How To Choose The Best Climbing Skins For You

STEP 1

Understand the differences between and the advantages of GRIP, GLIDE, and WEIGHT as they pertain to backcountry ascent.

STEP 2

Prioritize and balance GRIP, GLIDE, and WEIGHT characteristics to match your ascent style and terrain.

STEP 3

Using the chart below, select the ideal skin model that meets your needs for GRIP, GLIDE, and WEIGHT.

GRIP

What: Grip is how well your skins grab the snow surface while climbing. More grip is typically achieved with stronger, more densely packed fibers in the skin’s weave. 

Who: Users who prioritize grip include those in high traffic areas with worn-in and/or icy skin tracks, those who prefer to cut steeper skin tracks, and new users not as experienced in the nuances of skinning technique.

Grip

GLIDE

What: Glide is the skin’s ability to slide over snow. More glide is achieved with smoother or fewer fibers or by using low-friction materials. Better glide results in greater efficiency, less fatigue, and bigger days.

Who: Users who prioritize glide include more experienced tourers with strong uphill technique and those on long, rolling terrain with fewer steep climbs, looking for increased efficiency.

Glide

WEIGHT

What: Weight refers to how light or heavy a skin is on your skis or in your pack. Weight can be trimmed by using lighter or less material. Users can also cut weight by trimming appropriately for their skis and style. Lower weight is a key component to efficient touring, less fatigue, and faster ascents.

Who: Users who prioritize weight include weight-conscious ski tourers and ski mountaineers.

Weight

WHAT WIDTH DO I CHOOSE?

Skin width is selected by considering the width of your ski and your desired performance. A narrower skin will offer more GLIDE and less overall WEIGHT, while a wider skin gives the user more GRIP. As a starting point, G3 recommends matching climbing skin width with the tail width of the ski as the most economical and efficient choice. If you are looking for complete ski base coverage, start with skins as wide as your ski tip width.

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