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G3 Skins: Is the Pile Always So Short?

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  • G3 Skins: Is the Pile Always So Short?

    It would seem this sort of question would go into the gear section, but convention suggests it could just as well get thrown in to the BB&G. Sorry if I am taking liberties.

    After I bought my Liberty Helix skis in the Spring I found a great deal on some G3/ BC.com Alpinist skins at BC.com. The Mrs. was already a bit out of sorts about my getting new skis when I already have a pair, so I had to be super frugal in getting skins for these new skis. None of my other skins would fit them, and Backcountry.com had a very good deal on limited quantities of these G3/BC.c Alpinist skins that also had the goat logo worked into the red and blue G3 pattern on the carpet side. Compared to my two other pairs of skins [none are G3] the fur/pile on these new skins is anything but furry, more like a two-day old shave. Haven't trimmed them yet, so it is possible they could be returned/exchanged if I find out that they are truly sub-optimal. Anyone have any experience or opinion on G3 skins in general and especially if all their Alpinist skins are so un-plush, or might it just be these special joint venture skins?

  • #2
    I have a few pairs of skins. I have bd skins, climbing skins direct skins, and G3 skins

    G3 skins are definately less "plush" than other skins. They don't grip as well as other more plush skins at maximum climbing angles. They are a bit lighter so they cruise along easier at lower angles that require less traction. Some will say they glide better. I would say that, IF you put enough effort into your stride that your skins are gliding, you are wasting energy, so gliding doesn't factor into my evaluation.

    IF you like steep skinning, G3 skins are not a good choice. If you prefer skinning lower angles, their lighter weight may actually be an advantage so long as the grip doesn't become an issue. Occasionally, I curse them if they slip a little on the skin track, but not that often.
    Last edited by tele.skier; 28 September 2013, 02:38 PM. Reason: awesomeness
    the fall line is your friend.... resistance is futile

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    • #3
      Originally posted by tele.skier View Post
      Occasionally, I curse them if they slip a little on the skin track, but not that often.
      I have a pair of G3 Alpinist skins and that quote sums up where I'm at too. They're great skins, seem lighter than BD skins, but they don't grip as well as BD skins. On good snow days, it never seems to matter, esp. if I'm breaking trail. If conditions are icy or the skin track was laid the day before and firmed up, I sometimes have to cut my own path. If I'm in front, I don't care. If those in front cruised right up the path but I couldn't, I might murmur a "fvckin' skins" before remembering that I could use the extra work.

      As a minor aside, G3's cutting tool rocks.

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      • #4
        I've been on two different pairs of G3's for about 5 years, in typical intermountain west snow they seem to work as well BD's, at least I don't have any more problems on the skin track as those with BD's, and did not notice any real difference from my old BD's I do seem to get less clumping than others though. They are also much prettier!

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        • #5
          Nice to get such thoughtful responses. With gear there's always some sort of trade-off, I guess. My main concern was that these "hybrid" Backcountry.com/G3 Alpinist skins might be different than the plain G3 Alpinists, but from the responses, I am guessing not. Makes sense that such short pile would not have the grip of the longer stuff. I have two other skins, some old, very narrow purple Ascensions that my nephew gave me some years ago along with his old skinny [65mm underfoot] Tuas, which initiated my entry into my tele passion, and some Climbing Skins Direct ones I bought to trim to my Rossi Altibirds. These are both much longer pile, and grip great on skis they fit. The CSD skins are touted to glide exceptionally well, but on our wet, coastal snow they soak it up quickly and had no glide at all, even with wax, until I treated them with some durable water repellant plus wax, and even so, calling it glide is a stretch.

          Being in the grizzled demographic, my usual choice when setting my own track is to not go as steeply as possible, so for the most part these G3s will probably do. For me, the place where the good grip is most handy is those where a short, very steep pitch seems the only practical way to get up-slope, usually because of some obstacle[s]. Then it's nice to be able to securely charge up it without that feeling that you might backslip on every step. I did a lot of back-slipping trying to use those skinny Ascensions on wider skis, and grew to hate that uncertainty of grip.

          I appreciate tele.skier's view that trying to kick and glide with skins is not worth it and more tiring than just striding along. On more rolling terrain, though, it might be nice to kick and glide some, if it works easily, on the modest down-slopes. Even skate a bit, if they do actually have some glide?

