as advertised so make sure the width underfoot can accommodate the 1 and a bit inch tape and still have enough stick. ( I have 88 underfoot and it seems fine). The tip attachment is great and the initial problem of tip breakage is no longer an issue it seems.

    My only gripe is the glues durability, the glue is about 40% missing on the skins now. Coming off most likely on the ski at some point, I don’t use skin keepers- maybe this would help. I have never used them with BD skins however and would get 3-4 seasons on those before the same level of glue wear.

    In all honesty, they ahve been great skins but I would say the older glidelites had similar glide but better glue. I have not tried the ascension or the new mohair blends.

  11. Brenda December 9th, 2010 6:02 pm

    I’ve been using these skins for a couple of seasons now. I’m generally happy – they seem to glide a bit better than the BD skins, but on steep or slick uptracks the grip is perhaps not as good as the BD’s.
    To Steve’s comments, I used a trick, from this site I think, of putting a patch over the top 2″ of the glue at the tip end. This permits easier tip release, and does not affect the skin in any other way.
    One thing I like about the G3 fabric/glue combo – it seems to be OK in cold weather to roll the skins, or even to just wad the whole bundle up and shove it in the stuff sack (accompanied by choice words about the pleasures of folding skins in the wind). I don’t do that often, but I’ve done it a number of times in cold or windy conditions and the skins seem none the worse for it.

  12. Brenda December 9th, 2010 6:04 pm

    For the skin tip release trick, search this site for “wimp patch”.

  13. Steve December 9th, 2010 6:34 pm

    Are you calling me a wimp, Brenda? :) Thanks for that tip, I looked it up and I’ll be making that happen before I go out next time. I should’ve known there would be a solution on this site.

  14. Nick December 9th, 2010 6:38 pm

    I’ve got 7 days of hiking on the new alpinist skin, tip is great tail is not. A cam style clip like BD has, is so simple and effective, why use anything else. The g-3 strap flex changes with temps; when it’s cold it is stiff and hard to use, warm is ok. I’ve had it come off on long steep cold climbs because it was’nt fully latched. I don’t own any of the new BD skins with the cam clip, but saw someone with them in the parking lot and knew what I had to do. I order the tail kit, cut off the original, and put on the BD version. Brillant. I work in a shop part time, and find it hard to recomend this product based just on the tail. What does G-3 have to say, cam buckles/clips have been around for a long time, lets not try and reinvent the wheel here!

  15. Lou December 9th, 2010 6:45 pm

    Thanks Brenda!

  16. Darryl December 9th, 2010 9:35 pm

    Anyone else having good luck foregoing the tail hook all together? This will be my 4th season without a tail attachment (2 seasons on BD Glidelight with no problems, and going on season 2 with the G3 Alpinist skins). I am careful about attaching them to dry ski bases, and to ensuring that I have good adhesion just after putting them on (by skiing forward only for first few moments – no shuffling sideways or backwards).

    Multi-lap days also require careful removal and reapplication, and perhaps storing skins inside parka on the descent if I have managed to get some snow on the glue side of the tail of the skins. We’ll see if this “experiment” continues to work as the skins age, but so far so good, and simple too.

    Also, keeping my skis well waxed seems to help keep the glue on the skin, and off my bases.

    I’d agree with others that the BD Glidelight skins were a bit grippier, and the Alpinist skins a bit glidier.

  17. Lou December 9th, 2010 9:37 pm

    I’d also agree that the G3 has slightly more glide, that is until they have some wear, then they seem to be the same as BD Glidelight. I also wore a pair of G3 out so bad that the fur got short and they had poor glide, but that was after a ton of days on hardpack (using them for fitness uphilling at the resort). Going without tail fix does work for some folks….

  18. KDog December 9th, 2010 10:39 pm

    It’s been awhile since I’ve used G3 skins, but when I had them I replaced their tail clip with a BD one and it worked great. I seem to remember that the BD clip slid right thru the slots on the G3 elastic tail strap.

    I could dig my old G3′s out of storage and check, but I think it’ll work unless there have been major changes to their tail strap. The G3 clip was a PITA!

  19. John S December 9th, 2010 11:03 pm

    I’ve been using the G3 skins for a few years now, and like them. Well, like everyone, I find the tail clip annoying. It seems like I always have one tail dragging in the snow.

    I am going to replace the G3 clip with the BD one. Looking at the parts, it seems the BD unit will just slot right onto the existing G3 rubber tail.

    As for the tips, I love them. The skin is flat against the base, and so little snow can creep under the skin. I haven’t had any problems with the tips coming off.

  20. Scott December 10th, 2010 12:08 am

    I just got a pair of these and agree about the tail connector being a pain the ass. They do stay on well once connected but its that extra step and fumbling while holding the metal clip and fastening the bungy strap. The skins do perform well for me and even glide a little, not as much as my BD mix skins though.

