We spend many an hour working our way uphill while backcountry skiing and our choice of climbing skins can make a big difference in our efforts on the skin track. Think lightweight and good glide. The lightweight part is obvious, but the good glide part is often overlooked in favor of grip. Today’s wide skis translate to lots of skin surface area on the snow, so grip comes easily and glide becomes more important than ever. Glide is the skin’s ability to slide over snow. Why drag a bunch of high-friction carpet up the hill if you don’t have to? Better glide means more efficiency on long days, which equals more skiing with less energy. The G3 Alpinist LT climbing skins take this philosophy and put it to the test.
The G3 Alpinist LT climbing skins are basically a refined version of the G3 Alpinist skin. It takes the proven Alpinist design and updates it for a sleeker experience with better glide and a lighter, lower bulk package. The LT is about 20% lighter than the standard Alpinist skin thanks to a refined tip, lighter backing, new lightweight tail clip and lightweight plush.
The G3 Alpinist LT climbing skins are basically a refined version of the G3 Alpinist skin. It takes the proven Alpinist design and updates it for a sleeker experience with better glide and a lighter, lower bulk package. The LT is about 20% lighter than the standard Alpinist skin thanks to a refined tip, lighter backing, new lightweight tail clip and a new lightweight plush.
Although I’m not a go-light-at-all-costs guy, I appreciate lighter weight gear that still works. I’m also a big advocate of skins that glide well and have used various mohair skins over the years because of their enhanced glide over most synthetic skins. The new G3 Alpinist LT’s glide performance is very similar to that of mohair. Right out of the box, the LT felt smooth and efficient on the uptrack, comparable to my favorite Coltex mohair skins and with noticeably better than the glide of the standard Alpinist glide.
If the glide is so great, how’s the grip? Well, the grip is not as robust as the standard Alpinist, but it has proven to be totally functional and comparable to the mohair options I have used. If you prefer steep uptracks, stick with the Alpinist. If you, like me, strive for a modest yet efficient uptrack most of the time, the Alpinist LT works great. Of course, high traffic routes and icy conditions will also favor a higher traction skin. Climbing with more modest traction like that of the LT takes technique that comes with experience. Personally, I’ll happily trade the reduced grip for improved glide and a little uphill technique.
To round out the experience with the Alpinist LT, the glue has been excellent. It’s a non-toxic formula that has proven reasonable to pull apart, yet adheres to the ski without complaint. A handful of tour days are hardly enough to address glue longevity, but it’s off to a great start. The G3 tip is hands down one of the nicest tip connection systems available. It’s a simple, low-profile design that adjusts to a wide variety of ski tip shapes. The new lightweight tail clip on the LT skin is my least favorite aspect of the skin. They are simple and light, but I managed to kick them off on multiple ocasions. Tightening the tension strap helped to minimize the the issue. Nonetheless, I recommend G3’s twin tip tail accessory or even the standard alpinist tail clip for a more secure attachment with rounded tails