Salomon Quest 12 all mountain ski boot review

Salomon Quest 12 ski boots, atop a peak in the Wasatch backcountry.

Salomon Quest 12 ski boots, atop a peak in the Wasatch backcountry.

Backcountry skiing has seen a popularity explosion in recent years, and a sure indicator of this is the current trend of ski companies releasing their own lines of alpine touring ski gear. In the fall of 2010, Salomon will enter the backcountry with new additions their Salomon Quest all mountain ski boots. There will be six different versions of the Quest, from the Pro Pebax to the Quest 8 and a boot for women. But I was lucky enough to try out the Salomon Quest 12, a high performance ski boot that is designed to ski like a top-of-the-line alpine boot but also hikes like a top-of-the-line backcountry boot. To test this claim, I skied in the Salomon Quest 12 boots for a month, both in bounds and while touring the Wasatch backcountry.

Huge buckles make the Salomon Quest easy to use with gloves on.

Huge buckles make the Salomon Quest easy to use with gloves on.

Right out of the box, the Salomon Quest 12 is very striking. Scratch that. The boots look freaking awesome. The black and orange colors, oversized buckles, huge compression strap, and wicked design on the shell make the boots look like they rolled fresh off a Harley Davidson assembly line, ready to roar down the highway. They also fit perfectly as soon as I slipped them on and buckled them down.

After assembling the Quicklace system and screwing on the Quest Touring Pads, I was ready to take them out on the mountain. Eight days skiing the backcountry and five days in the resort later, I have a pretty good idea about what works and what doesn’t.

Salomon Quest 12, taking a break after munching on pow.

Salomon Quest 12, taking a break after munching on pow.

How do they ski? To be blunt, the Salomon Quest 12 is the most incredible boot I’ve ever skied in. The downhill performance in these babies is unmatched. They are super stiff with a flex rating at 120, and they drove my skis like no other boot I’ve owned. In fact, when I took my backcountry skis to Snowbird, the Quest boots were almost too powerful as they tried to take the wheel and go for a joyride, dragging my skis behind them. Switching over to my heavier, more burly alpine setup, the Quest boots were awesome. I could feel them transmitting power from one edge to the next, and they allowed my skis to explode through crud with ease. Of course they ski powder pretty good too, which is important in a lightweight backcountry boot.

Magnesium backbone and super burly ski/tour switch

Magnesium backbone and super burly ski/tour switch

In the backcountry, however, uphill is the name of the game. The Salomon Quest boots are supposed to tour as well as they ski, but I did not find this to be true. While I appreciated the super stiffness while skiing, in touring mode they simply got in the way. On steep skin tracks, it was difficult to find the forward lean in the boot to stay on top of my skis so the skins could engage. Even keeping the buckles and straps loose, the boots kept throwing me into the back seat when the going got steep. I also found that my heels were moving just enough to create hot spots. Although I never got blisters, the hot spots were a sign that finding the right fit is essential with these boots, especially if they are to be used primarily while touring.

One thing I really liked was the ski/tour switch on the back of the boot. Most backcountry boots use a cheap-feeling switch that doesn’t inspire much confidence, but the Salomon Quest uses a thick, burly switch that makes a satisfying “ca-thunk” sound when you go from tour to ski, letting you know that you are locked in and ready to shred.

salomonstrap

Oversized, meaty strap acts like a fourth buckle.

I also like how the Salomon Quest 12 uses a three-buckle system with a very thick strap at the top that acts like a fourth buckle. I had reservations about this at first, but after skiing in them, my fears were put to rest. The giant buckle is so huge, that I never felt like performance was compromised. In fact, when the strap was cinched tight, I never felt my shins or calf muscle move around at all, and that added to the boot’s already stiff reputation.

In addition to this, the liners have a Quicklace system that makes it very easy to tighten everything. Although I thought it was strange that when cinched, there is a lot of extra lace and no where to put it. I later found out that the lace tucks into a pocket under the Biovent tab. This worked out well, but I think some sort of boa system would be a better design for tightening and storing laces.

Salomon Quest 12 high performance all-mountain ski boot

Salomon Quest 12 high performance all-mountain ski boot

In a nutshell, the Salomon Quest 12 ski boots are alpine boots with touring capability. They rock on the down but don’t perform as well on the up. I don’t think any hardcore backcountry skiers would be entirely happy with these boots, but anyone who is thinking about skiing out-of-bounds and doesn’t want to spend a fortune buying multiple ski boots will find everything they need in a one-boot quiver with the Salomon Quest 12.

You can purchase the Salomon Quest 12 ski boots at Backcountry.com

17 comments for “Salomon Quest 12 all mountain ski boot review

  1. Shawn
    April 27, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Just a note, these have been recalled. Do not use these with Tech Bindings (Dynafit, G3 Onyx)there have been issues with the interface for these bindings ripping out of the boot. There is a recall on these currently. At least one person has been seriously injured due to the defect.

    They work fine for other bindings such as Marker Dukes and Fritschis.