  21. Justin December 10th, 2010 7:20 am

    I have some as well, I like the tip attachment, not the tail. John, I dont believe the BD tail pieces will fit in the red G3 rubber tail piece. I just cut them off and riveted on BD tail pieces (they are available as a kit). Lou, when you are referring to the Glidelites, do you mean the old synthetic ones? I believe the only glidelights available now are mohair or mohair/nylon mix. The purely nylon ones are the Ascensions I think.

  22. Frame December 10th, 2010 8:09 am

    @ Darryl. Inexperienced skin user here, but do you wax your ski’s and put skins on those skis? I was under the impression you don’t wax ski’s that you are using skins on.

    thanks for any enlightenment

  23. John S December 10th, 2010 8:34 am

    Glide wax, yes. Keeps your bases healthy and I’m not sure about the rest of you guys, but my skis sure ski better with some good glide wax.

    If I’m on rolling terrain and using a bit of kick wax, then I try to scrape as much of it off as possible before reapplying my skins, as the glue can become contaminated with wax.

  24. Lou December 10th, 2010 8:46 am

    Justin, yeah, too many names, too little time. I refer to the orange colored Ascensions. By the way, as a caveat to my own opinions, comparing skins after wear is tricky, as it would be impossible to wear two sets of skins the same. Also, I think some of the skins out there, though different brands and colors, could be the same fabric, made in the same factory. With that in mind, care is in order in terms of comparo.

  25. Lou December 10th, 2010 8:49 am

    RE waxing skis in use with skins. The accepted practice is to indeed wax the skis with alpine wax but scrape it well. When done correctly, none of the wax will transfer to the skin. As for nordic kick waxing, I’ve done that quite a bit and yeah, it’s important to scrape well before applying skins over nordic wax. Also, when I used to do that a bunch I carried some wax remover and a rag, and actually cleaned the kick wax off before applying skins. Nowadays, I tend to use skinny mohair “approach” skins before I’d mess with kick wax. Or just use mohair skins, period.

  26. Frame December 10th, 2010 10:41 am

    Thanks John S and Lou, better get the iron out and give those bases some love.

  27. KDog December 10th, 2010 10:52 am

    Never never never use a wipe on glide enhancer like MaxiGlide and then apply your skins. The glue will get fouled immediately and will have to be replaced. Don’t ask me how I know this :? , but suffice to say without duct tape, my wife and I would still be postholing out of that canyon!

    I checked my old G3 skins and I did NOT just replace the clip with a BD version, I replaced the entire strap. The BD strap just slid right into the slot on the G3 plate on the tail of the skin. These were the older G3 skins with the gray/blue plush. Unless they changed the design of the “tail strap fixing plate” 8O , it should still work.

    Kevin

  28. Tom December 10th, 2010 11:42 am

    Dave,
    I’ve been using the G3′s for 3 years. Never had the tip connector come off and no annoying snow build-up under the front portion of the the skin. Only similar connector I’ve seen are the Dynafit skins, which I think are ski specific.

  29. John S December 10th, 2010 11:43 pm

    Perhaps my post was misunderstood. The G3 tips keep snow from creeping between the skin and the base.

  30. XXX_er December 11th, 2010 2:08 pm

    I use the BD and the G3 tail hooks and they work about the same ,I have used the BD’s on twin tips and the tail hook stays on

    I have seen some folks don’t use the BD hook properly ,the strap is supposed to lay against the ski all the way to the strap tip with the metal hook on top whereas some folks put the hook on the strap BACKWARDS and have the strap trailing out the back of the ski which is gona rip the strap pretty quick

    http://www.genuineguidegear.com/gear/accessories/twin-tip-connectors

    I haven’t used them myself but here you are new this year … twin tip tail hooks

  31. don gisselbeck December 12th, 2010 9:02 pm

    I tried the G-3 cutters a few times but did not like how they gummed up with glue and marred the glue on the skin. Laying the skin out slightly offset, cutting it and then moving it over two edge widths seems to work fine. After a few dozen skins you can get pretty fast. The problem with using a sharp knife is the risk of going all the way across the ski. That is harder to do with the glorified letter opener.

  32. dave downing December 13th, 2010 11:28 am

    @XXX_er: I had completely overlooked the twin tip connectors. Thanks for the link. I’m excited to see those. My BD tail connectors had issues slipping on twin tips, so i’ve always thought there was a better answer. I used to stack4-5 small strips of duct tape on either side of the center of the ski tail to keep the connector from sliding sideways. Ghetto, but it worked…

  33. Pete December 14th, 2010 3:17 pm

    Might want to solicit some feedback from K2 skin users to make this thread even more comprehensive… http://k2skis.com/skis/skins
    Good points made and seconded on the G3 tail clips vs. BD so it seems there’s still room for improvement and healthy competition all the way around.

  34. Abe December 27th, 2010 8:56 pm

    Has anyone tried getting skins 10 or 15 cm longer then the ski, without the tail attachment, and folding the remainder over on top of the ski? I saw that online somewhere and it seems like it should work great.

