Though it may be July, and hot as hell, many of us are still dreaming about the next occasion to slide on snow. For the motivated, ski mountaineering season is in fact just shutting down, which makes it a good time to cool off by dreaming about next year’s gear. Here’s what G3’s got in store for their flagship skin for 2016.
Having refined the popular Alpinist, the first thing you notice is the new tread pattern and that the bottoms are now blue. It almost feels like rebranding for those used to the signature red that’s adorned the tacky side of these skins for years, but what’s of more consequence is that the glue on top of this blue bottom is now much better. This has been a long road for G3, years ago their skins were way too sticky and notoriously hard to pull apart. But gone are those days. With a light, all-purpose design that has the least amount of bulk on the market, G3’s now able to be much more sparing with its glue, and has softened its tenacity so that it’s right in the pocket for good functionality. The rest of the skin is streamlined enough that you don’t need all that powerful of a hold, which now makes them nice and easy to put on and take off compared to other brands — and they stay firmly in place.
The one thing to watch with G3 skins, though, is to not get them too hot. Drying your skins by a fire in a hut, or storing them somewhere too warm over the summer can cause them to get goopy, at which point you have to re-glue. Keep them nice and cool though, and your glue will last a long time. It remains to be seen how the 2016 glue will hold up to heat, but it seems to be cleaner and more stout than past versions—so far.
As always, the integrated tip loop adapts to all tip shapes and sizes and leaves very little opportunity for snow to infiltrate the skin’s low profile. New in 2016, there’s also a longer tail leash that’s more flexible and, again, lower profile. Although it’s easier to put on and off than past versions, depending on where your ski size lands in relation to G3’s sizing (their skins are pre-sized to a range of lengths), you may end up having to cut some of the tail leash off or it’ll be pretty flappy—which, really, is no big deal.
As a do-all skin, its hard to imagine anything better. The only compromise is a small lack of grip on really cold, dry and steep skin tracks (i.e. the Rockies), and perhaps slightly less glide in warmer conditions, but, otherwise the Alpinist rides the median of everything you need all in one package. As a full synthetic skin, they also do a remarkable job not balling up snow in the spring.
Unless you’re specific enough to know you want something particularly lighter or grippier (which narrows the conditions under which the skin will optimally perform), the Alpinist is still one of the best day-in-day-out skins going–and it’s Canadian to boot, eh.
MSRP: $154.95 CAN to $182.95 CAN depending on length