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Black Diamond GlideLite Splitboard Mix STS Review

Straightforward and streamlined performance
Black Diamond GlideLite Splitboard Mix STS
Photo: Black Diamond
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $195 List
Pros:  Good glide, rolls and folds small, robust adhesive
Cons:  User effort to get from package to field, small range of size adjustments
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond
By Isaac Laredo ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 21, 2021
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75
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 7
  • Glide - 25% 8
  • Grip - 25% 7
  • Ease of Use - 15% 7
  • Attachment System - 15% 7
  • Glue Icing Glop - 20% 8

Our Verdict

The Black Diamond Glidelite Split STS is one of the best value mohair blended skins. It is a solid performer in all metrics, but never outshined any competitors. This model offers an excellent grip to glide ratio in a supple and packable delivery. The packability is provided by its material and a simple attachment system that requires a few steps to install out of the box. The STS system gives a secure connection on most tail shapes, but can only be adjusted to a small range of lengths. The Glidelite is an impressive generalist that emphasizes glide. Ultimately, it's a noble no-frills skin for backcountry days.

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Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
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Pros Good glide, rolls and folds small, robust adhesiveAll-purpose, good ratio of grip to glide, camming tail clip, easy to align tip clipSecure and easy attachment system, efficient skinningLightweight, efficient, packable, good climbing abilityDurable, good grip to glide ratio
Cons User effort to get from package to field, small range of size adjustmentsAwkward foldingAdequate grip, particular rolling techniqueExpensive, difficult tail clip installationCan be hard to pull apart, steps required to get them field ready
Bottom Line No frills option for everyday backcountry useA great choice for nearly all splitboardersA solid choice for experienced splitters who don't want to sacrifice glide for grip they don't needA solid skin the is best suited for Jones boardsThis well-rounded skin is suitable for all skill levels
Rating Categories GlideLite Splitboard Mix STS G3 Splitboard+ Universal G3 Splitboard+ Glide Jones Nomad PRO Ascension Splitboard STS
Glide (25%)
8
8
9
8
7
Grip (25%)
7
8
7
8
8
Ease Of Use (15%)
7
9
8
7
6
Attachment System (15%)
7
9
9
8
8
Glue Icing Glop (20%)
8
7
7
7
8
Specs GlideLite... G3 Splitboard+... G3 Splitboard+ Glide Jones Nomad PRO Ascension...
Manufacturer Black Diamond G3 G3 Jones Snowboard (Pomoco) Black Diamond
Weight per pair 650 (g) 674 (g) 560 (g) 460 (g) 658 (g)
Weight per skin 325 (g) 337 (g) 280 (g) 230 (g) 329 (g)
Material 65% mohair and 35% nylon Nylon plush Nylon plush 70% Mohair, 30% Nylon Nylon
Glue Non-toxic adhesive Non-toxic adhesive Non-toxic adhesive Non-toxic adhesive Non-toxic adhesive
Tip Attachment Coated cable Asymmetrical steel Hands Asymmetrical steel hands Universal clips Snap-fit attachement
Tail Attachment STS SPLITBOARD+ SPLITBOARD+ Hooked attachement STS
Precut Option? No Yes No No No
Bag Included? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cheat Sheets Included? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Black Diamond Glidelite Split STS leverages Black Diamond's skin expertise to offer a mohair-blended skin for splitboarders. Splitboarders have been engineering Black Diamond ski skins to fit their boards for years. Black Diamond has an extensive retail network, which allows tip and tail clips replacements to be widely available. In certain instances, you can find this skin offered in rolls at a lower cost per foot; this is a unique offering and is an infrequent distribution model in the industry.

Performance Comparison


Evaluating the BD Glidelite to the Ascensionist in our head to head...
Evaluating the BD Glidelite to the Ascensionist in our head to head format.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Glide


Glide is the root word in Glidelite; the metric is also at the forefront of its design. This skin is 65% Mohair and 35% nylon, which helps support the design principles of making a glide centric focus, and that's exactly what they did. Glide becomes an essential part of splitboarding, as we spend most of our time climbing or walking through flat approaches. Effortless glide while climbing reduces the amount of energy you expend to conserve stamina for descending. This skin glides well enough to be able to capitalize on these efficiency benefits.

