Wildsnowers, below is the official take from Salomon re the substandard tech fittings in their Quest backcountry skiing boots. I just got off the phone with them, and as I suspected they’ve been scrambling on this for several days but of course had to get their ducks in order before making an official announcement or recall. While this is a sad situation and appears to have already resulted in one injury, a plus is that according to Salomon there are only 13 pair of the Quest boots with tech inserts out in the wild (North America), and 14 sets of pads. They are making an effort to get every last one of those items returned (sans my testers of course), whether they still be at a retailer or in public hands. So if you know anyone with the Quest boot with tech inserts sole, encourage them to contact Salomon via the number below.
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
2030 Lincoln Ave
Ogden, UT 84401
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.
Good for you Lou, thank you.
“low tech touring bindings”
Incompatibility?!?!?! I think I would call it more than that.
Matt made the point I was thinking about: I thought “Tech” was the accepted way to refer to Dynafit-style boot/binding system that are not actually made by/licenced from Dynaft.
The lower case “low tech” reads to me as being a description of the engineering sophistication (or lack thereof, in Salomon’s view?) of the binding system. Maybe this is some subtle spin on Salomon’s part – are they implying that the binding is somehow to blame?
I think if you want to look way back in the history here on wildsnow the dynafit system was originaly named “low tech” so its a name … they would not be implying performance characteristics
I think they are still called low tech in Europe.
Nothing like a warehouse full of useless product…
13 pairs? My gf bought a pair (Pros, not 12s) at Garrick Sports in Nelson, where they sold at least 5 or 6 pairs that I am aware of.
I wonder how many other pairs there are…
“While this is a sad situation and appears to have already resulted in one injury, a plus is that according to Salomon there are only 13 pair of the Quest boots with tech inserts out in the wild (North America), and 14 sets of pads.”
— So 27 pairs total. If Bentgate really has at least two pair currently for sale (as the website would seem to indicate — sizes 26.5 and 28.5), that means a maximum of 25 out in the field. I know of at least one pair that has never been used in “Tech” bindings, so 24 potentially have been used in “Tech” bindings. Of those 24, one failed during skiing, resulting in severe injuries. The other in-the-field failure was fortunately during skinning with no adverse impacts (although probably not the best thing you want to happen during an AMGA SMGE. Another failure was during Lou’s test. So that’s already three failures out of 24.
“Low tech” bindings?
More like low tech boots. AMIRITE?!
Jonathan, the plus is that there could have been many more, and that that small number is much easier to recall and prevent even more misfortune. That’s all I meant. I thought that was actually good news, as it could have been hundreds, with hundreds already sold.
Lou, we’re in agreement — my little mathematical exercise was just trying to calculate some sort of failure rate. (Plus I like math…)
Given that Pine Needle still seems to have some unsold (“here now at Pine Needle for all of you early adopters”), might be that a maximum of 21 have been available for use in the field. In addition to the three total failures publicly reported, another TGR poster said his partner was having lots of trouble with binding entry, despite prior experience with other “Tech” boots — sounds like might have been bending of the interface that complicated entry yet still allowed the boot to be skied? So could be something like 4 failed or damaged Tech interfaces on Quest boots out of a maximum of 21 available for use in the field with Tech bindings . . . although I’m starting to wonder if *any* Quest boots have been used extensively and successfully with Dynafit or Onyx bindings?
I meant to ask how many boots there “really are”, I can’t help but think that there are more than Salmon have admitted.
My gf is c. 140lbs and has around 40 days on hers this winter. She’s a good skier, non hucking and fortunately we haven’t had to pound moguls this year. She’s skied in bounds a bit but has done 30 or so day tours on them using FT12s.
She has no issue getting in to her Dynafits. I’ve checked them out and it all looks good to me.
Not sure this qualifies for extensively, but she’s used them a bit.
“Not sure this qualifies for extensively, but she’s used them a bit.”
— I think that qualifies. With the caveat of a lightweight skier though.
— Question: how much steep skinning in firm conditions with uphill kick turns on traversing skin tracks with ski crampons? That must put lots of stress on the interface.
— Also, I suspect most of the Quest boots already in use have the alpine downhill boot sole. Hence the low count from Salomon.
This was her first winter touring, so we avoided very steep skin tracks. Lots of kick turn (& practice) took place, and it wasn’t very graceful to start with! Binders mounted to Rossi S7s in 174cm, so a reasonable amount of force would have been applied to the boot.
Yes, if it hasn’t been stated already the ‘low tech’ moniker comes from Europe.
On your original blog you said Salomon would never advertise now. They owe you a lot, Lou, and they would be fools not to support you and Wild Snow. Thanks for your great investigative journalism.
