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G3 Alpinist High Traction Review

Alpinist High Traction
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Price:  $199 List | $128.93 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Great grip, secure tip and tail clips, average ease of use, convenient skin trimming tool included
Cons:  Poor glide, unreliable glue
Manufacturer:   G3
By David Reichel ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 4, 2016
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52
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 4
  • Glide - 25% 5
  • Grip - 25% 7
  • Ease of use - 15% 6
  • Attachment System - 15% 6
  • Glue Icing Glop - 20% 2

The Skinny

The G3 High Traction skins boast impressive grip, but are unfortunately sabotaged by very poor glue. If we reviewed these skins for a month or less, they would have been in contention for an award, but given that the glue failed after several months of testing, they ultimately scored far below what we anticipated they would after just a few weeks of testing. For that first month, they delivered a strong grip, along with a secure tip and tail attachment system. If this company would like to contend for the awards that they so clearly have the potential to earn, we hope they will continue to create innovative splitboard skin designs, and fix the glue issues.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

These skins are accurately named and do indeed provide a ton of grip when ascending. They feature the same innovative tip and tail attachment system found on the G3 Alpinist skins, but have a noticeably thicker and heavier skin material that provides better grip and worse glide.

Performance Comparison


G3 High Traction attached to a Jones Explorer. Note the innovative rubber that the clips attach to. The clip that attaches to the curving side of the board swivels to adapt to different shapes.
G3 High Traction attached to a Jones Explorer. Note the innovative rubber that the clips attach to. The clip that attaches to the curving side of the board swivels to adapt to different shapes.

Grip


With a name like High Traction, these skins better deliver strong grip and they definitely live up to that standard. No splitboard skins are perfect, but if these set out to achieve great grip, then they have certainly achieved that goal. The normal rules of physics and skin tracks still apply: if you use poor technique to climb a steep and slick skin track, you will likely still slip. If this happens, you should blame the jerk who put in the bad skin track or yourself for bad form, as the skins will be hard to blame.


Glide


This model is similar to the Voile Skins with Tail Clip which have great traction, but relatively little glide. This is less noticeable when ascending, but can be easily detected on flat or rolling terrain where these skins will glide noticeable less than a skin with better glide like the Alpinist or Jones Nomad.

Ease of Use


Comparable to the other Alpinist version that we tested, these come with very convenient skin trimming tool that helps speed up the process of fitting the skins to your splitboard. We did knock these down a few points because they are relatively heavy and bulky, which negatively affects their ease of use.
The G3 skin cutting tool was very simple to use and reduces the anxiety of trimming your skins if you haven't done it before.
The G3 skin cutting tool was very simple to use and reduces the anxiety of trimming your skins if you haven't done it before.

Attachment System


These skins feature the same attachment system found on the Alpinist model. The nose in particular is cleverly designed with a hook placed completely on the inside edge. While they are very secure, if set up tight, they can be tough to attach or release from the splitboard.

Glue and Glop


Like many new relationships, the first month was great, but then things started to fall apart. The glue worked very well when new; it firmly stuck the base of a splitboard, released reasonably well after being stuck to itself, and then re-stuck to base for multiple laps. After two months, we were experiencing large amounts of snow sneaking in between the glue and the base of the splitboard before we could climb a single peak or even tour particularly far. We regularly had to use several ski traps to hold the skins in place. This failure was unexpected and no amount of proper care (making sure the skin was totally dry and firmly pressed the base of the split)c could mitigate it. As a result of this experience, we knocked the score down significantly in this area.

Closeup of the G3 High Traction skins after about two months of use. The lines where glue has disappeared are visible just above the white tape. This white tape can be removed to expose fresher and stickier glue.
Closeup of the G3 High Traction skins after about two months of use. The lines where glue has disappeared are visible just above the white tape. This white tape can be removed to expose fresher and stickier glue.

Best Applications


This model would be a good choice for a snowboarder just getting started with splitboarding who has zero experience skinning, as the great grip will help make the new experienced of skinning up mountains easier. These skins would also be appropriate for the splitboarder who regularly finds themselves climbing overly steep skin tracks and isn't interested in breaking their own lower angle track.

Value


At $199, these skins are in roughly in the middle of our review fleet. For the right person, the price would be justified if we were more confident that they would provide years of reliable use. Given our poor experience with the glue in this year's model, that can't be said.

Conclusion


G3 is a major player in the backcountry ski and splitboard world. Not only do they have a good reputation for building quality products, but they are durable and reliable. While we were using ski straps to help secure fairly this new model, other people in our crew were using skins from this company from several years ago that were still going strong. Something appears to have gone sideways with this years' Alpinist and High Traction skins. Our hope is that this company can fix that going forward and will continue to innovate with their splitboard skins.


David Reichel