Dissecting the Salomon Quest Ski Boot Tech Fittings


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

We’ll, I was hoping this would turn out better. But it looks like I’ll never get Solomon as an advertiser, and I’ll probably have to buy my review boots from now on. But my focus is on you guys, the readers backcountry skiers who I write for and who I thank so much for visiting here. Backstory: A few days ago it was reported that a man had taken a severe fall due to the tech fittings failing in his Salomon Quest ski boots. Knowing how strong tech fittings are (I’d never heard of any ripping out of a boot), I was skeptical at first. But I heard from the accident victim and his friends, and it sounded like their take was real. So I blogged from that POV, but hoped I’d be able to test the Salomon fittings myself. Thanks to our guest blogger Jonathan Shefftz, who found an online source, I bought some fittings a few days ago and had them Fedexed. Then they endured the WildSnow tear down. Here you go, a public service to save folks from injury if not death.

Salomon Quest inferior tech fittings research.

Ordered online via retail, the fittings came in prime time packaging. Elsewhere it's been said that any problems with the fittings were the result of pre-production samples being used. This doesn't look like a pre-production sample, and the fact that I could still buy them retail a few days ago is somewhat of a concern, as you'll see as you read on.

Salomon Quest inferior tech fittings research.

First glance doesn't reveal much, except that the toe fitting looks different than Dynafit OEM, though it appears to indeed be one piece of steel rather than tiny fittings molded into each side of the boot (as some folks suspected). During this exam, I was already pretty sure these fittings were not made by Dynafit (as most tech fittings still are), but rather were a poorly executed imitation.

Salomon Quest inferior tech fittings research.

I began by locking the boot in a Dynafit binding, on a ski. But my test rig seemed to have potential for ski damage, so instead I screwed the binding to my workbench. I then simply inserted a 16 inch pry bar (otherwise known as an ANSI crowbar) under the boot toe using a chunk of wood as a fulcrum.

Salomon Quest inferior tech fittings research.

I applied a reasonable amount of force to the pry bar and boot, nothing extreme. The fitting almost immediately deformed and pulled part way out of the boot, then the boot ejected from the binding due to the fitting going out of alignment. In other words, a skier could easily do this by simply leaning back in a pair of ski boots. For comparison, I then placed a pair of Scarpa Spirit 3 boots in my test rig and applied the same force and more. With the Scarpas, there was no deflection of the fitting, they were totally solid. If I'd kept going with the Scarpas it was obvious I'd either damage the binding or rip it out of the workbench, so I didn't go farther.

Salomon Quest inferior tech fittings research.

The deformed fitting.

Salomon Quest inferior tech fittings research.

By softening the plastic with a heat gun, I then removed the fitting from the boot. It's obvious that the failure was caused by the ends of the fitting bending as indicated by arrows.

Salomon Quest inferior tech fittings research.

Tech fitting comparison, bent Salomon fitting at bottom, beefy Dynafit OEM fitting at top. Notice the location of the lightning holes, which in the Salomon fitting result in very little metal in a critical location.

Salomon Quest inferior tech fittings research.

Comparo on edge, Dynafit OEM at top, Salomon below.

In the first few moments of my testing it was obvious the Salomon fittings are too weak to function as tech fittings are supposed to. Where this is going I don’t know, but I’d most certainly call on Salomon to recall every last one of these sole blocks “pads” and any boots that include them. The sole blocks also came with the rear fittings of course, we’ve not tested or evaluated those yet and feel no urgency to do so, since the toe fittings are the proven issue. I made some video of the testing process, will try to YouTube that eventually.

Has anyone heard from Salomon about this? I’ll try to contact them.

Comments

129 Responses to “Dissecting the Salomon Quest Ski Boot Tech Fittings”

  1. Tuck April 22nd, 2010 3:10 pm

    That’s pretty alarming.

  2. Bryan April 22nd, 2010 3:11 pm

    Wow, what a fantastic and interesting post on a very timely topic. Great follow up to all the controversy!

  3. David Sadr April 22nd, 2010 3:13 pm

    This is simply mind boggling….

  4. Mike April 22nd, 2010 3:18 pm

    Thanks for making this post. I’ve been hoping to see more on the subject than was currently out there. I can’t believe that no one at Salomon considered this toe piece to be even remotely acceptable, even for beta testing, and especially since there were known failures during beta testing. Salomon’s lack of action on this is particularly despicable.

  5. bob yates April 22nd, 2010 3:32 pm

    i knew it, just seeing the photo’s from the fall. F THAT!!! ! let’s all remember what your above photo’s show is what happened, for real, week ago, resulting in castatrophic injury

    everyone should be calling their friends now and making sure no one is skiing these!!

    wow, just wow. think of yourself standing on top of a 40+ deg pitch, kinda firm, with rocks.

  6. ml242 April 22nd, 2010 3:43 pm

    I think I’ve seen some of their boots do that somewhere else pretty recently and to very sad effect.

    I’m going numb thinking about how they could market a “burly” boot for hard charging skiers with a skeleton about as tough as the inside of a roll of toilet paper.

    Those toe blocks belong in the trash but instead I have a friend laid up in bed from their use.

    There needs to be a recall of those toe blocks immediately, people who are not aware of this controversy are going to get seriously injured if Salomon can’t spread the word.

  7. Aaron April 22nd, 2010 3:47 pm

    How could Solomon have possibly thought that would work on a boot that is supposed to be the burly ripping hucking boot? Did they perform no engineering analysis or testing? Seems like a serious case of negligence.

  8. Lou April 22nd, 2010 3:52 pm

    Aaron, I agree, I’m just flabbergasted as to how a company could have done this. If you know ANYTHING about tech bindings or the forces that skiing can generate on a binding and boot, you’d know those fittings are too weak. There are people all over Europe that know about this stuff who could have consulted on this project. Instead…

  9. Greg April 22nd, 2010 3:53 pm

    ML242 this must have been incredibly hard for you and all of you guys to read. Thanks Lou for doing this test. Now the ball is in Salomon’s court.

  10. Colin in CA April 22nd, 2010 3:58 pm

    Wow. That is f’ed up.

    Lou, at some point in the future I will make a point to buy something from one of your advertisers through the sponsored links. Your independence and forthrightness on issues like this are a great service. Thanks.

  11. Lou April 22nd, 2010 4:01 pm

    Thanks for the support Colin!

  12. Sean Lohr April 22nd, 2010 4:06 pm

    Excellent work Lou!!! Its very unfortunate that people could be out skiing on these boots right now without knowing it. This blog post might very well save somebodies life. Salamon needs to speak up and make this known NOW!!! This is just horrible.

  13. Rob Roy Means April 22nd, 2010 4:13 pm

    While the tests many not use fancy instuments and yield mountains of numbers as the data, it appears that fitting failure could happen even to moderate skiers under fairly ordinary circumstances.

    It’s really awful that someone had to get hurt for this information get out.

    Lets see what Solly has to say for itself. I have some 30+ year old Nordic Salomon SNS boots that still work great. I’m inclined to think they’d prefer not to be perceived as screw-ups, negligent or worse.

    Anyway, thanks to Lou and Jonathan for their dilligence.