Joel, I was just trying for a bit of levity. I’ve spoken with Salomon USA on the phone and they’ve been very nice. As for advertising, you never know…
HS, her plates could be gradually bending and you don’t even know it. And yes, the skier’s weight and style will have something to do with when and if the Salomon Quest tech fitting fails. Whatever the case, I’d strongly advise you to send those boots back in on the recall. A speeding Toyota can be stopped by turning off the ignition and applying the brakes. It’s much more difficult to stop yourself from falling down a mountain after you eject from a binding unexpectedly. If you owned one of the Toyotas that have been in the news, would you just keep driving it and never bring it in if there was a recall — even if you hadn’t experienced any problems so far?
Joel, I’m confused – are you considering not going in on the recall? There’s little reason to dispute the ample evidence. Count it as a blessing that your gf hasn’t eviscerated her legs and move on to another boot.
I’m sure Salomon will take this to heart.
Lou, it doesn’t sound like you’re going to need to be buying test products from Salomon. I think you’ve saved them a fortune. I hope they make things right for Dalton.
hey jonathan – was it someone on the current ski mountaineering guide exam in alaska that had issues with the boots?
The other in-the-field failure was fortunately during skinning with no adverse impacts (although probably not the best thing you want to happen during an AMGA SMGE. Another failure was during Lou’s test. So that’s already three failures out of 24.
JHarrod, I don’t know which season – my basis is from these two posts:
The guide’s name is pretty obvious to figure out by googling the info in those posts, and this was also confirmed off-line.
Regarding semantics. Seems like Salomon was making NO-TECH bindings for the lack of engineering evident on these inserts. It is rare to take short cuts that truly pay off in the long, especially when quality is a requirement.
BTW everyone, Dynafit binding inventor Fritz Barthel’s business is called Low Tech, various models of the binding have been called Low Tech over the years, and in Europe some people still call the binding system “Low Tech” instead of Dynafit. According to Fritz, the name is intended to have a certain degree of humor, and is also subject to amusing fracturing, such as “slow tech.”
Might the Salomon fittings be dubbed “crow tech,” suitable only for crow-weight users of tech bindings? Recommended user maximum weight: 1 pound!
Salomon sincerely regrets the injury experienced by Mr. Dalton Harben as described in numerous web postings. We are taking the matter seriously and Salomon US has already committed to, and announced plans to, remove the limited number of Quest Pro boots with metal fittings from the market (as well as touring pad accessory fittings for other Quest boots). Mr. Harben’s attorney has contacted Salomon US, and therefore it is customary for all further communications regarding his injury to go through the appropriate legal channels. For all other skiers with Quest Pro boots or Quest touring pads, we repeat our request that such products be returned to Salomon US. A full copy of that request can be found as posted last Friday at http://www.wildsnow.com/2899/salomon-quest-boots-announcement
It is unfortunate that Mr. Harben suffered a serious injury due to the apparent failure of the Solomon tech fittings, however; I think that a little bit of perspective might be needed. It should be noted that many people including myself “fall” for various reasons, and, fortunately we are not normally seriously injured. It seems to me that while Solomon should have put more engineering into their tech fittings, it seems to me that their response has been sufficient, and, responsible. When Fritchi first came out with their Diamir binding, they were considerably lighter, and, mine busted causing a fall. Luckily I was not injured, but I don’t know whether anyone else was, nor am I aware of a recall.
It’s been interesting watching the lynch mobs gather on the different forums. So far, there has been no evidence provided that this product weakness caused the fall. In fact, that still appears highly unlikely. No denying the inserts were under-designed but it’s obvious that major forces were involved in this incident that far exceeded the release factor for body parts too. Of course, now that the lawyers are involved, we’ll never find out what really happened… much cheaper for companies to settle with a non-disclosure, even when it wasn’t their fault.
“So far, there has been no evidence provided that this product weakness caused the fall. In fact, that still appears highly unlikely. No denying the inserts were under-designed but it’s obvious that major forces were involved in this incident that far exceeded the release factor for body parts too.”
— The victim was a highly skilled skier, skiing slowly and cautiously on a fairly moderate and open pitch, but immediately above a steep pitch at treeline. (In other words, on terrain just barely steep enough so that self-arrest might not be immediately successful, and then if it was not successful, its chance of success would drastically diminish.)
— He did slip on any ice. He suddenly lost both his skis during a turn to the left. This occurred without any apparent “major forces” other than normal skiing. The major forces occurred during the subsequent slide through the steep at-treeline terrain. Both skis were off before the slide with its major forces commenced.
— Both boot interfaces were deformed on the right side. And both skis came off during a turn to the left.
