G3 Minimist Glide Climbing Skins – Great, High-functioning Skins
The team at Genuine Guide Gear up in Vancouver, BC, has been making backcountry ski equipment for 20 years now. So, when they release something new it’s worth paying attention, like their new Minimist Climbing Skin collection which comes in three options – Universal, Glide, and Speed. I’ve had the chance to test out their Minimist Glide skin for a couple of months here in western Colorado and was very pleased with their performance.
Right out of the box G3 makes using these skins enjoyable. Typical of most new skins, cutting them to fit your skis will probably be your first activity with them, and usually involves lots of repositioning, a few re-cuts, and probably some mistakes if you’re not perfect. Not so with G3’s skin cutting tool (included with all of their skins) which only requires you to place the skins once on each ski while the tool trims each side of the skin with an appropriate edge reveal; no reposition necessary.
If you’re not familiar with the ‘old’ skin trimming process just trust me, using the G3 skin tool is way better. Along with trimming, the tail and tip clips are simple to adjust to your skis’ length. The tip clips are too simple hooks on a pivot that allow them to self-adjust to your skis’ tip as you pull the skin tight and the tail clips are clever camming devices that are easy to adjust to length, but then stay locked in once attached to the ski. The skins also come with a nice nylon bag for packing away, and some standard plastic mesh skin savers.
It’s worth noting that on most backcountry ski days, the vast majority of our time is spent on the up, so what you’re skinning on can really affect how the majority of your day goes. As expected, the Minimist Glide skins kept me smiling on the uphill, and I often forgot that I was using them – a good sign when using any piece of gear as troublesome gear usually gets more attention.
It’s also worth mentioning again that I tested the Minimist Glide skins mid-winter in the western Colorado backcountry which is a very dry snowpack/climate generally, so if you live somewhere wetter your experience with these skins might be a little different. G3 offers the Minimalists in four length ranges from 150-199 cm, and three widths – 100, 115, 130 mm. I tested the Long length (183-199 cm) and 130 mm width and used these skins with the G3 Seekr 110s (a fantastic backcountry pow ski if you’re looking for one).
G3 uses a glue adhesive for all of their skins, including the Minimist Glide skins, which proved reliable over multiple laps. Out of the box, I did find the glue to be a little too sticky for my preference, requiring a lot of effort to pull apart or get off my skis at first, however, after a couple of tours the tack mellowed out a bit too nice happy-medium. I did get out on a few sub-zero (Fahrenheit) days and had no problems with tackiness, as I’ve had with some other skins.
I also never had an issue with snow build up under the skin, which could also be due to the inclusion of a carbon fiber insert at the front tip of the skin, which keeps the tip rigid and tight to the ski base preventing snow from creeping in. If the adhesive does get contaminated, ice up, or whatever it might be that’s causing adhesion loss, G3 puts a little ‘cloth’ strip down the center of the glue side that can be pulled off in pinch exposing more glue and help you keep moving. It’s worth noting that G3 also uses non-toxic, PFOA free adhesive formulas in all their skins, so you don’t have to worry about what’s rubbing off your skins into the environment.
How about the material? The main difference in the three Minimist skin options G3 provides is the material each option is made of. The Minimist Glide skins I tested are a 70% mohair 30% nylon mix, which provides a very functional glide-traction-durability balance while keeping the weight, well, Minimist. For the weight conscience, mohair is nice lighter material that glides well and packs/folds nicely but can be less durable alone, which is where the 30% nylon comes in to increase lifespan, as well as traction.
The Long-length/130 mm width option I tested weighs in at 277 g per single skin, or 9.8 oz. for us Americans. Having used skins with higher nylon percentages in the past, I was very pleased with how well these skins moved through the snow also keeping great purchase. There is little friction on the forward step moving uphill, and on short downhills, they slid great, much better than my past nylon skins. Being a more mohair-mix skin, they pack/fold tight, and shove well into the pack so you can forget about them till the next uphill. I was only able to get out on these skins one warmer, spring-like day, and didn’t have any problems icing up, but I’d like to have a few more spring days before I say anything definitive.
Traction-wise I had very few issues with the Minimist Glide skins, having been able to take it straight up 35-degree wind-buff hardpack without trouble (and a little steeper in a couple of spots), and only slid out on a couple exceptionally icy spots/kick turns. In deep powder they really shined, sliding easily forward through the pow and holding well in the unconsolidated snow.
One of the things I appreciated most about these skins was that the tail clips never came off, regardless of my sloppy technique at times and crossing the ski tails. No more asking your partner to re-attach your skins. As for durability I’ve noticed little wear even with a few rocks and yarding on the tail straps when ripping skins, no bald spots or fraying to be seen.
G3 Minimist Glide Climbing Skins Review
The G3 Minimist Glide skins are a great lightweight, high-functioning climbing skin to add to your kit. If you’ve got long tours in mind with ups and downs where keeping skins on is more efficient, and technical terrain where traction-function is still as important as saving weight, these are the skins you’re looking for. In the backcountry, the vast majority of your time is spent on the uphill, so you might as well enjoy and where better to start than where your kit meets the snow – your skins.
For more weight, width and length options, as well as all the other great gear G3 offers, check out their website at: https://www.genuineguidegear.com/
A transplant of the Midwest, Austen immigrated to the promised land of western Colorado in 2012 in search of good climbing, deep snow, quality rivers, and a college degree when his goofing off allowed. He learned pretty quick the difference quality gear can make on the outcome of a day (or days) in the mountains and began looking for the best gear to abuse.
In the summer Austen is an avid whitewater kayaker, bouncing his boat down the steep, rocky waterways of Colorado, trad climber in search of the route less traveled, and works as a federal river ranger along the Gunnison River. During the winter Austen spends his time telemarking around the backcountry of western Colorado and working as a ski patroller up on the continental divide.
Austen says, “A hundred days of skiing and paddling each per year and you’ll figure out what is wrong or right with your equipment, especially when your lively-hood depends on it.” Austen also has his American Avalanche Association Professional Level 1 avalanche certification, EMT-B, and ACA swift-water rescue cert, as well as a member of the Search and Rescue team in Gunnison County for 6 years.