G3 Scala Hybrid Climbing Skins — Handy Or Hoopla?


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | September 19, 2017      
G3 Scala skins taking me to pow on Rogers Pass, Canada.

G3 Scala skins taking me to pow on Rogers Pass, Canada.

What better thing to do at the end of summer then begin fantasizing about winter? Face shots, skin tracks and shiny gear are on my mind — no 90F degree heat can take away those dreams. This past season I’ve had the opportunity to try out G3 Scala Climbing Skins. We’ve shared a few trips together with some big highlights: two wonderful weeks in BC, Canada for Christmas; a 20 mile trek through the Enchantments Basin back in May; and a grueling one day Glacier Peak attempt in late June.

When I first saw the Scala skins, I wasn’t sure what to think. Reflecting back to the well known, fully “hairy”, carpet-like skins that I’m used to or the fish scale Fisher skins I’ve tried in the past — I was skeptical about combining both.

G3 Scala tip is red urethane featuring  a scale pattern that is designed to maximize grip on the skintrack.

G3 Scala tip is red urethane featuring a scale pattern that is designed to maximize grip on the skintrack.

The Scala easily folds into a compact package.

The Scala easily folds into a compact package.

G3 introduced the Hybrid Tip Connector on the Scala skins. Yeah, the red plastic thing! It is meant to cause less friction in the tip of the skin than the usual G3 mohair nylon blend. The difference should be most noticeable when the skins are being pushed forward into deep powdery snow, resulting in easier trail breaking motion.

Worried about how you might go about trimming the skin? Don’t be, the G3 skin cutter works well to cut the urethane tip as well as the rest of the skin.

Scalas feature the versatile standard G3 tip clips and secure tails clips, as well as exceptional glue compositions that saves arm muscle strength when it comes to putting skins apart .

If you are like me, enjoying snacking and looking around at pretty mountains 99% of the time while touring — you won’t always find yourself breaking trail. And, Louie loves doing that way too much so why take away his pleasure?

With that said, having the Scalas was a good reason to do a lot more trail breaking this past season. To be honest, on shorter tours I didn’t really notice a big difference. But, on longer, bigger tours when the forward motion adds up over time, I must say overall I didn’t feel quite as worked as before. Was it due to just the trail breaking feature alone? Maybe, but that wasn’t the only factor. Another big factor is that these skins are much lighter than any previous skins I’ve owned.

Scala skins definitely favor glide over grip. Graduating from the gold standard of grippy skins (Black Diamond Ascensions), it took a bit of adjusting to trust the Scalas, as they did seem slick at times. Gripability is hard to compare, since my hesitation might have to do more with skinning technique and experience. Overall I was happy with the transition to more glide and I believe that these skins have helped me become a better skinner all around. To be honest, if I ever wasn’t feeling it on steeper/icier slopes, throwing on a pair of ski crampons always proved to be the easy solution.

The one thing that I love about G3 skins is their tail clip. Compared to other skin tail clip mechanisms, it is the most secure one I have seen; it has yet to inadvertently come off for me. However, the one thing I don’t quite like about it is how bulky the clips are. Given how thin the Scala itself is and how easily it can slide into your pack, the tail clips feel even bulkier than before. One of the reasons for the bulkiness is the length of the tail itself which accommodates a wide range of ski lengths. Since mine top off at 172 cm (range goes to 184cm), I’ve considered simply cutting off the excess.

I don’t use a skin saver for storing the skins, I just wrap them around the Tip Connector and store them flat in my pack. I love the low volume packability profile! I did notice over time that a small amount of glue transferred to one side where there was glue to glue contact but it didn’t impact performance. Durability testing will continue over time, but so far I am very impressed with how they have held up.

When visiting Canada back in December, we got to stop by and chat with one of the G3 wizard engineers. No secrets were revealed, except he assured us that we’ll be super stoked with what comes next. As promised, the new Scala LT is now available. Stoked to try it out! Let’s start those snow dances!

Specs:

  • Available widths: 100mm, 115mm, 130mm
  • Available lengths: 153-169 cm, 168-184 cm, 183-199 cm
  • MSRP: Scala, $204 USD; Scala Lt, $179 USD
  • I got 130mm since I used them for my wide powder skis in the winter and then trimmed them to my spring set up in April. Skins trimmed to 105 underfoot, 172 cm long skis weigh 12.3 oz
  • Shop for G3 products here.