  35. gtrantow December 28th, 2010 7:36 am

    Abe – folding skin over tail works for a few steps or perhaps one uphill, but it is not a good long term solution in the BC. The problem is once your tail starts flapping it gets loaded with snow and moves up your ski until you duct tape it or post hole home. This is why Lou and others have devised foolproof bungee systems for tail attachments.
    Go to climbingskinsdirect.com and order the twintip ring solution with large rings (70mm) . The big ring slips over my Salomon Pocket Rocket tails and also my K2 AntiPiste/Commba tails. I was surprised how well the 70mm ring fit my K2s. The upfront bungee is foolproof too.
    https://www.climbingskinsdirect.com/Skins.html
    Dave — I like the ghetto duct tape solution ;-)

  36. Lou December 28th, 2010 9:06 am

    I used the K2 skin system on Denali. Worked great.

  37. Lou December 28th, 2010 9:24 am

    Brian Harder has some other skin fixation ideas over on his blog:

    http://getstrongergolonger.squarespace.com/journal/2010/12/26/skin-tech-tips-ii-dynafit-mod.html

  38. brian p. harder December 28th, 2010 3:01 pm

    Here’s another post on a related topic, mainly for race skins but also for “speed touring” freaks with wider skis.

    http://getstrongergolonger.squarespace.com/journal/2010/12/17/skin-tech-tips.html

    I have not used tail attachments but once on my Verdicts a few years ago. Finally cut those off, as well, and have not regretted it. Just for fun I kept all the detritus and weighed it on my kitchen scale (sweet xmas present!). All that stuff on the tail was 146 gms or about 5 ounces. But like a reader said above, you have to be vigilant about skin hygiene.

  39. Bill December 28th, 2010 3:47 pm

    ABE
    Here in CA I often use a rat tail similar to what Lou blogged on several years ago. I take bungee hooked to the end of the skin and wrap it around the heel piece. This has allowed me to use a skin on different skis with different lenghs with out much hasssle. Works especially well with skinny skins.

  40. Doug Johnson January 29th, 2012 5:04 am

    New K2 skins: tip connector fell off on day 5 (lost of course). Plastic piece ok, metallic piece gone.

  41. Judith S May 24th, 2013 5:09 pm

    I’m contemplating trimming new G3 Alpinist skins but I think the skins might be too short for my 167cm skis even though they are intended to fit skis from 162-172cm. Are there rules-of-thumb about skin length, specifically what amount of ski edge should be exposed at the tail, or what is an acceptable maximum tail exposure?

  42. XXX_er May 24th, 2013 6:57 pm

    well IMO wall to wall coverage is best because there will be someone skiing out there who put in a track with W2W SO if you want to follow that track you also need W2W …this is not the place to save a few bucks buying a narrower skin

    as for length I would lay them out next to your ski, they should hook on and cover as much of your base as possible at the back of the ski,

    the thing I found recently replacing a strap for a bud on a G3 alpinist is if/when the strap breaks you have to cut whatever is left of the strap off including that bump at the end of the skin to be able to rivet on a new tail

    After cutting the broken tail strap & that bump off the skin my buddy was down to the LAST hole on the new strap … you could very well run out of adjustment with the alpinist design

  43. Lou Dawson May 24th, 2013 7:54 pm

    Judith, we just make sure the hardware on the tail of the skin is up on the curve of the tail, so it’s not dragging on the snow. You can evaluate by laying ski on flat surface, floor or kitchen counter. Yes, skins can be too short. Lou

  44. John January 7th, 2014 11:28 am

    What about too long? Can you cut a longer pair of these skins down to fit a shorter ski, and still reattach the tail piece (or tip) to work? I have a line on a pair that are longer than what I need, but I don’t want to buy them if I can’t cut them down. I can’t even find these in the size I need right now!

  45. Lou Dawson January 7th, 2014 1:53 pm

    John, it’s difficult to change the length. What you do is cut off the tip system and use something like a BD tip loop instead. Lou

  46. John Adams January 7th, 2014 2:10 pm

    Thanks Lou. After doing some more searching I found a good thread on the “rat tail” method here on Wild Snow, and also found the BD STS tail kit, which I went ahead and purchased. Once I get the skins I’ll lay them on my skis and decide which method I like better, but either way I think I’m going to keep the G3 tip as I like the clip system better for my blunt-nosed fat skis. Love this site. Great, great, resource for all. Thank you!

  47. Lou Dawson January 7th, 2014 2:16 pm

    All good John! We like the Rat Tail best of anything, actually. Easy to grab and strip without removing skis… Lou

  48. John Adams January 22nd, 2014 5:06 pm

    Hey gang. I decided to go the Black Diamond STS kit route. It worked great, was easy and didn’t require me to drill holes in my skis. If you’re interested, I posted a “how to” video on YouTube for anyone else who might find themselves on this thread looking for ideas. I saved a ton of money going this route, and the skins fit great.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQgsLlV9goc

    Hope this helps someone down the line.

  49. John Adams January 26th, 2014 9:23 pm

    Wow. Used the G3′s for the first time two days ago and was really happy. Skinning on very wind-blown hard pack with fat skis and the traction was impressive. My girlfriend is seven years younger than me and an ultra runner. Usually she breaks trail and I chase her all day. Not this time. I charged uphill with these skins. I will baby them.

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