  2. April 27, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Thanks for the note Shawn.

    Although, the Salomon Quest 12 boots themselves have not been recalled, only the removable tech soles. The alpine soles that come with the Quest 12 boots are fine. The removable tech soles are sold separately. There are other boots in the Quest line that may have the tech soles built in. If that’s the case then those boots may be on the recall list.

  3. July 5, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    While these are not as great in the backcountry as a true AT boot and not as great on the frontside as a true Alpine boot, if you have been dreaming of a ski boot that can bridge the cap between the two Salomon has done a great job with their Quest series.

  4. July 17, 2010 at 4:01 am

    These are the most comfortable ski boots I have ever worn, and my ankles hurt much less now from a days skiing.

  5. deep out of bounds
    December 30, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    Besides the fact that the tech compatible soles were recalled, and Solly really treated the whole issue poorly, I have found that:

    (a) the original walk mode lever is susceptible to ripping right off — and is not field replaceable; the v2 of this boot features a less obtrusive lever, but is still not shop replaceable

    (b) as the walk mode lever does not LOCK the boot into a forward position, there is nothing to keep the boot from pushing forwards into the bellows. The powerstrap and upper buckle are hinged to the moving cuff, so all they do is lock the calf into a 2cm play. I can easily overdrive this boot in adverse conditions on skis over 112mm underfoot to the point where a 1.5cm gap opens up behind my calf.

    (c) Buckle breakage has also been reported on this boot.

    (d) I too have heel hot spots from this boot. This is because of the indented heel pocket which is there because of the stiff cuff which, even when in walk mode, scarcely moves more than a few degrees. This generates heel lift. I have yet to find a solution to resolving heel hot spots. I don’t have heel spurs/PF and don’t have this issue in any other boot, downhill or touring.

    (e) The included liner in the v1 of this boot is far too thin for the volume of the shell; the new liner is a tad thicker but still does not provide adequate spacing. Either it’s too spacious for the shell size or will pack out quickly. Replacing with Intuitions is an adequate though pricey solution.

    In short, this boot needs some work.

    First Solly needs to take care of their tech fittings and make proper reparations to the injured skier (!!).

    Second, the walk mode lever might “click in” to stop the cuff from moving backwards, but it needs a LOCK to stop the cuff from forward movement. This boot flexes like a soft 80 recreational boot once serious force is applied. By developing a PROPER lever I believe the hot spot issues on the heel will be resolved as well as the increasingly sloppy forward flex.

    In terms of competition, both the Dynafit Titan and the BD Factor are stiffer slackcountry boots with better walk modes — and with proper, tested tech fittings available.

  6. Ryan Kearney
    February 1, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    As a full time ski patroller i feel the need to add my two cents, these boots are the worst thing to ever happen to a boot other than joeys wearing rear entry in 2011. A 120 flex…give me a break more like 90. The top buckle blows broken second week, cracked insteps three weeks in, walk mode not engaging or disengaging for that matter, power strap…i mean really, should a power strap stretch?

  7. Lorne Wensel
    February 21, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    I have skied the boot 12 times in the high country and 10 time low country and broken the top buckle twice. This is really a pain and makes me wonder why they don’t replace with something stronger.

    LW

  8. Richard
    February 22, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    My whole plastic top broke in half. Where can I get these boots repaired or a replacement of the top plastic part?
    I am in Seoul, South Korea and ordered these boots online.

  9. Ciaran Lee
    March 22, 2011 at 6:25 am

    I bought the quest 12 boot this winter. One of the top clips broke on the third day I used it. I reported the issue to Salomon who very kindly gave me next year’s quest 14 boot! Unfortunately the clip also broke on that boot.

  10. June 30, 2011 at 9:50 am

    I’m thinking of buying the Quest10 2012 version…as reviewed here http://www.metrosnow.co.uk/blog/2011/06/30/salomon-quest-ski-boots/ . What’s the difference between Quest12 and Quest10? The flex on the Quest10 is slightly softer (110). Is it worth the extra money?

  11. June 30, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    Antonio, you nailed it. The only real difference is the softer flex in the 10. If you’re not a very aggressive skier, then you may find the 10 more forgiving than the 12.

  12. DJB
    December 4, 2011 at 10:26 am

    I recent got a pair of the Quest 10’s and am experiencing the forward flex issue. Before skiing a single turn the supposedly 110 flex gives massively when engaging the skins like a 40 flex beginner boot. I thought I’d screwed up something or was in walk mode.

    I don’t think that Salomon would out a product so bad (and I am not looking for a debate on the tech inserts) – so what gives? Adjustment needed on my part?

  13. Paul Kendall
    April 3, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    I have been using a pair of Salomon Quest 70s this season and have to say that they are the worst boots I have ever skiied.

    Working as a ski guide in the Pyrenees, I wanted a comfortable, reliable warm boot that would work well on Freeride and Piste.

    I have blown the top buckles on both boots, the powerstrap has stretched, the liner packed down within a week and made the boots loose, the walk lever unlocks and within 2 weeks the boots had so much flex, they were like wearing elastic slippers !!

    In a nutshell, don’t buy these boots.

    Salomon say that they fixed the issues on the earlier models, mine are 2012/13 and are going back to Salomon !.

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