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The Salomon Quest Max 120 really fills the need for an aggressive â€œFreerideâ€ boot. When locked down, this boot has the stiffness of any other 120+ flex boot I have tried, giving more than enough support to really charge. Laterally the upper boot is incredibly stiff giving great responsiveness and control over bigger skis. In walk/hike mode the upper cuff is released, giving a bit more natural stance for hiking, and more forward/back movement. In the 120, a lot of this range of motion though is defeated by a fairly stiff cuff in the liner, so it isn't as much as you'd think playing with the shell after removing the liner.
The liner itself is quite comfortable right out of the box, without being too bulky and sacrificing performance. The lace up option on the liner is a huge bonus, and I suggest using it. When laced, the liner stays snug on the foot, even when you loosen a buckle or 2 for hiking, meaning no rubbing.
The shell has all the features you'd expect on a high end boot. The 3 buckles do a great job really securing the foot without having to crank things down too tight. The large power strap offers great additional support to the top of the boot, but I admit I am a little disappointed they didn't use the stretch power strap I got so used to in the previous Ghost boot. The DIN hiking sole with fairly beefy treads is great for giving added traction when hiking on loose ground or snow, but since it still uses a pretty hard plastic for the lugs, it doesn't increase traction much on ice or smooth surfaces.
The CS Custom Shell is awesome for getting a really solid fit, and likely opening up the boot to a few more people who are not normally a â€œSalomon Footâ€. The process is relatively painless and easy getting the entire boot, shell and liner, all molded to the foot and really makes a huge difference in getting an exact fit. As someone who has always used Intuition liners in all my shells, I am very impressed with the fit of this liner after molded with a good footbed.
So far I have put this boot through its paces with 20+ days of both resort and sidecountry touring, and I haven't felt like I've overpowered it yet. For someone looking for a Do All boot this is a very solid option.