    Rob

  14. Allen dba Vt-freeheel April 22nd, 2010 4:15 pm

    Wow, I am appalled that Saloman “engineers” could think this would work. F*** Y**
    Saloman.
    Watching My Friend almost die because of a poorly designed product is hard to swallow. I really hope Salomans’ feet are held in the fire till they burn to a crisp.

  15. Jonathan Shefftz April 22nd, 2010 4:19 pm

    Having previously seen close-up pictures of the boot that failed in the field (with horribly results for the skier), the failure on the bench is not surprising.
    For me the really surprising part is:
    “Ordered online via retail, the fittings came in prime time packaging.”
    That box clearly has “TOURING PADS” integrated into the graphics, so it’s a box dedicated to this part, as opposed to just tossed into some random plastic bags or something like that. Almost seems like they spent more time designing the box than they did testing the product?

  16. Lou April 22nd, 2010 4:19 pm

    How many people were skiing with Dalton that day, anyhow? A couple dozen? :angel:

  17. Porter April 22nd, 2010 4:19 pm

    Lou. Great job. You do a great service to the backcountry skiing community. It’s appreciated.

  18. Lou April 22nd, 2010 4:20 pm

    Jonathan, exactly, the box is better quality than the sole blocks. I forgot to mention that I peeled the sole rubber off with my hand. It would have held up for all of 2 minutes to a rock scramble.

  19. SeatownSlackey April 22nd, 2010 4:34 pm

    Thank you Lou and Jonathan! :angel:

    I am so glad I haven’t yet skied my Quests. My feet have always loved Salomon boots but the total disregard this sloppy engineering & QC demonstrates, is more than enough to convince me to take my allegiance (and $$) elsewhere.

  20. Ben W April 22nd, 2010 4:44 pm

    Thanks for doing this Lou. Salomon should be deeply ashamed. They’ll never get another penny from me.

  21. Greg April 22nd, 2010 5:13 pm

    Lou, I think there were 5 or 6 plus Dalton in his party. Then another party of two skiers who winter in Sugarbush and who were in the same vicinity came on site to assist with the incident. Allen Taylor and I were on the other side of the mountain in the Great Gulf schussing pow and didn’t know anything about the incident nor did we hear the heli. We only found out much later that night when we got back to the car, but my understanding is that there ended up being alot of people though who were around the Presidential Range that day who quickly felt like “they were there” based on the nature of the injury, the speed with which information travels via cell service in much of the range, and the fact that, well, everyone just seems to know Dalton.

  22. Dostie April 22nd, 2010 5:17 pm

    Nice bit of investigative journalism. Imagine what we’d learn if the “repeaters” in the news industry learned how to follow up on a story like Lou. Oh, right, I forgot, can’t offend the advertisers.

    Good on ya Lou. I’ll bet Salomon will get PO’d, then revise their boots and send you a pair for final approval and once they get it, they’ll send the cheque with their ad in advance. Not before 2012 though. :wink:

  23. slave.to.turns April 22nd, 2010 5:23 pm

    Great job, Lou. It’s like you read my mind, I wanted to pry bar them too (actually, I just love to pry bar anything) and see how they would hold. As expected..pure sh*t.

    Wonder how a BD sole block would do..

  24. Colin in CA April 22nd, 2010 5:30 pm

    “Wonder how a BD sole block would do..”

    Good question. I suspect better than the Salomon: http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/showpost.php?p=2840474&postcount=125

  25. Lou April 22nd, 2010 5:33 pm

    I’m overall quite pissed off about this thing. It’s not only Salomon, but the whole ski industry that never made a standard for tech boot fittings. If there was an ISO standard you can bet Salomon would have adhered to it. But really, if you choose to make a tech boot you’re stuck with basically re-inventing the Dynafit wheel, on top of that, if you want the good fittings from Dynafit they cost a premium. So the incentive is to go it alone, make your own fittings, etc. Just a bad situation and though Salomon is no doubt responsible, the finger of blame is spinning.

  26. ml242 April 22nd, 2010 5:34 pm

    Greg,

    There were four in our party inculding TC, plus the three Sugarbush skiers that decided to follow us down skiers left chute rather than the waterfall chute. By the time that Ben M, EMT Hero from Littleton, NH got there I guess our group was picking up a tick NH a tick in the electoral college. Plus when the National Guard got there, about twenty people were prevented from ascending that Gully because the Helicopter would have put them in danger.

  27. Allen dba Vt-freeheel April 22nd, 2010 5:35 pm

    We were a group of 4, Dalton , myself , ml242 and fixed grip.. When the accident happens it ended near a party of 3 from Sugarbush. 10 minutes Ben Miller emt. skied into our group and coordinated the rescue. We had called 911 before he arrived. That would make 8

  28. Johnny April 22nd, 2010 5:48 pm

    I get a kick out of your testing method.
    Many times more legitimate (to me) than
    some shiny lab–Newtonmeters– degree
    of inclination for failure experiment.
    ANSI standard crowbar?
    The thinner metal and lack of of
    thicker (rabbeted) section as on
    Dynafit insert is problematic.
    While the Salomon piece aslo looks as if
    is a casting, I wonder if they blew it with the
    metallurgy. Plus the lack of material above the
    toe assembly, and little below does not seem
    thought out.
    Good work, hope Salomon doesn’t go “toyota” on
    you and say that they can’t recreate the failure
    (in a shiny, callibrated lab)

  29. Michael Finger April 22nd, 2010 5:48 pm

    Lou,
    A standard could address issues with the insert/binding interface, release values, etc., but it doesn’t mean it will stop crap getting to market. Look at all the DOT/auto market, yet there are plenty of car recalls a year.

    This is just plain shoddy work. I wonder if their insert supplier cut corners along the way and decided to change the design without telling Salomon or something.
    I find it hard to believe someone would let this get to market.

  30. Lou April 22nd, 2010 5:51 pm

    Yeah Michael, you’re probably right. But just imagine how tough it is for folks such as Salomon to basically reverse engineer the tech system. I’m sure if there was a standard this sort of mistake would be way less likely to happen. But perhaps I’m too much of an optimist and too trusting…

  31. Lou April 22nd, 2010 5:52 pm

    He he, yeah, the ANSI crowbar. I’m going to edit the post with that term.

  32. Warren April 22nd, 2010 5:53 pm

    Thanks yet again for your good work, Lou. If there were any sense or justice in this world, Salomon would send you a seven-figure check for spreading the word to save legs and lives. Also, Salomon should hire Dalton tomorrow as a retroactive field tester, with an instant million-dollar signing bonus, plus a million dollar a year salary for the rest of his life.

    The lunacy of that boot design is beyond belief.

  33. Lou April 22nd, 2010 5:55 pm

    Hmmm, perhaps I should direct my spotlight to the heel fitting. It looks reasonable but you never know… give me a few days on that one…

  34. Lou April 22nd, 2010 6:07 pm

    This reminds me, I keep forgetting to add something to our Dalbello Virus review about the incorrectly milled tech fitting on the Dalbello Virus heel. Not near as serious as the Salomon problem, but yet another example of this tech fitting nightmare.