The Glidelite provides excellent glide with its 65% mohair carpet.
The Glidelite provides excellent glide with its 65% mohair carpet.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Grip


Gorilla glue-like grip is not an attribute that any mohair-nylon mix skin exhibits. Instead, this model provides plenty of grip and traction, especially if the user sticks to appropriate lower angle skin tracks and, understands the principles of good technique. With good technique, the Glidelite grips icy and wet skin tracks and inspires user confidence. Without good technique, a beginner may find themselves frustrated in the first few days; this can all be alleviated as you start to understand the mechanics more and more.

Ease of Use


The Glidelite is a very user-friendly skin that lacks frills and does the job. However, there are a few steps to complete before you can satisfy your hunger for powder. Out of the box, the skins need to be trimmed to length and width, and tapered. The tip clip also requires installation. Let's start at the beginning. The skin trimming tool provided was not our favorite but works fine. It has a sharp blade but lacked horizontal stability or strong bracing ability, which can result in a wavy cut. To give yourself the best chance of success, be sure to have a nice working space.

After you trim the length of the skin to fit your split, Black Diamond recommends tapering the tip; this increases glide. Tapering the nose requires set off measurements to ensure your angle and width are correct. Next, the tip clip needs to be installed, which requires a marker, a ruler, a #2 screwdriver, a pair of pliers, and a board. The actual installation process is pretty straightforward. It is more to do, which brings a larger potential for error than in the pre-installed offerings. After you have completed these steps, you can hit the skin track.

All the components provided in the STS attachment system.
All the components provided in the STS attachment system.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

The skin is very packable. The Glidelite rolls to be about the width of a Nalgene bottle or folds into a nice smooth package. This can be attributed to the thin carpet and simple, non-bulky attachment system.

The Glidelite has a supple hand feel and is easy to fold or roll.
The Glidelite has a supple hand feel and is easy to fold or roll.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

When it comes to ripping skins, they were relatively easy to rip apart, even on some colder mornings. The same goes for taking the skins off of the base. Aside from the installation and trimming process, the Glidelite STS is a user-friendly option for all your backcountry outings.

The BD adhesive of the Glidelite is easy to rip from the base in all...
The BD adhesive of the Glidelite is easy to rip from the base in all temps.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Attachment System


Black Diamond takes pride in their STS attachment system for there skin line for skins. The company has modified the STS system to fit the needs of a splitboard skin. As discussed above, the tip does require attachment. The tip clip is a coated wire that is anchored to the tip of the skin; the wire slides over the tip, which is a tried and true design that fits a variety of shapes. The STS System is quick to adjust and attach to the tail of the ski.

The STS system brings additional security - less a camming tail clip.
The STS system brings additional security - less a camming tail clip.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

The STS system only offers adjustments to board sizes that fall within a five cm range once the skin has been trimmed to length. This should not be a major issue for most individuals but worth noting. The tail clip has two components, which are angled to work in unison and add security. However, we noticed that the angle of the inline tail clip did not rest consistently on a variety of shapes, particularly more blunted tails. The attachment system works well but required our testers to reattach the tail clip on a few occasions. A large plus to the STS system is kits and clips are substantially more available than other options, making the replacement of any part easier.

Glue and Glop


Black Diamond provides the only consumer skin glue available for purchase; the Black Diamond Gold Label adhesive. The adhesive was reliable on our bases throughout a day of touring and easy to pull apart or off when the time came. We observed no glopping or plush saturation when testing this skin in wet and dry snow conditions.

Robust adhesive on the BD Glidelite holding strong.
Robust adhesive on the BD Glidelite holding strong.
Photo: laredo

Value


The Glidelite has a slightly below average price range for mohair mix skins. For those looking for skins in the glide performance category, we feel this is the best value for a mohair based skin. These skins are well made, and the incorporation of nylon should allow them to last for a few seasons of use, thus adding to their value.

Conclusion


The Black Diamond Glidelite is an all-around solid performer. In our testing, it never upstaged other models but also never fell short; it's a reliable skin built for is built for any day in the backcountry. The Glidelite is good for most intermediate to advanced splitboarders looking for a day in and day out mohair mix skin that is light and packable.

Isaac Laredo