Lots of stuff to see at SIA ski and snowboard tradeshow in Denver at the end of January. While some folks, especially in the snowboarding contingent, missed their Vegas gambling and other more nefarious recreation, many of the skiers seemed happy about the move to Denver. The Colorado Convention Center layout was fairly well thought out, and most of the heavy hitters were represented. For the backcountry skiing crowd, Dynafit, Black Diamond, and Scarpa were all in attendance. For this post, I checked out Scarpa — and also AT newcomer Salomon.
Salomon, long a leader in the high-performance alpine skiing market, has launched a new AT series, and was showcasing them throughout SIA. Included is the Quest Pro, the Quest Pro Pebax, Quest 12, Quest 8, and Quest Women, which is built on a women’s last. All the Salomon boots have heat-moldable liners and three buckles plus a power strap.
“We’re not compromising any of the downhill ability; that has to remain the DNA,” explained Hilary Hutcheson of Outside Media. “They’re definitely all about the alpine ride, and making sure that you have all of the high performance from an alpine boot that you love from Salomon, just being able to access all of those other parts of the mountain that you want to get to.”
The Pro Pebax, which achieves better performance with a softer Pebax upper, and the Pro, both come preinstalled with the touring pads (soles). The Quest 12, 10, and 8, as well as the Quest Women, come with standard alpine pads; the touring pads that make them compatible with AT bindings are sold separately for $30. All of the Quest boots are available in sizes as low as mondo 24, so hard-charging female skiers might prefer the performance of the 12 or 8 over the Quest Women.
The Quest series has a Magnesium Backbone, which flicks the boot into walk mode quickly but stiffens it for high performance.
The Quest 12 is the one many are excited about, with its higher cuff and 120 flex. If freeride and big lines are your goal, this one bears a look.
The new Scarpa freeride series includes the men’s Mobe and women’s Shaka, for those looking for high-performance and aggressive big mountain skiing. These are basically alpine boots with touring soles, walk/ski locks, and tech fittings. Standout feature is Scarpa’s new “Powerblock” tour mechanism, basically a super solid lean-lock that really does look quite good (little to no play). Weight-shaving hounds will appreciate the new Maestrale and women’s Gea (covered by Lou a while back); the Maestrale weighs three pounds, six ounces (men’s 27) per boot, while the Gea weighs two pounds, 15 ounces (women’s 25).
(Wildsnow guest blogger Candace Horgan has been working as a freelance writer since 1997. She was born and raised in New Rochelle, N.Y., and graduated from College of the Holy Cross with a Bachelor of Arts in History and English. She currently lives in Denver, which is too far east as far as we’re concerned, but we’ll let that one go for now.)