          Considering all this, if I had not bought those Backcountry/G3 Alpinists, I would probably not get them. But as they only cost $77 on sale at BC.c, I will likely give them a go, unless I find out that they have even less grip than the regular Alpinists. Doubt they would take them back at this point, anyway.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Sheik Yerbouti View Post
            I've been on two different pairs of G3's for about 5 years, in typical intermountain west snow they seem to work as well BD's, at least I don't have any more problems on the skin track as those with BD's, and did not notice any real difference from my old BD's I do seem to get less clumping than others though. They are also much prettier!
            Well, that's encougaging, since it looks like I will be keeping and using these skins. Thank you Sheik Yerbouti.

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            • #7
              Echoing what others have said...from my G3 Alpinist Skin Review (Dec.2011)

              Originally posted by Dostie via EYT
              Thread count on the plush of the alpinist is noticably lower than normal. The net effect is two fold. Most noticeable is the improvement in glide over most other nylon skins. Too early to tell in my test regimen to say if it equals mohair, but glide is certainly at the high end of what synthetic skins can do, and perceptibly better out of the box compared to a Colltex 65/35 mixed plush. It also reduces weight a bit and makes the skin more supple and easier to fold and handle. So far there is no detectable difference in grip.

              If you skin at a competitive angle, you are more likely to notice a reduction in grip. That isn't my biggest gripe with G3 skins since I don't make habit of skinning steeply, but prefer the meanderthal approach. My issue with G3 skins is with the glue. Overly sticky on wide skis (> 90mm) yet snow creeps in at the edges. They have never let go, but made me wonder when ripping the hide why they didn't.

              Originally posted by tele.skier View Post
              G3 skins are definately less "plush" than other skins. They don't grip as well as other more plush skins at maximum climbing angles. They are a bit lighter so they cruise along easier at lower angles that require less traction. Some will say they glide better. I would say that, IF you put enough effort into your stride that your skins are gliding, you are wasting energy, so gliding doesn't factor into my evaluation.

              IF you like steep skinning, G3 skins are not a good choice. If you prefer skinning lower angles, their lighter weight may actually be an advantage so long as the grip doesn't become an issue. Occasionally, I curse them if they slip a little on the skin track, but not that often.
              tele.skier - I disagree and say that adding glide to your stride is not a waste of energy, it is a technique to harness energy to increase your speed. However at a certain ascent angle (~18 degrees) the attempt to add glide to your stride DOES require extra energy. At a lower angle (~13 degrees) it does not. Stop using the climbing post and you may find glide is possible, and useful. With a climbing post it is a moot issue.

              ain't no turn like tele!

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              • #8
                And I'd guess that, even after cutting them and using them half a dozen times, if you're not satisfied them, you'd be able to sell them for at least $50, so it wouldn't be that big of a loss. Happy turns.

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                • #9
                  I love the tip and tail attachments on the Alpinist skins. I don't own a pair of G3 skins but I do use their tail clips as a tip hook on a number of BD skins. All the people I ski with who have them don't seem to have any problems.

                  One thing I have noticed about skins in general is since I started hot-waxing my glopstopper (I can't believe I said that) they have better grip. Just rub the wax onto the plush and run a warm iron over them a couple of times. Don't stay in one place long enough for the heat to be conducted through the backing and into the glue. Just watch the plush absorb it and then give it a couple of quick passes with a nylon brush to separate the plush a little. Not only does the wax last longer this way, it also improves the performance of any skin. Many thanks to Steve Romeo for this tip. RIP

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DOSTIE
                    it is a technique to harness energy to increase your speed.

                    /snip..... Stop using the climbing post and you may find glide is possible, and useful. With a climbing post it is a moot issue.
                    harness energy you say?.... energy is: F=mA .

                    In order to have greater accelleration "A", (to make your skins overcome friction) you either need to change your mass mid stride, (*only UFO's can do that) OR apply more force "F" with your muscles. If a skier has a lot more energy than I do, he can afford to put more effort into his stride to use the better gliding quality of his skins to his advantage.

                    IF you read my post again, all I really said was that I don't value the quality of "skin glide" all that much because of my own limited endurance, cardiovascularly. How well a skin glides may be really important to racers and skiers who are a whole lot younger than I am, or have a lot more gas in their tank to burn on the skin track. I need to conserve my limited supply of energy... so I don't apply more force to get any extra glide.

