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Teton Tested: G3’s Lightweight Alpinist Lt Climbing Skins

The G3 Alpinist LT skins are a lightweight option from G3 that will match almost any ski. Sam Petri photo.

I have been using G3 Alpinist skins for a few seasons now, and have found them to be more than acceptable. Not the fastest glide out there, but durable, a good balance in the glue that makes them sticky without being impossible to pull apart, solid grip in the skins and good water repellence in the plush of the fabric. So I was pretty interested to see how their new lightweight skin, the Alpinist LT, would fare. We had looked at their High Traction skins last season, and found they were great if you were looking to scale a vertical wall, but pretty slow if you had much flat walking to do on your tour. 

The Alpinist LT comes in short (153-169 cm), medium (168-184 cm) and long (184-199 cm) lengths and 100, 115, and 130 mm-width options. The short, 100-waist option weighs 234 grams per skin, although I tried the medium-length skin, which I was able to stretch out to fit a 187 cm ski, in a 115 mm waist width. My tool set is limited to a Leatherman, a few allen keys, and a bunch of busted bike inner tubes, so I wasn't able to get an actual weight on my test pair. Sorry. 

Construction And Design

G3's tip and tail clips are light, extremely durable, and accommodate perhaps the widest range of possible skis. Sam Petri photo.

The Alpinist LT cuts weight from G3's other skins by using thinner nylon plush and thinner sticky backing, both of which you notice right off the bat while handling the skins. They also use a lighter stainless steel tip and tail connectors and most of G3's skins have also skimmed skin material off the tail of the ski, opting to cover more of the distance of your ski with the rubber tail strap and a tapered finish to the climbing skin. 

On some skis with more rocker, like the 4FRNT Hoji, I wished I had more material to grab the snow back there as I climbed steeper tracks that had more of my weight in my heels, but overall this move saved weight without compromising much in the way of traction. Future G3 skins like the Scala feature more of the skin taken up by rubber in the tip, which makes more sense to me given that so little of your traction while climbing comes from your tips anyways.

The tip and tail climbs are great and highly compatible across a broad range of skis. I will say that on the Moment Underworlds I tested these skis with, which already had a notched tail that catered to the old style of G3 tail clips, I had to grab one corner of the tail or the other, but this was no biggy.

Of note, the piece of plastic that runs the length of the middle of the skin, which is designed to make the skis easily to tear apart, can be removed if your glue goes to shit to max out your grip.

On The Skin Track

Putting the ultimate Teton Test on the Alpinist LTs on Jackson's beloved town hill, Snow King. Sam Petri photo.

Having moved into the town of Jackson and father away from Teton Pass, most of my touring this winter consisted of touring up the town ski hill, our beloved Snow King, before or after work with the dogs for 1,700 vertical feet of some of the finest buffed cordoroy and/or tightest steep tree skiing you'll find in the Tetons. 

On firm groomers, I was able to hold myself easily on the skin track going as steep as the low 20º's, although much steeper than that and I began to slip considerably. I could pretty safely motor up a blue square run until I found a nice cat track to turn off of, enjoying the noticeably lighter weight of the LT's as I went. 

On the much flatter cat track, the lack of glide on the all-nylon plush was definitely noticeable. I don't tend to mind this much on steeper skintracks, but the lack of glide definitely comprises some rhythm and speed on flat approaches.

The skins fold up easy and, thanks to their lighter weight, pack down small and easy into a jacket. With the relative lack of bulk, I found I was able to skin with no pack on this mellow inbounds tours at Snow King, which I loved.

The Bottom Line

If you don't need award-winning glide for long, flat approaches, the G3 Alpinist LTs have plenty of traction while saving noticeable weight on the up. Sam Petri photo.

G3 has made and continues to make some cool improvements to their climbing skin lineup, whether it's lighter weight or more aggressive skin options, improved clips that accommodate a broad range of skis and splitboards, and innovations to kick weight off the entire package.

The Lightweight LT skins have fully replaced my normal Alpinists, as the loss in traction is very slight while the decrease in weight is significant. However, those who find themselves walking for long distances on flat ground for long periods in their normal mix of backcountry tours may want to hunt down skins with better glide, like G3's Mo Mix skins.

The G3 Alpinist LT skins retail for between $189.95 and $199.95, going up in price as you opt for longer and wider skins. 

From The Column: TGR Tested

About The Author

stash member Ryan Dunfee

Former Managing Editor at Teton Gravity Research, current Senior Contributor, current professional hippy at the Sierra Club, and avid weekend recreationalist.

Thanks for the shout out Ryan. And for all the traversers and gliders out there, G3 has launched all new 100% Mohair LT skins that will be available this autumn. Similar build and lightweight, but more glide and they pack up even smaller!