    A close-up of how thin the Scala's are -- nice!

    A close-up of how thin the Scala’s are — nice!

    Hybrid tip connector and tip clips.

    Hybrid tip connector and tip clips.

    Easy to slide into your pack since the Scala's fold flat.

    Easy to slide into your pack since the Scalas fold flat.



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    Comments

    15 Responses to “G3 Scala Hybrid Climbing Skins — Handy Or Hoopla?”

    1. Scott September 19th, 2017 11:04 am

      I feel like if you used them with the love glove you would have about the cleanest, nicest skin page ever.

    2. Scott September 19th, 2017 11:05 am

      *skin package

    3. Julia September 19th, 2017 11:16 am

      Scott – agreed! I really need to up my love glove game and stop forgetting it at home!

    4. Lisa Dawson September 19th, 2017 3:07 pm

      I found G3 skins trickier to use than my orange BD carpets but, like you, once I improved my skinning technique, they work just fine. And I love how light they are. Thanks for the review. Hope to skin with you soon!

    5. Davis September 19th, 2017 3:31 pm

      Why reinvent the wheel? Whats wrong with nylon and mohair? More seams equals more failure points. All this reminds me of is waxless nordic skis, which are absolutely awful in anything less than a groomed track. Is this G3’s answer to a market that left them behind ages ago? If you’re looking to lighten your kit, there are much better ways than compromising your sole mode of transportation in the backcountry.

    6. JCoates September 19th, 2017 4:03 pm

      They aren’t going to win any awards for appearance either…
      It’ silly, but I’d probably gravitate to a skin that had a cool/funny imprint (like the old BD tire tread skins) over one that was a few ounces lighter but are plastered with the brand’s logo. Just saying G3 could update their skin design.

    7. See September 19th, 2017 7:33 pm

      I’m not a fan of the logo graphics either, but at least the industry seems to have moved away from the blatant cultural appropriation of K2, Volkl and Fischer’s (to name a few) almost satirical designs from a few years ago.

    8. Maciej Pike-Biegunski September 19th, 2017 7:48 pm

      In wetter snow (like Rogers Pass-it’s fluffy, but it ain’t cold smoke) G3s work really well. In drier snow, not so much. The G3 guys make a great product, but their testing grounds are mostly maritime and intermediate snowpack areas (like…..B.C.).

      For the cold (COLD) dry snow of Colorado, Wyoming or Montana, I’ve found that the glue and plush that BD uses are the most reliable. So…..I tend to suggest the skins that work best for most of your touring needs (and ski crampons for when you just need more grip).

    9. Matus September 20th, 2017 6:18 am

      Metric numbers please! Come on, you can do it 🙂 Yes, I can convert it myself but doing it once will leave smaller carbon print.

    10. Lou Dawson 2 September 20th, 2017 8:26 am

      Sometimes we just forget, doing so is definitely part of our style sheet. We’ll add. Remember that Google does very easy calcs, just put it into the search dialog, in plain language such as 78 ounces = ? grams The search page result is a cool calculator. One of my favorite Google features. Lou

    11. XXX_er September 20th, 2017 10:59 am

      It would be earlier models but I thot g3 looked so minimalist and would be lighter than my BD’s but put them on the scale and there was almost no difference …looks can be decieving

    12. Jeff September 20th, 2017 5:38 pm

      Thanks, Julia! I was wondering about these skins. Looking forward to your take on the LT version once the snow arrives.

    13. Wookie1974 September 21st, 2017 11:17 am

      why have anything up front there at all? Even in super-deep, you’re not gripping on that part of the ski. Why not just a ribless thin little sheet?

    14. Matus September 21st, 2017 12:40 pm

      Wookie: just marketing BS. That is all. The real benefit is close to zero.

    15. Pablo September 25th, 2017 5:06 am

      @wookie, Atomic Rocker skins are like that… improving glide not grip.

      Said that, I love to have grip from my skin tips sometimes when I traverse little gaps in wich skis only touch on tips,an tails





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