  35. Lou April 22nd, 2010 6:24 pm

    BTW you guys, remember most of the photos on this post are click to enlarge. You can see a LOT more detail that way. Lou

  36. Brittany April 22nd, 2010 6:35 pm

    Great research and blog Lou. Way to be proactive. This whole thing makes me mad- and scared at the same time! People expect things like this in their equipment to work! It is clear Salomon either did not test their tech fittings (which is bad) or did test them and knew they failed (which is even worse).

  37. Adrian April 22nd, 2010 6:43 pm

    Wow, that’s truly terrifying :shocked:. Glad to see this test done though – now I know what NOT to buy…

  38. Scott G April 22nd, 2010 6:54 pm

    Good work Lou. Too bad Dalton got so injured due to these morons.

    this is outrageous negligence. Salomon deserves to pay for this injustice.

  39. Jim McHugh April 22nd, 2010 7:27 pm

    Thanks for posting, almost bought them two weeks ago for south sierra trip with the wife, guess I’ll be trying a different boot next year.

  40. Fernando Pereira April 22nd, 2010 7:33 pm

    Thank you Lou and Jonathan for filling the vacuum with hard information! One suggestion I’d have for future tests would be to measure the load by hanging increasing known weight from the far end of the pry bar until failure. A bit of lever geometry and arithmetic would then give us a rough estimate of the load for static failure. I trust the “reasonable amount of force” claim, but having some numbers would strengthen the claim.

  41. Michael Finger April 22nd, 2010 7:40 pm

    Lou,
    Would it be possible to test with the sole on the boot (shouldn’t matter I think based on the way the setup looks in the photos) and test if you can the inserts to fail without the bindings locked in skin mode.

    This is really scary too considering on skipass the rep was telling people to ski with the toe locked out (that seems like pretty bad advice to begin with…)

    As per the difficulty of designing inserts, well, if you can’t do it right just don’t do it or buy from Dynafit. Seems like BD got it right (and they did it in a swappable toe block too). so it’s not impossible.

  42. Lou April 22nd, 2010 7:43 pm

    The danger with that Fernando, and I’ve been schooled on it, is if you start throwing numbers around they have to be engineering accurate or they are actually pretty worthless. Also, you’d have to know the exact fulcrum point and lever arm to calculate how much force I was actually applying, even if you had the weight. (Though in the video I think I did try to estimate how much weight I was placing on the lever, shame on me.)

    I guess I could be more descriptive, and say that when I did this test with the Scarpa boot, I exerted more and more force until I could hear the screws start to pull out of the workbench. The force it took to damage the Salomon fitting was a mere fraction of that.

    Also, if it had taken quite a bit of force to damage the Salomon fitting I would have considered not posting this as there is indeed a grey area in this. But it took so little force I feel very comfortable putting this blog out as a safety alert.

    Best would be to have a pair of the boots and get a big strong guy to just lean back in the boots, bounce around a bit and see what happened. I can predict the results.

  43. Lou April 22nd, 2010 7:53 pm

    Michael, I could try that but the thing is it took so little force to do the damage I did, it’s really not that important what mode the binding is in. But to be sure, I just ran out to the shop and messed around. The Dynafit doesn’t really release upward at the toe even when unlocked, so the point is somewhat moot. Even so, I stuck the Scarpa in to the unlocked binding and pried up on it. I couldn’t get it to release without starting some damage to the binding or ski. So I’m 100% confident that the unlocked Dynafit binding will hold the Salomon toe in with enough retention to easily allow this damage. I would have tested the other Salomon toe, but I feel like I should be keeping one intact.

    My first thought a few days ago about this was indeed “good lesson in why not to ski with Dynafit toe locked or even partially locked.” But after Dalton and his friends described how easily he had come out, I knew something more was probably happening. And since I know from insider sources how these different companies are dancing around with trying to do tech fittings on their own, it didn’t take rocket science to hone in on the culprit.

  44. Michael Finger April 22nd, 2010 8:00 pm

    Lou,
    Thanks for the additional info.

  45. Lou April 22nd, 2010 8:01 pm

    Michael, the rep telling people to ski with toes locked was really weird, as that doesn’t make a wit of difference with this problem. What I suspect is that he either got translated wrong, or else there is actually ANOTHER problem with the Salomon tech inserts that causes a greater tendency to pre release. Observing my test, I could easily see they are not as hardened of a steel as the Dynafit OEM fittings, and perhaps they were quickly getting worn down to the point where they wouldn’t hold correctly.

    For a moment, I even thought the Salomon inserts might have been aluminum, and grabbed a magnet to test (they are steel, but obviously not very strong).

    Bottom line, a guy with strong hands could probably bend one of these inserts with his bare hands. That’s how weak they are, both because of the steel but also the location of the holes.

  46. ml242 April 22nd, 2010 8:09 pm

    If the metal had been buried in a hard plastic or screwed into the boot skeleton somehow, do you think that might have kept it together or is the quality of the metal so poor that there is no way the insert could have lasted more than a season without becoming useless?

    (like they wanted a planned obsolescence or disposable toeblocks to generate profits like razor blades, for instance)

  47. SB April 22nd, 2010 8:18 pm

    Wow, that is a great post Lou.

    I can see from the last picture just how much difference in strength there must be from the fitting. The amazing thing to me is that someone at Salomon had to be assigned to reverse engineer that fitting. They had to have, at some point, held their new fitting up to the Dynafit fitting like you did in the picture.

    What were they thinking? Didn’t they wonder why Dynafit made theirs so much beefier? If that person was actually an engineer, this is mind boggling.

  48. bob yates April 22nd, 2010 8:24 pm

    lou, super glad you are outing this with your blog, thx a bunch, your web presence is a great vehicle to begin to help the situation

    let everyone remember as they so easily see the failure that lou’s pics describe,

    someone was on these, and fell 800 plus vertical; on a steep, firm , tree littered slope.

    that’s how we found out about this.

    i am in disbelief..

  49. Jack April 22nd, 2010 9:21 pm

    Interesting test, Lou.

    The Salomon AT toe insert failure is so much more surprising because I’ve used many Salomon products for many, many years (and still use) on the lifts, skate skiing, and backcountry skiing with no failures. Have not used Salomon alpine touring products.

  50. Thomas B April 22nd, 2010 9:44 pm

    Home run Lou, great job.
    We should all expect more of this as companies becoming interested in us as a “market segment” and not because they ski tour.
    Lou, I am going to expect that a smart web surfing Salomon exec is going to not even try and spin this but instead hire you for mega millions to be there Quality Assurance guy instead :) you in turn will spread the wealth to this poster who happened to put the perfect PR correction idea out there :lol:

  51. Craig R.Grattan April 22nd, 2010 9:44 pm

    Hi Lou,

    Well done!!!!!!!

    Cheers
    Craig

  52. Montanajamma April 22nd, 2010 10:55 pm

    This is messed up. I think Lou brought up a really good point about how, this instance it looks like Salomon’s fault, but there is not ISO standard for touring. That is BS!!!!!!!!!!

    Salomon has been around long enough to know they messed up big time and I bet they’ll fix the issue, they’d have to. This kind of issue would put a smaller company under but a K2, Rossi or Salomon could recover.

    Does anyone know how many bad soles are out there? I thought these weren’t available until next year?

