According to Hilary Hutcheson, Salomon's PR rep, backcountry skiing is one of the top growth markets in the snowsports industry today. More and more skiers are demanding equipment that goes uphill in comfort and downhill with confidence. Salomon owns a sizable chunk of the hiking boot market, so making a "hike to ride" ski boot was an obvious fit with their outdoor product line. Although the hiking part may have been a no-brainer, Salomon also demanded that their backcountry boot function like a full-on Alpine boot on the downhill leg of the journey, which has been the most notable shortcoming of boots in this category to date. Salomon's answer is the Quest boot and its latest iteration, the Quest Max 120, which along with the Guardian 16 binding and the Rocker2 115 ski comprises Salomon's backcountry setup for 2013.
The Quest Max 120 boot is a 98mm last in a moldable "360 degree custom shell" that can fit up to a 102mm foot and is re-moldable to fine-tune the fit. The stance of the boot is more upright and lower in the heel and the "quick lace-up liner" makes for optimal foot-wrapping and fit.
The boot is constructed of three different densities of plastic with a super-stiff chassis, more manageable plastic in the forefoot for ease on and off, and stiff overlap "twin-frame" construction for maximum control. The extended rubber sole is made of proprietary Contragrip (tm) material.
The pivot axis is wider, which means the power is spread more evenly for better control, transmission and even pressure.
The Guardian 16 Binding
Since Salomon's DNA also is in hard-charging Alpine bindings, the Guardian has to "ski like a Salomon" -- that is, it needs to work as precisely as the highest-performing Alpine binding on the downhill ride. Its low profile chassis has a lower stand height for greater stability and a wider platform for maximum power transmission. The easier hike and ride switch can be operated with a ski pole. The guardian has a DIN of 7-16 and comes in small (less than 27.5) and large (27.5 and larger) sizes.
The 26mm. toe height gives this binding the lowest profile in its class. The toe height can be adjusted to use with other boot brands. The binding is equipped with self-cleaning teeth so it's ready to go downhill when you are.
Rocker2 115 Skis
Featuring "directional" hybrid twin rocker design, meaning it's not designed to ride fakey, the Rocker2 115 is Salomon's backcountry specialist.
Honeycomb at the tip and tail eliminates chatter and weight.
Notice that there are no edges on the tips and tails. The sidecut is 139/113/131 (178cm). It comes in 168, 178, and 188cm. lengths. The radius is 14m @ 168cm.; 16.4m @ 178cm.; 21m @ 188cm.
What I mean by "Salomon makes it easy."
A ski's specs are stated right on the top sheet so it's not a matter of "find the numbers" or guesswork to know the exact length, sidecut, and rocker dimensions -- all the way to the material in the core.
The Rocker2 series is unisex. When selecting the optimal ski among the series, the rule of thumb is the bigger the rocker, the shorter it skis. The size of the rocker is the distance from the tip or tail to where the skis meet. Expert skiers tend to go longer, especially those who ski in the west. Eastern skiers will probably have more fun on a shorter ski with less rocker and a narrower waist.
Salomon also has women-specific Rockette and Geisha models that are constructed exactly the same as the Rocker2s. Salomon's "menu of features" within each family of models makes it easy to differentiate between models to drill down to the specific features that are right for a particular skier. All the products in the Freeride Series are designed and developed by the Salomon Mountain Collective, a group of top athletes including Kim Havell, who gave us the rundown on the skis. All of the product development at Salomon starts with their athletes, so consumers can be assured that every product has been thoroughly vetted by its hardest users and toughest critics.
Fans of the popular Lord and Lady models will find them reincarnated as the Rocker2 92 and Rockette 90. The Shogun is still in the lineup in the 100mm. class.
Edited by nolo - 2/15/12 at 1:11pm