WHERE DOES GRIP COME FROM?

It’s one of the seemingly endless questions we ask to challenge the status quo of climbing skin design. Skins that cover the entire base of your skis are overkill and heavy. Most of your skin’s grip comes from just a few dozen centimetres under the binding while fabric on the tip and tail creates unnecessary drag. Exposed ski base and alternative materials can significantly improve glide and efficiency without affecting that all-important grip.

OPTIMIZE GRIP WHERE IT COUNTS

Grip (or traction) is a quintessential function of climbing skins, but it’s not the only function. Efficient climbing requires you to slide your skis along the skin track with each stride rather than lifting your legs to take steps. Hence, glide is another critical function of climbing skins. Dedicated to ski and splitboard climbing skin development, G3 constantly experiments with materials, design and engineering to find that optimal balance of GRIP, GLIDE and of course WEIGHT for any given backcountry situation.

Rupert Davies putting some skins to the test in the Tantalus Range, BC, Canada.
Reuben Krabbe

To find that sweet spot for optimizing grip while saving weight and increasing glide, we knew we couldn’t stick with the industry status quo of blanketing skis from tip to tail with redundant fabric. Through extensive pressure mapping and continuous field testing we continue to learn more about where climbing skin grip matters most, and conversely where we can save weight and enhance the glide.

Heat map or where grip is needed. Red = Most. Blue = Least.

NOT ALL TERRAIN IS EQUAL

Not every skin track is like a laboratory pressure test. With new R&D test skins constantly going out to guides and athletes around the globe, we know that any good backcountry adventure will involve technical sections of skinning through dips, concavities, rolls, avalanche debris, variable snow and more. Variable terrain will shift that pressure map shown above and require more traction from the ends of your skis.  To combat that we’ve introduced high-traction, multi-directional scales in our new Hybrid Tip Connectors in the SCALA and SCALA LT skins to maximize grip in funky situations.

Reuben Krabbe photo

CHOOSE WHAT’S BEST FOR YOU

Try as we might, one set of climbing skins can’t do everything, everywhere, for everyone. We have carefully identified a few optimal combinations of WEIGHT, GRIP, GLIDE and MATERIAL to best meet the most common needs of backcountry skiers and snowboarders.

For more details on how to select which of these skins works best for you, dig into our #G3U blog about “How To Choose The Best Climbing Skins For You”.

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