Update: Well, the 2012/13 season is closing up and we’re sending our testers back to Salomon. Consensus is that Quest is indeed a fully functional alpine skiing boot that tours. In terms of flex, Salomon rates Quest as a 120. While no industry standard exists for flex ratings, somewhat of a consensus has developed and folks who ski enough different boots can compare and rate subjectively. In view of that, one tester called these a “110.” In other words, if you like a boot with some give but also alpine-like support, Quest delivers. The fit is average in the last measurement area at a claimed 98mm, but subjectively roomy. That can make for a warmer and easier to fit boot, but for some skiers the shell might not be confining enough. No problems with the tech inserts or swap soles. The liners are beautiful; light and easy to thermo mold, with a fully reinforced tongue. Only gripe about the liners is we’d prefer the stock lacing to extend to the instep so our heel is anchored for touring strides when the shell buckles are loose. Conversely, if you don’t like liner laces they’re easily removed. If you’re shopping, be sure to do a carpet test as Quest is “different” in many ways, and thus might just be the boot you’ve been looking for.
I’d call this a higher volume boot with average forward cuff lean and a few innovative features. The tech fittings appear up to “standard.”
Following from a person at Atomic where they developed the tech inserts for Atomic and Salomon boots: “I’d also like to clarify a bit about our tech inserts… Currently, Dynafit has created 2 types of tech inserts — the original one, and the newer quick-step. The original design is available for anyone to use now since the patent has expired, so Atomic (shared with Salomon) has opted to create a tech insert that is 100% inline with the specifications of the original Dynafit tech insert, and therefore the same interface specifications to the TLT binding. The toe and heel inserts are made in Italy using the Lost-Wax (or Investment) casting process, which insures that the proper material hardness is the same throughout the entire piece. It is very costly but it ensures we deliver the proper safety equipment to the market…”
How stiff? I’d call the Salomon Quest backcountry skiing boot average when compared to the new crop of beef boots. I liked the flex as I don’t prefer boots that feel like I’m standing in buckets of cast concrete. The adjustable second buckle position is innovative. Lack of cuff “cant” alignment is surprising for a boot that can so obviously cross from backcountry, through sidecountry, to alpine. Worth a look if you’re shopping and don’t forget that they do have the Salomon “WTR” sole configuration that’s guaranteed to work correctly with Salomon’s Guardian frame binding.
One boot with liner, size 27.5 BSL 315: 68.3 ounces, 1938 grams
One shell, no liner, same size: 57.4 ounces, 1628 grams
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.