2017 Brand Profile

[Full disclosure: your Editor worked for Salomon from 1978 until 1987, most of that time in product management. I don’t always agree with the path the brand takes, but I have a deep appreciation for how they conceive and execute their products.]

America is besotted by the lure of the backcountry. The amount of investment in making skis lighter – not just backcountry specific skis, but all (non-race) skis –and boots more suitable for striding far outweighs that spent in any other recreational domain.

You’d think the resorts would be deserted and every accessible acre of backcountry terrain would resemble an ant farm, swarming with skiers eager to endure 3 hours of slogging uphill for one well-earned descent.

This may be happening in some alternate universe, but not in ours. But while a mild dose of reality should inform us that America isn’t a nation of hikers, the allure of backcountry skiing is so appealing that many advanced skiers are looking for equipment they can use both within and without the resort.

Which brings us to the Salomon QST Pro, a new family of all-mountain boots that borrow heavily from Sally’s well-received MTN Lab BC boots introduced last year. To say that the QST Pro line is a departure from Salomon’s usual fare (e.g., X-Pro), is like saying the automobile was a departure from the horse.

It’s not just that the boots are absurdly light, use a 3-buckle shell design with a floating external tongue and a hike mode that doesn’t compromise rear support; it’s the slope of the forefoot, from the arch to the tootsies, that slaps your eyeballs silly and says, hold on, Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.

With a forebody that looks low enough to be a track shoe with buckles, you’d expect the last geometry to be as narrow as a race boot, but “Pro” in Salomon-speak means “100mm last,” or roughly speaking, average volume. The butter-cream icing on the cake is that nearly the entire shell is heat-moldable, so it can be custom fit to a very wide – literally and figuratively – population of feet.

The principal contributor to the QST Pros’ featherweight design is the switch to polyamide (PA6) for the un-moldable sole and spine in its Twinframe2 shell. With the exception of the rigid, external Endofit tongue, the rest of the shell is made of moldable PU, so even if the QST Pro’s instep feels a little low, the pressure can be easily alleviated.

Twinframe2 and its polyamide elements are standard issue with the 2017 X-Pro family, so in-resort skiers also will get the benefits of lighter weight, more consistent performance across a broad temperature range and better snow feel. Also new this season are two X-Pro models, a 110 flex for men and a 90 flex for women, with built–in Custom Heat. Gals who like to gallivant in the backcountry will be happy to hear there’s a new member of the MTN family, the MTN Explore W.