Salomon QST Charge Snowsports Helmet

Post by blogger | September 7, 2018      
Salomon QST Charge snowsports helmet.

Salomon QST Charge snowsports helmet. Operable vents and comfortable liner. A top quality piece.

There was once a day when Salomon and other “alpine” skiing companies were to backcountry skiing as we are to piloting a space rocket. No mas. Witness Salomon, going for it with their bindings (MTN, Shift), as well as lightweight ventilated ski helmets such as the MTN Lab we’ve been playing with — along with the QST Charge that just dropped here in my studio. Come to think of it, it costs millions of coins to bring these products to retail. I find it hard to imagine that money will ever come back from human powered skiing. But then, I’m only a blogger, not a bean counter.

QST Charge helmet logo.

QST Charge helmet logo.

The Charge hardhat is marketed for “freeride” and only certified for snowsports, while the Salomon MTN Lab helmet is multi-certified for both climbing and snowsports such as ski touring. Near as I can tell with extensive measuring and weighing, in the case of these helmets the certs have more to do with the stickers they’re printed on than differentiating these products. In my opinion the two helmets are equal in their protection levels — for both climbing and skiing.

Just a snowsports cert.

Just a snowsports cert, in this case actually two snowsports certs, EN Class B and ASTM, having both is good, adding the climbing cert would be best.

Caveats: The climbing and snowsports certification standards do have significant differences, so don’t take this too broadly. What appears to happen in some cases, likely for Solomon, a helmet build is adequate for both standards and the company plays around with the nomenclature, as well as avoiding the added expense of multiple certs. (That said, I’m still of the opinion that a multi-certified helmet, snowsports/climbing, preferably with MIPS, is your best bet for the most protection possible. If for no other reason than the rigorous testing entailed by achieving both certs. More here.)

Biggest difference, QST Charge has operable vents.

Biggest difference, QST Charge has operable vents. Perhaps ironically, with the vents closed you get much better intrusion protection than the partially blocked vents of the MTN.

Over arching difference is the MTN Lab has fixed intrusion protection bars in the vent holes, while QST has user operated vent closure using similar looking bars. In look and shape the two safety hats are nearly identical. MTN uses a minimalist liner. QST liner overall appears slightly thicker, has more coverage on the rear of your head, and appears to balance warmth and ventilation. QST has perforated ear flaps designed for headphones, MTN does not. Lest we forget, MTN has headlamp strap clips, QST does not. Judicious use of Gorilla Tape creates headlamp “clips” on any helmet.

QST liner is obviously offers more balance between venting and warmth." width="525" height="351" class="size-medium wp-image-25139" /></a> QST liner is obviously offers more balance between venting and warmth than the minimalist MTN liner

QST liner is obviously offers more balance between venting and warmth.” width=”525″ height=”351″ class=”size-medium wp-image-25139″ /> QST liner is obviously offers more balance between venting and warmth than the minimalist MTN liner. More, arrow in photo indicates tabs on liner that insert in shell slots. These are nice. They keep the liner from moving around after the small somewhat lame hook-loop tabs inevitably fail (they tend to pull off the inside of the helmet shell).

Subtle difference.

QST (right) liner has plastic tabs that insert in shell slots, MTN does not have the slots.

The two contenders weigh nearly the same, and clearly come from the same mold. With liners stripped out, MTN clocks in at 324 grams, QST at 346: that whopping 22 grams (0.78 ounce) is probably the operable vent mechanism. With liners installed, MTN is 372 grams, QST measuring at 416 grams.

Another difference. QST liner ear flaps are configured to accept a sound system.

Another difference. QST liner ear flaps are configured to accept helmet speakers. Either hardhat of course works fine with ear buds.

Shop for Salomon helmets.

Shopping note: During our helmet evaluations over past months we acquired one brand/model that had a serious but hidden manufacturing defect. One of the rivets holding the chin strap harness was missing a backing washer, thus allowing the strap webbing to easily fail. When you buy a ski touring helmet, inspect the details before use, return if necessary.


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2 Responses to “Salomon QST Charge Snowsports Helmet”

  1. Jim Milstein September 8th, 2018 8:09 pm

    My superficial eval is that neither helmet has enough ventilation for uphill wear, especially in uncold weather. You can trade warmth for ventilation. I value ventilation in my foam hat. There are lots of easy ways to keep the head warm (hoodies rule!).

    Oh, right! The foam hat is supposed to protect the noggin. That, too. And, for me in southern Colorado, this mostly means protection from dead spruce. Maybe a rock. So, goggles as well.

    I like to minimize gear fiddling, and donning/doffing a helmet and goggles is first class gear fiddling. Just wear them!

  2. Lou Dawson 2 September 9th, 2018 7:42 am

    I’d agree, these are not your high-output warm-day helmets. In my case, they’ll work fine for most of my winter tours, springtime I probably need at least the available summer liner for the MTN. Bear in mind that the MTN in particular is optimized for venting, its liner is clearly so. The QST liner would definitly be warmish during a hot day climb. QST with the summer MTN liner would be super nice. Constraints of certification probably limit how many options a company can offer for a particular helmet model — another example of how the helmet standards perhaps limit function, if not stifling development. In the end, a helmet quiver is probably necessary if you’re doing a lot of ski touring during all the seasons. In my experience, the massively ventilated helmets are too “porous” for mid winter use, other than during warmer good-weather days.

    All, bear in mind that our point of view with helmet evaluations is they’re used for human powered skiing, both for the down and the UP. We view carrying and not wearing a helmet as being somewhat absurd (other than in situations such as hiking a dirt trail), similar to riding a bicycle with it strapped to your handlebars.


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