G3 does it again with their new MINIMIST Skins. They've made them lighter, more compact and easier to use. Not only that, they come in three varieties for those that want to maximize Grip or Glide, or, maybe just go for the trusty ole' Universal option? No matter your preference, lighter and more compact are always a good thing in our books!
The Backcountry Skiing Canada Team.
G3’s new MINIMIST Skins are their next generation of lightweight touring skins which are based off their successful ALPINIST+ and SCALA Skins. The main difference being that the new MINIMIST Skins don’t use a large TPU Tip Connector which enables the MINIMIST to shave off 100g when compared to the Scala Skins and 60g compared to the Alpinist+ (based on the Universal Long version). Keep in mind that these are per skin weight savings so you are looking at 200g and 120g per pair respectively. While this may not sound like much, it’s worth noting that since the MINIMIST only weighs 235g this equates to roughly a 25-43%weight savings which is pretty impressive. While G3 uses the same low bulk plush material on the MINIMIST it is bonded to a new ultralight backing and they also trimmed down the tail connectors to further increase weight savings.
G3 also claims that the MINIMIST are 30% lighter than any skin in their performance class as well as roll down smaller and therefore take up less space in your pack. Here’s a video we shot last winter at the Outdoor Retailer Show that explains a little more about the MINIMIST Skis, straight from the G3 staff:
G3 offers the MINIMIST in three varieties, Glide, Speed and Universal. This makes it easy for consumers to decide which skin is best for them since the name says it all. You no longer have to understand the differences between Mohair versus nylon and the pros and cons of each.
The MINIMIST Speed is the lightest and most compact of all the MINIMIST Skins due to its 100% mohair plush. It is designed to move fast on the skin track but will also have the least amount of grip of the three. Just a quick side note here, this was my favourite of all three MINIMIST Skins due to the incredible glide the skins possessed.
The MINIMIST Glide is comprised of 70% mohair for increased glide and 30% nylon for added durability and a good choice for those that want optimal glide and grip.
The Universal version of the MINIMIST uses a 100% nylon plush material to maximize grip and minimize water absorption when the snow is wet. These still have the same great compact size so they fit easily in your jacket or pack but do weigh slightly more and you’ll give up a little glide for increased grip.
The innovative tip & tail connectors found on the MINIMIST Skins are also used on all other G3 skins. They are minimal in design yet create a solid, lightweight connection to your skis and are super simple to use. This patented design uses self-aligning clips on the tips of the skins to easily fit on any shape ski.
To reduce snow creep between the tips of your skis and skins, G3 has used the same stiff TPU material found on the ALPINIST+ Skin but much less of it and instead they’ve integrated a stiff carbon fibre insert at the tip of the MINIMIST Skins to create a rigid platform.
Like all G3 Skins, the new MINIMIST Skins use a minimal cut so that the majority of skin plush is found under the centre of the ski where it provides the most grip, the tips and especially the tails use less skin plush which again saves on excessive weight.
G3’s philosophy with the new MINIMIST Skins is simple, by creating the lightest, most packable fully-featured skin in the world they have reduced the weight on your feet and the bulk in your pack so you can ski tour longer with less effort while not giving up versatility, durability and usability.
Last winter G3 announced the MINIMIST Skins at the Outdoor Retailer Show and of course I promptly requested a pair to test out. After spending most of last season using the MINIMIST Speed Skins on over 35 touring days I can honestly say that I put them through their paces. This fall I received the MINIMIST Universal and MINIMIST Glide Skins to also test. With all of these skins, two things that are immediately evident is that they are much lighter and more compact than traditional skins.
In order to properly test the various versions of the MINIMIST Skins and determine their individual strengths and weaknesses, I randomly select two skin versions and place them on my skis without consciously remembering which skin was on which ski. On the up track, I would try and identify the skin on each ski based on their glide and grip characteristics and to my surprise, it was not that difficult as their unique plush properties easily shone through and were evident after a few climbs.
