Forums The Gear Room Sparks (G3 high traction) vs. Voile skins
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    8 Posts

    Read all the reviews I could find about the sparks skins which are the same as the G3 alpinist high traction skins. People say they grip well. Checked them out in the store and the hairs felt a bit shorter than the voiles, but a little longer than the regular g3 alpinists. Wondering if anyone else has experience? The sparks look great with the integrated tail clips and everything but I’m worried about the grip. I’ve only gone splitboarding once and the most frustrating thing was sliding backwards trying to skin up.

    8 Posts

    (that backwards sliding was on a rental setup with voile skins)

    1448 Posts

    Both brands have a lot of time on snow – So I wouldn’t judge either setup on your first tour.
    Skinning is a developed skill, I still slide backwards at some point on most every tour, either due to conditions beyond the skins ability to grip (grade of up-track or icy conditions), Or because of my own poor technique, inattentiveness or fatigue.

    You might want to try setting your own up-track at a lower grade to start out. Also it helps a lot to stand up straight – eyes forward, pressing into your heels with your toes slightly lifted. It sounds counter intuitive, but it works.


    Shark Snowsurf Chuna
    Voile V-Tail 170 BC
    Voile One Ninety Five
    Spark R&D Arc

    601 Posts

    Hey Squid,
    There is also an element of technique to skinning. Regardless your setup, you’ll eventually learn what works best with your equipment.
    Another factor is board profile. While skinning, camber springloads more pressure across more of the base while rocker applies most pressure underfoot. Cambered boards usually backslide less; however technique can overcome this on a rocker board. Profile might have been a factor in your rental setup’s sliding. Backsliding hasn’t been an issue once I learned how to skin on that particular board.

    To answer your original question, most on this here forum think the High Traction’s grip trumps other skins b/c you can skin straight up a 25º+ slope. That’s pretty cool.
    I found as my skinning technique improved, I really started enjoying the feeling of glide; something I couldn’t get with the High Tractions. The BD/Voile strikes a nice balance between glide & grip. (I have Mr. Chomps for when I want to go straight uphill).
    Whatever you choose, I recommend tail clips in case of glue failure. Some dudes think they just slow you down, but I’ve never been in situation where that amount of time was critical. FWIW, you can simply pull back and slide the Spark tail clips over the end whereas the G3 requires a bit more finesse. I ended up w/Voile + Spark tail clips and am pretty pleased.

    Glide = nice payoff w/better technique. Not so hot for balls out, straight-lining uphill w/out crampons.
    Grip = still works well with poor technique and excels on multiple lap, yo-yo days.

    *More glide* Alpinist/Spark -> BD/Voile -> High Traction *More grip*

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    8 Posts

    Snurfer, thanks for the tips. I remember that feeling trying to put more weight uphill but then sliding. Realized that I needed more weight in the back to keep traction. Hans, I’ve got a Venture Storm. Hoping that the flat section underfoot would be nice for skinning. Am I wrong assuming that longer hairs = more traction? They look a lot longer on the voiles than the spark high traction.


    Skins are a tough one because everyone is skinning in different conditions, on different gear, with vastly different ability levels. It’s yet another thing that really comes down to personal preference.

    We carry both Voile and spark skins, and have never had either come back with any complaints. Both skins offer great traction and longevity, as well as decent glide.

    I have personally found tail clips to be fairly useless. If your glue fails, and trust me, mine has, the tail clips do nothing to keep the skin on. You will still slide off the side and be just as frustrated as if you didn’t have any. The only method I’ve found the helps save a glue failed skin is to use several Voile ski straps down the length of the ski to hold it on to get home.

    I tried g3’s and liked the performance, however I don’t like the nose clip. It doesn’t allow the skin to line up with the flat edge without have a small wrinkle in the skin by the nose, I have found this to attract snow and ice build up which could lead to a glue issue. Havnt ever heard of this being an issue, just something I noticed. The spark tail clip is awesome though, highly recommend if you want a tail clip.

    My current setup is Voile skins, cut off a few inches past the binding. Basically a 3/4 length skin. I ride a full reverse camber board so having skin all the way to the back of the board is pretty useless. I like the simplicity of the Voile nose clip, how well the glue holds up and how cheap they are.

    Good luck making a decision!

    24 Posts

    Is there a measurement/observation that you made on your board to decide on the skin length? and the change to 3/4? It makes perfect sense to me but didn’t want to just guess at it (unless I have to). I did notice that my skins do slack off the back of the board when skinning as they are not very weighted. Seems like about the length that you are describing.

    109 Posts

    I bought the G3s normal traction about a year ago. They are lighter than the Voiles and have the rear tip clip. I really can’t understand the philosophy behind leaving off the tip clips for the rear. You’ll never see a single AT ski setup with skins and no clip.

    I will likely buy a set of High Tractions to see how they improve my skinning, but I have actually been very satisfied with the regular G3s.

    291 Posts

    @prior_rider wrote:

    You’ll never see a single AT ski setup with skins and no clip.

    You do — hardly any rando racer uses tail clips. (for weight and transition speed reasons)

    675 Posts

    @FloImSchnee wrote:

    @prior_rider wrote:

    You’ll never see a single AT ski setup with skins and no clip.

    You do — hardly any rando racer uses tail clips. (for weight and transition speed reasons)

    Clarification — you never see any AT skiiers WITHOUT SPANDEX and no tail clips. 😀

    I have used both the regular Alpinist and high traction G3s, and the regular ones are much lighter and smaller, and I can’t tell any difference in traction. The glue on the Alpinist ones seems to stick better in the cold, maybe because it’s not trying to hold as much skin weight to the ski base. The Alpinists glide way better too…


    i like mohair and no tail clips, and i have as good of traction as i have ever had with g3, voile, bd…with extra glide.

    534 Posts

    I use regular G3 skins in the winter and the Voile / BD skins for spring corn. I have not tried the high traction G3s.

    In the winter it is much easier to set a switch backing track up a face and the regular G3s have plenty of traction for that. On frozen spring corn, I often skin straight up as steep as my tall heel risers will let me because sidehilling in those conditions is too much work. The regular G3s do not compare to the Voile / BD skins for traction on frozen corn.

    Size wise, I love the regular G3s compared to the Voiles.

    The glue gets funky quicker than I would like on both the G3s and Voiles. Spring corn / slush / pollen / tree debris / warm temps touring is really hard on skin glue though.

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