    Lou, you never cease to amaze me! Job well done

  53. Lee Lau April 22nd, 2010 11:33 pm

    You said (probably tongue in cheek) ….. “I’ll probably have to buy my review boots from now on. ”

    like you or Louie or Steve or whomever would be thrilled about trying Saloman boots in Dynafit or Tech compatible bindings in the foreseeable future. I think not.

  54. Adam April 22nd, 2010 11:34 pm

    Thanks lou I’ve been a long time wildsnow reader and this type of work and dedication is exactly why. I know a lot of people are outraged at salomon for this but I think we will have to see how they deal with it and that should tell us a lot about the company. I’m not too surprised this happened, with all these alpine oriented companies jumping into the AT market so quickly mistakes are bound to happen its just too bad that they happened to a skier and not in a test lab.

    keep up the good work lou

  55. Abraham April 22nd, 2010 11:41 pm

    Thanks for doing this so we can see the failure.

    I wonder if anyone would try this with a pair of the boots and just leaning back or to the side to generate the needed forces. That would be interesting to see. But I think the point has been made already.

  56. Walt April 23rd, 2010 12:11 am

    Made in China, no doubt. When are companies going to learn to stop dealing with that place? From the cheap, poisonous drywall that has to be removed from thousands of homes to the pet food and infant formula that killed so many. To every piece of junk from Walmart that looked like a good deal, yet fell apart or stopped work a few months later. Yet people don’t seem to learn and keep outsourcing North American and European jobs to a country that only cares about one thing… Their bottom line. (money) China doesn’t value human life and their record on human rights is atrocious. And for that reason alone, every one in the free world really needs to do is boycott all goods made in China.

  57. Colin in CA April 23rd, 2010 2:19 am

    Walt,

    The location of manufacture has nothing to do with the design of an item. It does not necessarily have anything to do with the materials-used, or the quality-control either. I’m fairly sure they were *designed* in France.

  58. Marius April 23rd, 2010 5:14 am

    Thanks for posting that, Lou.

    I linked this to our German-speaken Community http://www.powderguide.com/forum/showthread.php?t=649

    Hope this is ok for your.

  59. Francisco April 23rd, 2010 5:15 am

    I am coming in late to the discussion, but wanted to thank Lou for this service. I have been pleased with salomon products before, but now I will be reluctant to support them. I will be curious to see what kind of responsibility they will take with this issue. Amazing.

  60. Lou April 23rd, 2010 6:06 am

    Marius, feel free to link but NOT DISPLAY, please please do not publish my photos on that forum. By hotlinking like that, you just increase my bandwidth that I have to pay for, and I already pay to much. Please take my copyrighted photos off that forum. Thanks, Lou

  61. atkinson April 23rd, 2010 6:20 am

    Nice work Lou.

    There were indeed many people in the area that day. I broke a G3 toe pin on the ascent and thankfully sideslipped back to the car on relatively mellow terrain.

    My wife and friend continued up and skied just ahead of Dalton and the others into the Ammo Ravine. When the rescue guys started showing up, we volunteered, but they had plenty of help already.

    Since then, I’ve been having some misgivings about the whole tech system. I don’t break gear, yet if this happened a few minutes later in the day, I could have been in the same place as Dalton.

  62. Lou April 23rd, 2010 6:23 am

    Atkinson, what do you mean you “broke a G3 toe pin” ???? On an Onyx? Give more details please. Thanks, Lou

  63. Lou April 23rd, 2010 6:27 am

    The tech system is designed to be incredibly minimalist. As a result, building it requires top notch materials engineering and design, there is little room for error and much less strength reserve compared to other systems that allow for thicker and larger parts. This is what makes the system what it is, a lightweight ski touring binding, but it is also a weakness.

    I’ve always wondered if it was a mistake to market the tech system as a freeride system, as that creates expectations that might be unrealistic, and also induces companies such as Salomon to jump on the bandwagon.

    Just thinking out loud. Dangerous, I know. But I’m not the only one who has pondered the above…

  64. Lou April 23rd, 2010 6:36 am

    Lee, I was thinking along those lines yesterday, thinking ‘man, I’m glad I didn’t get sample boots in the Quest and put them out for testing with Louie or one of the other guys who are helping me test boots…”

    And this morning, it occurred to me that if I get any more tech bindings or boots in here, before testing in the field I will do some strength testing in the shop to protect my friends and love ones. Sad to have to do that, but until there is an international standard for tech fittings, I see no other alternative. Who knows what boots we’ll see next year…

    I should add that some WildSnow readers have asked me why we frequently don’t go all agro every time a new tech boot comes out, and review it like panting dogs the way some of the other sites do. Frankly, I’m over the panting dog review style, and more into getting the boots in for long term testing and so forth. Now I know why my instincts take me that way. Not that we won’t do “first look” blog posts, but I’m not going to panic over getting them done.

  65. ml242 April 23rd, 2010 7:04 am

    @ Greg,

    Not sure what this means, but we definitely were not there on a powder day like your comment/blog implies.

    If it had been a powder day i’m pretty sure Dalton would have told us to take another lap before getting the heli.

    (just kidding)

    I think I did see some FIS’ers in the parking lot (not sure, blue truck maybe?) but it was a very frozen morning with afternoon corn occurring near 1pm on lower slopes and blue, not wintry grey at all.

    I’m not sure where so many people believe they were there. Outside of the people stuck in the avalanche debris below the heli, the skiers that were present and the rescue workers, it was bizarre how buzzing the lot was. I guess TC did smoke us ascending to the summit so he had plenty of time to make extra friends, but there were really only a handful of (albeit all) internet savvy folks there.

  66. Sam I am April 23rd, 2010 7:09 am

    ^^^^^^ yes please watch what you post greg, I understand you need to promote your blog and your comment really provided no insight as to what may have happened, so perhaps the post was aimed at just that, promoting the blog, which is fine. But those were not the conditions that day, In fact I would bet that was 3 days later when the snow fell.

  67. Fernando Pereira April 23rd, 2010 7:54 am

    Related to the exchange between Atkinson and Lou: On every TGR thread on this and now here, the discussion of the Salomon debacle broadens to raise questions about the whole tech system. It’s plausible that this will affect Dynafit and other responsible manufacturers through no immediate fault of their own, which is a shame. OTOH, Dynafit might have been wise to anticipate this and prepare as their original patent expired and AT grew in popularity. As Lou noted several times, proactive measures like developing a standard, as painful as they are to achieve (standards bodies move like molasses contaminated with broken glass), can protect the integrity and reputation of a design. But another concern is that the tech system is being marketed very aggressively without regard for its design constraints (also discussed by Lou) and what it demands from the user. I’m not an aggressive skier, but I’ve taken a fall of several 100 vertical feet, fortunately without live-changing consequences, partly because I misread the conditions and released from a Dynafit binding hitting frozen avy debris faster than I should have been going. It was my fault, and I might have released from any other binding, but since then I’ve been even more conservative on how I ski my Dynafit gear; I don’t use it in hard snow or bumps inbounds, and I’ll take one turn at a time or side-slip if it’s very steep and hard. That’s completely fine: I love my Dynafit bindings and boots for the freedom they give me in long tours, and I’m ready to be more cautious on the downhill for that big benefit. But when I see images of talent taking off with tech bindings in the magazines, I wonder if that’s a good impression to create.