I tested the MINIMIST Speed, Glide and Universal on bitterly cold winter days and the SPEED on warm spring tours, this allowed me to see how the glue would perform in the cold and how the plush would deal with the isothermic snow of springtime. Like all skins, the MINIMIST Speed absorbed some weight due to snowmelt on super warm snow days but the glue never gave up. On -10°C and colder days, I did notice that the glue lost some of its adhesion as all skins due at these temperatures. To minimize this I placed the skins inside my jacket which has built-in skin pockets for just this very thing. This seemed to help warm the glue and enable it to regenerate enough to stick to my skis. If you use this approach be sure to get on it early before the glue starts to lose adhesion. If all else fails you can always peel the Removable Rip Strip to increase the adhesion surface area with some fresh glue, but keep in mind this is a one-time deal.
As one would guess the MINIMIST Speed with its 100% mohair plush had the best glide or all the MINIMIST versions but also slipped more when the snow was super cold or the up-track icy. This is the nature of mohair and not a unique property to the G3 MINIMIST Skins. These are my preferred skin out of all three options as the glide it provided with each step was noticeably more than the Universal or Glide Skins and the loss of traction was minimal.
If you want to balance your grip with glide then the MINIMIST Glide would be the ideal skin for you as it has a much more noticeable grip on the skin track and a touch less Glide, which is provided by the combination of mohair and nylon.
If nylon is your thing and you want the ultimate in durability and grip and glide is not as important then the MINIMIST Universal is the skin for you. This skin is ideal for warm and wet spring tours as it will not absorb as much moisture and also works well when the skin track is icy or just super cold and slick.
When it comes to the MINIMIST’s connectors their minimal design provides the identical easy-performance of all of G3’s other skins—simple yet functional and foolproof. The MINIMIST’s tail clips were light and easy to clip to the ski and remove once the correct length and tension were set. The tail clips provided an ideal amount of grip so that they would not fall off but I have to admit adjusting the length of the MINIMIST tail clips was not easy given how they were threaded through the tail clip cam.
Overall, you simply can’t go wrong with the MINIMIST Skins no matter which variety you choose. I am partial to the Speed skins given how efficiently they climb and slide down declines. The glue on all three skin options was impressively sticky and some of the best on the market. If you want foolproof skins that are easy to use and (in my option) have the best tip and tail clip hardware on the market then pick up a pair of the new MINIMIST Skins—you can thank me later.
Price: $199 - $229CAN / $174 - $204US
X Short - 150-166cm long; Widths - 100, 115, 130, 145mm; Weight - 195g / 6.9oz - 248g / 8.8oz
Short - 161-177cm long; Widths - 100, 115, 130, 145mm; Weight - 208g / 7.4oz - 268g / 9.4oz
Medium - 172-188cm long; Widths - 100, 115, 130, 145mm; Weight - 222g / 7.8oz - 287g / 10.1oz
Long - 183-199cm long; Widths - 100, 115, 130, 145mm; Weight - 235g / 8.3oz - 306g /10.8oz
Price: $209 - $229CAN / $184 - $204US
X Short - 150-166cm; Widths - 100, 115, 130mm; Weight - 191g / 6.7oz - 227g / 8oz
Short - 161-177cm long; Widths - 100, 115, 130mm; Weight - 204g / 7.2oz - 243g / 8.6oz
Medium - 172-188cm long; Widths - 100, 115, 130mm; Weight - 217g / 7.6oz - 260g / 9.2oz
Long - 183-199cm long, Widths - 100, 115, 130mm ; Weight - 230g / 8.1oz - 277g / 9.8oz
Price: $229 - $239CAN / $204 - $214US
X Short - 150-166cm long; Widths - 100, 130mm; Weight - 183g / 6.5oz - 217g / 7.6oz
Short - 161-177cm long; Widths - 100, 130mm; Weight - 196g / 6.9oz - 233g / 8.2oz
Medium - 172-188cm long; Widths - 100, 130mm; Weight - 208g / 7.3oz - 248g / 8.8oz
Long - 183-199cm long; Widths - 100, 130mm; Weight - 220g / 7.8oz - 264g / 9.3oz
Did we miss something? Are we totally out to lunch? Let us know what you think. People like/dislike gear for different reasons so chime in below and we'll get a well-rounded evaluation. You'll need to login or register before you can comment but it only takes a few seconds, then you're good to go.