All the facts match up perfectly with an explanation that the clearly defective interface caused the boot to prerelease from the binding (and hence caused the subsequent fall). I can’t think of any alternative explanation for both how the prerelease occurred and also how the interface was damaged so severely, then feel free to contact Salomon’s lawyers. (Sure, as documented in other posts at this site, Dynafit bindings can prerelease at the toe without the heel springs being engaged, but then what explains the interface damage? And no, judging by the close-up picture of the damaged boots, I don’t see how the interface could have suffered that damage by anything other than the forces exerted during a turn to the left with the boots in a Tech binding. No way could that damage have been caused by the boots just being banged around in a fall, no longer attached to the binding.)
Clyde & Bar Barrique
I cannot believe your crudeness!!! Mine is intentional. Is it coincidence that your posts follow the official Salomon post in this thread? Shame on you!! Are you living in lala land? Googled both of you. Who signs your checks?
Whoops, important edit:
— Change second edit to “He did *NOT* slip on any ice, as was initially reported incorrectly in some mass media accounts.”
Well if Salomon wants to sign any of my cheques or wants to reimburse me for my realistic assessment of this unfortunate accident, please sent me a set of Dynafit TLT 5’s, and, if they really like my post, send a set for my wife as well. I use a set of Solomon Cross Max 10’s for lift skiing (4 years old), but I have chucked the stock liners long ago.
When did you become an apologist?
This is a rich comment for someone who speaks derisively of lynch mob speculation
per Clyde – “so far, there has been no evidence provided that this product weakness caused the fall. In fact, that still appears highly unlikely”.
per Clyde – “it’s obvious that major forces were involved in this incident that far exceeded the release factor for body parts too”
In the spirit of open discussion why don’t you enlighten all of us lynch-mobbers as to your opinion.
The last sentence should read – In the spirit of open discussion why don’t you enlighten all of us lynch-mobbers as to the basis of your opinion.
Await your response
All you guys have some good points. Much of what we’ve gotten about this is hearsay as Dalton is at least partially muzzled due to his entering litigation (though up till at least recently he was posting various stuff on TGR even though we deleted his posts here). In my case, virtually all the communication I’ve gotten about this, both public and private, does indicate that the man was skiing along, made a turn, and pre-released, and that the pre-release was obviously caused by the boot fittings failing. Nonetheless I approached this as a skeptic, that is until I tested the fittings myself and found them to be incredibly weak. Now, I’m as much convinced this happened as Dalton claims as I am about anything else I’ve never experienced myself but have been convinced is true by a preponderance of testimony and good evidence.
Even considering above, I totally respect any skepticism out there. Healthy skepticism is important. But whatever your opinion, at least listen to my testing experience and don’t go buying a pair of Quest boots with tech fittings and expecting to safely rip with tech bindings.
Bar, although Salomon would like to compensate you for sowing doubt as to their liability for the victim’s injuries, unfortunately their offer is not a pair of Dynafit TLT5 boots but rather an all-expense-paid trip to a ski resort of your choice for field testing all the returned Tech-compatible Quest boots and boot sole blocks/pads. (I suggest choosing a ski resort with a nearby trauma center.) Also, all copays and deductibles will be covered (along with replacing your helmet), but remember, you will not be an employee of Salomon or Amer, so this will not be covered by worker’s comp.
(And once you pick the resort and have the local hospital scoped out, please send me the address for patient mail so that I can mail you a get well card in advance.)
I doubt we’ll ever know thanks to the lawyers, but it sure would be interesting to know how many miles these boots ever saw in testing in “tech” bindings. I would guess that a lot of testing was done in regular Salomon alpine bindings, since this wasn’t a boot designed to win rando races. Lots of the touring testing was probably in fritchis or dukes, leaving only a little testing to be done on dynafits, for the few testers that actually received “tech” sole blocks. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s what I”m picturing. Seems like the real testing was done after release, and someone sadly paid the price and discovered a major flaw.
Dang, Clyde. Just when I thought I couldn’t think you could be more crass.
Was messing around again with my friends pair (soon to be flower planters, unless Clyde would like to show off some high speed plow turns in them on YouTube for us).
They had to be tested in Salomon alpine bindings and Fritschi’s only, and I doubt much time was spent in a skin mode in them. Also, they seem to hit the shin REALLY low, making it feel like a strange twist would shear your leg. Lower than Rdiums, Factors, Spirit4’s and F3’s, in our small comparo.
Clyde, Bar….what are your experiences first hand with the boots?
StT, before these are sent back, can you try some testing to see if you can get the interface to deform? I was thinking about some steep yet low consequences skinning with ski crampons — like in the snowbanks of a parking lot or something like that
If I wasn’t terrified that our Cascade snow would eat them for breakfast in >500 ft, I would already have.