  68. Michael Finger April 23rd, 2010 7:55 am

    Looks like this has been picked up on the skipass site too..

  69. Michael Finger April 23rd, 2010 8:14 am

    The reason for the lack of standards stems from how the system was created.
    Dynafit invented the system and patented it. As the holder of the patent they had no reason to create a standard as they were the standard. If you wanted to make Dynafit compatible boots you just bought the inserts from them/paid royalties.
    When the patent expired companies started to try and get in on the action by engineering their own products, Dynafit isn’t going to have much interest in a standard other then saying our stuff is the standard, take a pair of calipers to it if you want to standardize, and maybe that’s where the industry should start. Right now my though is Dynafit has a huge head start on tech bindings and based on the mostly non-innovations I’ve seen so far I’m really not inclined to buy anything other then Dynafit in the near future. (maybe BD…) And why does Dynafit stuff cost so much? Probably all that design work they have to sink in to it. You get what you pay for. Salomon could have easily have bought the inserts from Dynafit but they decided not to so they could make more money on a pair of $650 boots. Scarpa somehow makes money with their boots.

    You see this closed design thing happen a lot when a company drops a lot into a making an awesome product that sells well. (iPhone, etc)

  70. Dave Bell April 23rd, 2010 8:19 am

    Great work Lou!

  71. atkinson April 23rd, 2010 8:26 am

    Yes Lou, it was an Onyx toe pin. It sheared off flush to the toe wing. There is no way to remove the rest of the pin, short of drilling in a very confined space. I mistakenly left the drill in the car too. ;)

    I love the feel of tech bindings on the uphill and have skied some pretty serious firm snow lines on them, everything from steep bumps to rocky couloirs. However, my level of trust has gone down. I have heard of Dynafit pins breaking too, so it is not necessarily limited to post-patent designs.

    John

  72. Pierce April 23rd, 2010 8:33 am

    DANG. This is truly mind-blowing.

    Just to be sure, Garmont and Scarpa are the only companies licensing fittings direct from Dynafit???

    I don’t think I’ll buying dyna-patible boots from anyone who isn’t licensing direct from the source until this becomes a standard.

    Strong work, Lou!

  73. Brooks April 23rd, 2010 8:42 am

    Nothing worse than when you are trusting your gear and the wheels come off….

    http://tinyurl.com/zb9k39

    Nice work here! Glad I decided to wait for next season before picking up a new pair of boots. I know some people who raved about the Salomons, but to my knowledge they are not using Tech bindings. Would be interesting to see with full boot in place on binding, what type of rearward force at the top of the boot cuff would cause the initiation of failure. With a full boot wouldn’t be too difficult to set up a test rig (and a spare binder mounted on the bench). Those big holes on the outside of the plate leave a perilously small amount of material to resist the bending. Small flanges like the Dynafit make a lot of sense…

  74. Lou April 23rd, 2010 8:46 am

    Brooks, you can almost bend that fitting with your hand (or could if you were strong)… the amount of force you’d need to do it with a ski boot would be no big deal.

  75. Salomon April 23rd, 2010 9:05 am

    Salomon has been informed of a potential incompatibility when using Salomon Quest Pro Boots and low tech touring bindings (ex: Dynafit, G3 Onyx model, Plume, ATK Race). The same applies to the touring pads which were designed to allow other Quest boots to be compatible with low tech touring bindings.

    Salomon Quest Pro Boots are compatible with the other touring bindings compliant with ISO9523 standard. Salomon started an investigation concerning the compatibility of its Quest Pro Boots with low tech touring bindings, immediately after being alerted to this potential problem and these investigations are still ongoing.

    As a precautionary safety measure, Salomon announces that Salomon Quest Boots having a metal tech-fit for low tech touring bindings (Quest Pro boots) should not be used until further notice, and should be immediately returned to Salomon. For returns, contact Salomon at (801) 624-7581. The same return request applies to the touring pads which were designed to allow other Quest boots to be compatible with low tech touring bindings.

    There are very limited quantities of these boots and pads in the market. While most of these products were distributed without charge for trial purposes, a very small number may have been sold. In either case, the Quest Pro boots and touring pads should be returned to Salomon by retailers and skiers. Appropriate replacements or credits will be arranged.

    Any further questions should be directed to Salomon customer service at the number above, or Mike Aicher, Senior Product Category Manager at 801-624-7568

    Salomon USA
    2030 Lincoln Ave
    Ogden, UT 84401

  76. Jonathan Shefftz April 23rd, 2010 9:13 am

    “While most of these products were distributed without charge for trial purposes, a very small number may have been sold.”
    - *MAY* have been sold? At least three U.S. retailers definitely sold them. (A very small number, yes, but they were definitely sold.)

  77. Tom Gos April 23rd, 2010 9:28 am

    Clearly this is a defective product, but it appears it would be fairly easy to remedy. Nice to see a responsible response from Salomon. Lou, just out of curiosity, did you send your observations directly to Salomon?

    It would be interesting to see how other removable tech fitting soles compare to a similar test.

    I agree that Dynafit should have created a standard for the tech fitting. Heck, they have to have a shop drawing or something as they probably outsource the production of the fitting. It wouldn’t be that hard for them to create a standard.

    Speaking of product failures, there seems to be a known issue with the cant mechanism on the Dynafit Titan boot. Certainly not as serious an issue. Lou do you have any info on the Titan problem?

  78. Colin in CA April 23rd, 2010 10:48 am

    Jon, let me translate that for you…

    That’s “lawyer” for “We know they were sold, but we’re trying to appear responsible and persuade the reader that we care.”

  79. CF April 23rd, 2010 11:27 am

    Thanks Lou for investigating and testing.

  80. Njord April 23rd, 2010 12:00 pm

    Lou,

    I’ve got some more special duct tape that will surly fix those inserts….

    :) Njord

  81. Greg April 23rd, 2010 12:02 pm

    @Matt and Sam. Sorry dudes. Wrong powder day on Mount Washington link. My link above was to the powder day on MTW the Sunday after the Wednesday of the accident.

    @Matt: It was a powder day in fact on the Wednesday of the accident. Not really much I can say besides that… Not deep. But we were skiing pow. Here it is the correct link to the powder the day of the accident.

    And as you both have astutely noted, the link must have surely smacked of promoting our blog. Yeah thats gross… and not what I intended. I meant to point out the fact that it was a powder day the day of the accident to provide yet more evidence that the Salomon Quest issue was an equipment issue. For readers a continent or more away, it might be all to easy to assume that the day of the accident was an icy death day like can often happen up on MTW, and perhaps the boot snapped under ice conditions. This was just not the case though tat day. I figured a report of the conditions on the hill that day would not go amiss in this discussion. If I had been thinking clearly I would have enunciated my intent of the link more clearly… as well as provided the correct link. Neither of which happened. Anyway, Sorry about that guys. I can see how it came across the wrong way.