                    When I first got my G3 skins, I was a little skeptical of how well they would work since the plush was not as deep. Like I said previously, it's only an issue occasionally. I do like the skins anyway because they feel like they are half the weight of my CSD skins, and the weight factor seems more advantageous to ME than how well the skins glide.

                    I don't know why you assume anything about incorrect use of a climbing post, but I would agree that a skier would really have to exert a lot of energy to get glide out of his stride if he had his tall climbing posts up.
                    the fall line is your friend.... resistance is futile

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by tele.skier View Post
                      IF you read my post again, all I really said was that I don't value the quality of "skin glide" all that much because of my own limited endurance, cardiovascularly. How well a skin glides may be really important to racers and skiers who are a whole lot younger than I am, or have a lot more gas in their tank to burn on the skin track. I need to conserve my limited supply of energy... so I don't apply more force to get any extra glide.
                      tele.skier,
                      Yes, I know your comments are relative to your personal skinning style. I just happen to relish pointing out the resulting limitations of a skin track that exceeds 15 degrees. That's my schtick, okay? So I disagree with you and knew you would get riled about it, but your example was the opportunity for me to explain there is an alternative. I'm not saying it doesn't require some input, but simply a change in technique which can yield improved efficiency. I claim that is possible even for you, but it would require a change in technique. We need to take a tour together and then we can really jab each other in the ribs and get the friendly insult associated with the jab.

                      Originally posted by tele.skier View Post
                      I don't know why you assume anything about incorrect use of a climbing post, but I would agree that a skier would really have to exert a lot of energy to get glide out of his stride if he had his tall climbing posts up.
                      Secondly, I did not say using a climbing post was incorrect, only that using it renders the concept of glide moot because at that point you're skinning too steeply to notice any glide.

                      ain't no turn like tele!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thing is, the point I take from tele.skier is not skin-resistance related to skintrack angle, but sliding in general. At least that is MY issue and I will use him to take my opportunity.... I'm all about meandering and my tank is smaller and age greater than anyone's. Even ski wax has an initial inertia you have to break to get gliding. All skins have more inertia and the the glide decays at higher speed. "Gliding" with skins is like skate-skiing: there is a minimum energy requirement to get going. At the high resulting speed of skating, your efforts are maximized re energy input. But you can't just get skating without a base-level input. Same with sliding on skins. When I go, I just slide the ski forward, I don't even try to get-and-ride a glide. Unless easily possible, like going downhill. I bet that's what tele.skier meant. I know that's what I mean.
                        nee, Whiteout

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by tele.skier View Post
                          energy is: F=mA
                          I don't believe this statement is entirely accurate. Energy is the ability of a system to do Work.

                          Work = Force * distance

                          as stated, Force = Mass * Acc

                          So, Work = Mass * Acc * Distance

                          In sum, Energy is the ability/capacity of a system to accelerate a given mass some distance.

                          (I'm not a physicist and going from memory here, so may be room for some corrections.)

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                          • #14
                            "Even for me" dostie... thanks for that...

                            As charley correctly interperted from my original statement, all I am saying is that,.... because using the better glide characteristic of a skin takes a little more energy to break the frictional force between the skin and the snow, I don't value the quality of a better gliding skin all that much when I evaluate the quality of the different brands of skins.

                            Now, I am kind of curious if the glide characteristics are more important to rando racers because better skin glide could be another advantage to them in a race. Any Rando racers on board here yet?....

                            Rocdoc, the statement about force I made was only to show that Mass is constant, so that any increase in A causes an increase in F, whether I defined the F as an equation for work or just simply as F. It still means the same thing relative to the extra energy a skier needs to produce to develop greater inertia to overcome friction to make his skins glide when a more energy conserving stride will not cause him to glide.

                            ... FOR ME, glide in a skin isn't that important a quality... and that was the thrust of my statement, not that it's universally true for everyone.
                            the fall line is your friend.... resistance is futile

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                            • #15
                              Being grizzled myself and not a model of aerobic fitness, I lean to the meanderthal. But it seems there would be a factor to weigh against the increase in force tele.skier describes: the stride with glide would be longer, so the same number of strides would cover more distance--conceivably resulting in less work per x number of feet. The math is beyond me. In real life I just skin at a pace my legs say is comfortable and at the odd times I get glide (flats, low angle climbing, interspersed downhills too short to strip skins--pretty much only on settled snow) it's a treat.

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