Let me see if I can get the boots and get out in the next few days, I ‘ll report back with pics.
slave.to.turns; I have never tried these boots on, and, I have no interest in trying them. I am interested in boots that tour well, and, I am willing to sacrifice performance to get a boot that tours well. I like the ski performance of the Radiums, but I have a hard time choosing them when I go BC skiing because they are not the best touring boot. From what I have heard of the Solomons, they fall into the same category. :sideways:
There was a local guide here in La Grave that was using the Salomons with the low-tech blocks and came out of them several times in bad spots. Luckiliy he was able to manage the situation every time and returned the boots to Salomon refusing to ever ski on them again.
Sorry, I mean he kept coming out of the bindings, not the boots 😉
“Sorry, I mean he kept coming out of the bindings, not the boots ;-)”
Well, dang. The image of a French guide repeatedly coming out of his boots and then running back across the snow to them on his socks was actually the first thing in this whole sad discussion that made me laugh. “Merde! Merde!”
As expected, Clyde is happy to cast aspersions without any backup and happily flees the scene having flung mud that doesn’t stick. Stay classy Clyde.
Of course, Clyde would not say anything like stated above without having first hand knowledge of the accident scenario or looking at the broken equipment would he?
Still eagerly await the basis of your opinion Clyde
Lee, Clyde does draw the comments and your take is appreciated, but please keep it on the good side of doing a personal attack. Your post above dances on the edge. Thanks, Lou
Just back on that 27 sets of fittings thing……. I’ve seen numerous pairs of the Quest Pro’s and several sets of the touring blocks on sale at each of 3 different shops up here in the ‘remote’ Bow Valley alone (Calgary/Banff area).
I’d be willing to bet that these faulty tech fittings have been distributed exponentially more than what Salomon is indicating.
Thanks for the warnings Lou!
Dave, perhaps the number the guy gave me was for the U.S.? Lots more in EU I’m sure… Whatever the case, it’s an infinitesimal recall compared to many others, so much easier to manage I’m sure.
you are wrong, there was not high impact or anything of the sort, just simple slow controlled turns down a reasonably pitched slope. No impact what so ever, they came right off the feet at the same time.
This is all a horrible mess. I hope Dalton comes out of it as well as possible.
I am wondering if the inserts were ever actually tested at all… It seems to me that if Dynafit compatibility was an afterthought, perhaps a mock-up insert/toe-block could have been made so the boots could be displayed at ski shows – i.e., for static display only. If these then escaped captivity, or were mistakenly released to manufacturing then the whole disaster is explained. Otherwise, what this says about product testing is very scary indeed.
An alternative explanation could be that whoever actually manufactured the offending parts either changed the design or materials used. If this wasn’t detected it doesn’t say good things about quality control.
As many people here and at TGR have commented, lots of us have Salomon products of one sort or another, and loyalty can be high. I might have considered buying these myself since Salomon footwear usually fits me. One usually assumes that things are adequately tested; boots don’t come with compliance statements or engineering test results attached. I’m thinking that I’ll be more cautious with critical gear in future, but the fact that this was a large company who *should* have the resources to get it right does not increase my confidence at all.
I expect we’ll all be watching this with interest, and seeing how it’s all dealt with.
Toyota is a pretty big company, and should have gotten it right as well. Buyer beware.
On my way to get lunch I stopped in at a newly opened ski skip, one of a successfull smal chain operation here in Mass. I looked around, really happy to see the ski biz alive on Commonwealth Av. In conversation, I asked, “You guys don’t seem to be much into backcountry?”
With in seconds I was shown a pair of Salomon Quest 12 boots, and was being told I could get a Tech fitting compatible sole kit for $50.
“Good Grief!” I thought. I said, “You guys know there was a serious problem with those inserts last year, nearly killing someone near here?”
They hadn’t heard and couldn’t believe it. I recommended a visit to this site.
So? What’s the deal? Are they beefy now?
All the best,
Rob Roy Means
Rob, they said they’d get back to me when the improved version was released. But I must have fallen off their radar or else they just want me to go away… or… perhaps they’ve not released the improved version?
I told them last spring that I’d be happy to do a blog post about the fix they did… it’s really too bad they’ve not gotten in touch.
Perhaps I’ll bug them when I have some free time.
I’m pretty sure that Salmon have not developed tech inserts for this winter. I think Rob must have just been to a very slow shop…
Any updates if they re-released this product?
Looks like they are still for sale.
hey there – this is a super older post, was there ever an updated version? I bought a pair last year for the 15/16 quest boots.
Just wondering if everything will be kosher!
This post is let stand for historical continuity, yes of course Salomon fixed their fittings, years ago. Lou
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