  82. gonzoskijohnny April 23rd, 2010 12:14 pm

    Fantastic piece of research and investigative work Lou!
    It is about time real facts show up on web pages, and dang if it wasn’t with THE ski man!
    I wonder if we will be seeing info/marketing from Scarpa, Dynafit, Garmont, etc. that they are using REAL dynafit toe pieces so we low tech standardbearers KNOW we are getting the real deal and full compatablity.
    Your test also underscores how hard you have to back-seat ski to force a TLT upward toe release!
    This is just another example (with dire consequences) of “Beta release” or first year production “field testing” that a few too many profit motivated companies rely on these days- to have rushed things out when a few more days in the lab and CAD screen could have been well spent.
    Walt- I am 100% with you on chinese boycott- but that doesn’t make them the ONLY place sourcing junk and toxins, maybe just the most flagrant (captiolism without conscience!).
    BTW Lou- I think it would be accceptable for you to give a rounded force figure, qualifed with +/- range (ie- 30 lbs+/-10 lbs) as an engineering acceptable manner to an approximate strength. It is the bogus”22.3 lbft” figure, (with accuracy/repeatibilty of +/- 9 lbft that goes un-mentioned) that wacks the facts.
    Of good note is the screws -ripping wood comparison with the DYNAFIT insert strength- likely the guys at Dynafit have actual engineering and testing strength figures for their part.

  83. Tom Geldner April 23rd, 2010 1:28 pm

    Great write-up and very scary. One minor point though. I don’t believe the purpose of the holes in the metal fitting is for “lightning”. Rather, they are there to give the plastic something to mold around and through to help maintain the structural integrity of both parts. Not that it helped any.

  84. ScottN April 23rd, 2010 3:37 pm

    This reminds me of another one of Salomon’s binding issues, the pilot classic equipe binding used for classic cross country skiing. I know, its just xc skiing, its not committing to it in some steep couloir far from civilization, but its the principal of the thing, i.e. Salomon putting a binding out with a known defect, either that or they just didn’t test it adequately beforehand and yet still released it to the public. Doesn’t that constitute negligence? I’d hate to be a Salomon rep right now. Thanks for sharing this Lou. Sorry for using the xc skiing example, the last thing you need is a bunch of lyrca-clad nord nerds around your site :happy:

  85. Lee Lau April 23rd, 2010 5:06 pm

    Lou,

    I’m pretty mad about this exactly because it could have been me or my wife or you, or your wife or your son on those boots testing them for a review. I review because its kind of fun ; certainly don’t want to die or risk serious injury doing it. Now what do we do? Refuse to test gear from companies we don’t know? This is Salomon – they’re big; they must have a decent R &D budget, decent engineering, competent designers. They must have had these boots tested IN DYNAFITS for their intended use, whether touring or skiing right?

    Well then, now that Salomon screwed this up royally what do you, or I, or Steve Romeo, or anyone else who reviews gear says when a new kid on a block wants some gear reviewed? To answer my own question, I guess we test it on inbound groomers on green runs to start.

  86. Jonathan Shefftz April 23rd, 2010 5:42 pm

    “This reminds me of another one of Salomon’s binding issues, the pilot classic equipe binding used for classic cross country skiing. I know, its just xc skiing, its not committing to it in some steep couloir far from civilization, but its the principal of the thing, i.e. Salomon putting a binding out with a known defect, either that or they just didn’t test it adequately beforehand and yet still released it to the public.”
    – I’ve been thinking about it the exact opposite way: our household has 10 pairs of Salomon xc bindings and 3 pairs of Salomon xc boots (plus 2 pairs of Salomon-compatible boots from other companies). My understanding is that the SNS interface on our boots (whether Pilot skate, Profil, or BC) is in there so solid that everything else is going to fail (binding, mount, bones, etc.) before the bar ever rips out from the boot.
    – But my xc racing is almost entirely skate, and I’ve been only vaguely aware of the Classic version of the Pilot binding. What was the defect? The only issue I was aware of is that the design seemed like a solution in search of a problem.

  87. Johnny April 23rd, 2010 6:40 pm

    Referring to the testing method, in the future
    we will be hearing references such as,
    “using the Dawson protocol, it was found….”
    Though I like the hyphenated type—
    ” It was discovered, after applying the
    Dawson-Shefftz model, that…”
    Boy, does Salomon know how to put out
    a say nothing press release.

  88. Rob April 23rd, 2010 10:19 pm

    Wow…Just looking at it… and doing some back of the envelope calculations, I’m guessing about a 0.05m (5cm) lever arm, a 2cm long by about .2 mm thin plate, analyzed using beam bending which is actually not entirely the right choice here:
    S=Mc/I=F(0.05m)(0.001m)/[(1/12)(0.02m)(0.002m)^3]=3.75*F MPa (F in N). Taking standard yield strength of steel as 250MPa, you’d only need about 67 N to break that. Google tells me that’s under 15 lb(f). Now I could be off since I’m kinda eyeballing the measurements, and it really should be analyzed by plate theory not slender beam theory but that’s a pretty simple calculation. (Just to point out, if I’m off by 50% on thickness, the load increases by 50%, but I’d really like to see a thickness of at least about 7 mm on those plates…
    - R

  89. Lou April 24th, 2010 6:06 am

    Rob, that’s great. Perhaps I’ll get Louie to mic the plates today and get you the measurements via a comment here, or a weekend blog post.

  90. Madisonian April 24th, 2010 9:59 am

    What is the lever in actual skiing? The distance between the toe pin and the ski edge?

  91. Lou April 24th, 2010 10:05 am

    Mad, there are several leverage forces applied. The strong one I believe instigates this failure is leverage rearward on the cuff of the boot, forcing the toe upward. But there is also a leverage from the cuff of the boot going to the side, and thus placing a lifting force on one side of the toe. I can think of several more but those are the ones that in my view easily apply enough force to cause this failure in real life.

  92. Lee Lau April 24th, 2010 10:06 am

    madisonian.

    or depending how you fall – the distance between tip of ski and toe pin, or tail of ski and toe pin. Or maybe if you fall when touring that distance will be altered depending on how you fall. Like many others I think the force on the toe pin might be greatest falling when in touring mode because the toe will be locked out and all the force will be concentrated on the toe. But this is all speculation of course

  93. Lou April 24th, 2010 10:47 am

    The toe doesn’t release upward, locked or unlocked…

  94. Lee Lau April 24th, 2010 12:24 pm

    it does release laterally when locked out though hence the statement “maybe if you fall when touring that distance will be altered depending on how you fall”.

    In the end the conclusion would be you don’t want to be on a poorly designed boot (ie the Quest) which has the potential of failing

  95. Derek April 24th, 2010 12:53 pm

    Thanks Lou. Great journalism indeed.

    Dostie, aren’t you one of those “repeaters.”

  96. Gray Petty April 24th, 2010 1:17 pm

    HS,

    Any indication that the insets or the bootsole itself is different on the pair your gf has?
    Maybe a different production run. (I know highly unlikely given the small sample size) Or even a different “test” pair.
    anything that might show why they haven’t had any problems.

    I would agree with Lou on sending them back, even if there doesn’t appear to be anything wrong with them.

  97. Cray April 24th, 2010 2:47 pm

    Lou,

    Great work! The Salomon insert is obviously a go-cheap. Are the boots made in Asia?

  98. peter gold April 24th, 2010 5:58 pm

    Lou–Much thanks man–everything else has been said–but I was planning to give this system a look next winter–the Dyn bindings and the quest boots…
    And now I just might stay with my Radium/fritshi setup for the time being.
    Good investigative work–and good write-up.
    Thanks.

  99. Lou April 25th, 2010 5:58 am

    Peter, your point is super IMPORTANT. This is where the Dynafit brand and company perhaps shot themselves in the foot at least a little bit when they didn’t work harder over past years to create a boot fitting standard along with other companies. Why the problem? Simply because even though a company such as Salomon is NOT getting their fittings from Dynafit, and they are “tech” fittings not Dynafit, a person such as yourself is letting Salomon’s failure to make good fittings influence your choice of bindings, and you’ve decided not to use Dynafit bindings — based on Salomon’s crumby fittings.

    Hindsight on my part, yes, but I’m no business guru. Seems to me someone smarter than me could have thought of this ten years ago.

  100. Gerry April 25th, 2010 8:37 am

    How the hell does that make it to production? Especially with Salomon’s money for R&D.

  101. jay beaudin April 25th, 2010 2:28 pm

    Looks to me to be a goood idea. Execution of the idea was poor and shallow but I hope SOMEBODY follows this idea through to success. The ability to make more boots tech-capable is a great idea.

    The now-a-days market that helped AT skiing catch on is driving some interesting products, clipskins, fat tour skis, more binding choices is great. Sure beats the the choices and safety of yesteryear gear.

  102. Rob April 26th, 2010 9:46 am

    I’d be willing to bet that the engineers assumed that more of the load would be carried by boot itself. However, the strongest Pebax I could find was about a tenth of a percent as strong as steel, so I’m not sure how reasonable a decision that was to make. Certainly assuming that all the shock load must be carried by the steel is a bad decision, but, at the same time, assuming the plastic will carry much of the load might be an equally bad idea, especially given the construction. If I recall correctly from the boot deconstructions I’ve seen, most other boots solidly embed the tech fitting in Pebax. On the Salomon boots, they are sandwiched between the Pebax and the sole material. The sole is barely going to provide any rigidity at all. That may also be part of the problem.
    - R

  103. jonas April 26th, 2010 10:43 am

    Hi Lou,

    Was curious for clarification sake. You talk about performing the test on the boot, but the pictures just show the sole in the binding on the bench. Was the sole attached to the boot during your test? Thanks for investigating this and getting this info out there.

  104. gonzoskijohnny April 27th, 2010 12:40 pm

    Johnathan S- – “But my xc racing is almost entirely skate, and I’ve been only vaguely aware of the Classic version of the Pilot binding. What was the defect? The only issue I was aware of is that the design seemed like a solution in search of a problem”.
    EXACTLY! the old profil works great in classic! Salomon invented a problem!
    The Pilot problem is in the rear spring/clip of the classic binding.

    As an ex-nordo racer, the old Salomon SNS Profil skate and classic systems worked great and were largely were indentical, except for toe rubber stiffness- the classic needs toe to flex deep (kick off), the skate use does not want so much flex (keeps heel to ski for lateral ski control).
    Solomon “improved” the skate system with the Pilot bindings- a 2-bar boot sole and a binding with a toe pivot bar and a hooked midsole lever to more ridgidly control the base of boot to top of ski- works great (but so did the stiff bumpers on the profil) If you are a serious racer, with soft and firm, warm, wet, and cold snow skis, you suddenly need 4- 5 new pairs of bindings to buy with a new pr of boots. Salmon sold a TON of new bindings due to the “must have” new improvent and a bunch of ads and marketing. (BTW -the new pilot boots work fine in old profil skate binding- but no one in retail will tell you that).

    I guess in the interests of more sales they also came up with a classic pilot binding with 2 bars – front to pivot as prev., the rear goes to a measuring tape-like band that allows for heel lift at a specific rate- just like the soft old SNS front bumpers did. Euro TV coverage of WC classic ski races indicated about 2-3% of each field quit each race in the first season of use as this spring-strap broke on the the bindings. Of course no old profil boots have been made for classic in years (needs space in front of toe for rubber piece), so you either have 5+ yr old floppy boots with old SNS system, or a big expenditure likley to fail.
    But Salomon’s answer to to fix the faulted system-we get an all new, unique Salomon sytem for next year= another
    1 pr new classic boots @ $ 300+
    AND
    5 prs new bindings @$100+ each.
    cha ching, cha ching! :dizzy:
    Salomon again shows htey are more interested in profit than in quality.
    I have TLT bindings 6+ yrs old that work just fine with annual re-builds and 50+ days / year- I think i will stick with the Dynafit teck system and real boot manufacturers :smile: .

  105. Pete May 4th, 2010 7:14 am

    I just checked the Salomon web site(s) and I see no mention of Quest boots there, nor do I see any notice or recall info pertinent to that boot, yet I can still search for a find online retailers offering this boot. Hopefully Salomon is reaching out to those retailers and notifying them of potential problems but it probably wouldn’t hurt if readers notified retailers as well in hopes of avoiding another end user situation.

  106. macdadmorgan May 21st, 2010 5:19 am

    Amazing what a company will do to get the product to the market asap. Worst thing in the world is not having confidence in your gear, but when you do, and its the gear that fails, that’s when things can go horribly wrong. i.e. Dalton’s case.
    I am just finding out about all of this, and looking at the test, that pisses me off. I hate to imagine what Dalton, and the crew went through that day, and will continue to go through. Marketing it as a hard core AT fitting. That’s just a scam.
    I will join the boycott of salomon, and affiliated company’s. I will continue to use my 920′s from the 90′s, a product that was built to last, from an era for salomon that is apparently long gone.

  107. Neil Smith September 6th, 2010 11:45 am

    Wow, I just read on Jason Mitchell’s blog about the issue with Salomon Quest Pebax Pro Ski Boot. Never knew skiing was this technical !
    This is a great list of what to look for when buying ski boots :)

  108. Lee September 6th, 2010 2:30 pm

    Salomon are owned by Amer Sports who also own Wilson, Precor, Atomic, Suunto, Mavic and Arc’teryx. Releasing products which don’t work and haven’t been tested seems to be a company speciality e.g. Suunto Lumi and Core. Vote with your wallet and give them all a miss.

  109. Derek October 27th, 2010 9:38 pm

    Wow, just saw this. Great post Lou, very informative.

    You’d think there’d be a bit more engineering and thought involved with a company that has the resources that Salomon has.

  110. Ray Garrett October 31st, 2010 7:19 am

    Remember, Salomon is Atomic now, no surprises here

  111. Lukas Schaub February 21st, 2011 7:38 am

    Although it seems that the tech fittings of the Salomon Quest 12 are not as solid as others, I’m wondering if the main problem isn’t rather the Dynafit binding. I don’t think that the Salomon fittings break if you use the Dynafit on release mode. Some skiers lock the Dynafit binding to prevent unnecessary releases and therefore take the risk that something else breaks – the fitting or the leg.

  112. Jonathan Shefftz February 21st, 2011 7:40 am

    You can stop your wondering — they failed in the field (with catastrophic results for the skier’s leg during the subsequent fall) during a very normal turn at only moderate speed. Another pair even failed while skinning.

  113. Lou February 21st, 2011 8:13 am

    The “strength chain” is actually a common situation with many manufactured goods. For example, when you’re building the front axle for an off-road vehicle, you have to choose how strong the axle shaft is vs the steering U-joint vs the ring gear and so on. If you do it right, you choose one component as the “fuse” that breaks first. The fuse is ideally the easiest to repair and the least expensive of the chain.

    Same thing applies to boot/binding/ski “strength chain,” only it’s tough to know what’ll go first given how little information we really have on things like the various strengths of screws in skis. But the concept is important.

    Whatever the case, the failure of anything in the boot/binding/ski chain is going to be catastrophic and eject you from the ski.

    Of course we ultimately want a boot/binding/ski strength chain that never fails, and accomplishing that is possible in the case of most skier and gear combos (as real world use shows). But since we need gear that compromises strength for lighter weight, in some cases it’s going to break. Personally, I’d rather the “fuse” be the binding screw holding power.

  114. Lou February 21st, 2011 8:18 am

    Lukas, we try hard here to be fair to industry and business, and try to keep things positive. Thus, it was a sad day last spring when I had to report on how weak the Solomon tech fitting was, but reality sometimes bites. Take my word for it, the fitting was exceptionally weak. When I first heard the report of the injured skier I too thought, hmmm, big guy with big boots, locks binding, what does he expect? But after testing the fitting, I’m 100% certain it was exceptionally weak and would have failed no matter what. For example, even if the Dynafit binding is unlocked, it is still essentially locked for upward force at the toe, and immense upward force at the toe is created when a large skier in stiff boots leverages against the rear (spoiler) of his boots. Likewise, the “rolling” forces created when you’re turning are immense and the binding has to hold you in and transfer those forces from boot to ski — locked or not.

    What is more, as far as I knew this type of catastrophic boot fitting failure was unheard of before this incident, and hundreds of thousands of skiers ski with their tech binding toes locked.

  115. Lorne Wensel February 21st, 2011 11:07 pm

    This boot has upper buckle failure. I have mine fail twice and break apart.

  116. Flour Mill May 26th, 2011 4:28 am

    one way you can test this is go to a ski shop or borrow anyone’s standard alpine ski boot and place your boot sole to sole and heel to heel with the other boot .. if the width of the front sole and the width of the heel fit exactly then there will be no problem, if your boot is wider in either the front sole or heel there may be an issue.

  117. Josh October 22nd, 2011 8:37 pm

    Is there any follow-up to this? I was looking into getting this year’s Quest, but after this post I’m not so sure. Any word if the issue has been fixed?

    Talk to any industry insiders about what they’d like to do about a lack of standards for similar pieces?

    Do you get any Salomon advertising? :wink:

  118. Jonathan Shefftz October 23rd, 2011 6:51 am

    Salomon “fixed” it by giving up (at least on this season) on compatibility with Dynafit and other “Tech” bindings and instead continuing to develop (and now promote) its Marker Duke/Baron competitor.

  119. David October 31st, 2011 10:21 am

    @Josh
    I’m thinking the same. I like the boot, but this is quite alarming.

    @Jonathan
    How do I identify if the boot I am looking to buy is ‘fixed’ or not?

  120. Jonathan Shefftz November 1st, 2011 3:11 pm

    If a Salomon Quest boot has “Tech” fittings, then it’s the recalled version (and shame on any shop or other seller for being unaware of the recall).
    If a Salomon Quest boot has somewhat rockered rubber “pad” but w/o “Tech” fittings, then it’s the “fixed” version (i.e., “we failed miserably on our first attempt so for the time being we’re just giving up entirely”).
    And sorry for the delayed response: today was ski day number six in a row, but also the third day in a row without power.

  121. Codiac November 24th, 2011 10:14 am

    So at this point would anyone recommend buying the 2011/12 ‘Fixed’ version (bc this boot seems like it would be pretty badass if they just fixed the toe fitting), or a different brand altogether? If you would recommend avoiding this boot entirely, what are some other similar style boots from other brands that may be better quality? thx for this review Lou – I’m glad I found it before I bought these cool-looking boots just bc they were marketed as a rocksteady and capable for the occasional backcountry hike

  122. Lou November 24th, 2011 11:39 am

    The boots are fine if they don’t have the tech fittings… and they told me a long time ago that they were redoing the tech fittings and would eventually supply the boots with them again. Lou

  123. Frame November 25th, 2011 7:09 am

    Codiac,
    I’ve been looking for a one boot quiver for alpine and touring (swappable soles, with tech binding compatibility). I narrowed it down to the Dynafit Titan or Technica Cochise – both reviewed on this site and both available where I live. I also understand that Scarpa’s typhoon and hurricane have swappable soles (if that is indeed what you are after, not sure about tech binding compatability).
    I ended up with the titan based on them fitting the best with my skinny ankles/calf/heel.
    The salomon offerings were widely available here, but I was after tech compatibility for planned/dreamed future upgrade from my current plate touring binding.
    I’m moving up from alpine boots and the walk mode, around the house, is amazing.

    If you Nth American’s are felling generous, can you send some snow towards Europe, need to test these things.

  124. Codiac November 25th, 2011 7:22 am

    Thx Lou & Frame

  125. Gem March 6th, 2012 8:03 am

    Hi sorry if this is a stupid question but I’ve just started looking into getting a new pair o boots and stumbled across all this info – do the Salomon quest 10 for women have this issue?
    http://www.skis.com/womens-ski-boots/c427/salomon-quest-10-w-womens-ski-boots-2012-p235250.html
    any info appreciated

  126. DaveJ March 6th, 2012 10:31 am

    Any salomon boot will be fine, as long as you don’t use any kind of tech binding. It’s also very unlikely you’ll find any current salomon that still have tech fittings in the soles. All have long been recalled.
    If you’re looking at using tech style bindings, look at a different brand.

  127. Jodie J October 22nd, 2012 2:57 pm

    Sooooo has anyone checked to see that in fact they did fix the problem with the minimal metal issue? i love the fit of these but have had enough knee surgeries. Please advise.

  128. Lou Dawson October 22nd, 2012 3:22 pm

    Jodie, Salomon does not presently make boots with tech fittings, so there is no problem to fix. They got a bit gun shy after this, understandably. I actually admire them for deciding not to mess around with tech bindings. The tech binding was not invented and designed for agressive skiing with big boots and skis. It can be used for such skiing, but to be more reliable and effective it needs to be revamped to tech 2.0. Meanwhile, if you like Salomon boots and ski hard, we recommend using a binding such as the Marker Duke. Salomon’s own binding, the Gurardian, also looks good but we’ve not had a chance to extensively test it. We’ll take care of that as soon as possible. Lou

  129. Sam December 14th, 2012 6:16 am

    Wow, I was about to pick up a set of these. Quite glad I didn’t now
    thanks for the testing.

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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information opinion website and e magazine. Lou's passion for the past 45 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about backcountry skiing and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free back country news and information here, and tons of Randonnee rando telemark info.

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