Brian Lindahl (see Bio)
I. What’s your 1-ski quiver (of currently available skis) for where you ski most?
I primarily ski at Breckenridge and Arapahoe Basin, as well as the Colorado backcountry. However, I also spend at least a few weeks per season traveling to chase powder during our dry spells — usually to places like Wyoming, Utah, Washington, or British Columbia.
For my 2-ski quiver, I chose a 110-115 mm lightweight 50/50 backcountry powder ski and a 90 mm heavy, firm-snow-biased directional resort ski. When cutting this quiver down to 1 ski, I’d have to compromise on width — the powder ski will have to get narrower and the firm-snow ski will have to get wider. In addition, I can no longer pick a heavier ski. Since part of my time on this ski will be in the backcountry, I’ll have to compromise a bit more on weight, even when skiing firm snow at the resort.
So the ski I’m picking is a 50/50 directional ski in the ~100 mm width range. My choice is the 188 cm Salomon QST 99. Salomon’s construction in the QST series is pretty dialed for a 50/50 ski. It’s adequately damp (especially for its weight), and the shape of the QST 99 performs very well in powder, while also being narrow enough where it doesn’t feel overly cumbersome on firm snow. The 188 cm QST 99 also has a very stiff tail which helps prevent wheeling out on landings in both deep and firm snow. The biggest drawback to the QST 99 is that the shovels are quite wide and soft, which makes them deflect a bit more when skiing fast in chunky snow. The soft, wide shovels also cause them to plow a bit in untracked powder, rather than slicing through, which can sometimes feel a bit unbalancing.
I’d mount the QST 99 with either the CAST touring system or the Fritschi Vipec. I’m not ready to commit to this just yet, but I’d probably consider the Fritschi Tecton over the Vipec, and possibly even CAST, but I’d be a bit concerned about skiing fast on firm snow.
II. What’s your 1-ski quiver for the next 3 years, regardless of location?
I ski a pretty wide variety of conditions, so my choice doesn’t really change. I’d still say the 188 cm Salomon QST 99.
III. What ski was the most difficult to leave off your list?
Considering how many compromises one has to make when owning just one ski, there’s a lot of skis that could fit the bill for various reasons.
The 185 cm Blizzard Cochise — it offers a stiffer tip than the QST 99, but it has 3 drawbacks: (1) it’s worse in powder, (2) it weighs a lot more, and (3) the 185 cm length is a bit short.
The 189 cm Kastle BMX 105 — it’s damper and the shovels are a bit narrower, but it weighs a lot more and the shovels are still a bit too soft. (And again, Kastle switched up the core of this ski for 17/18, and we still need to get on the updated BMX 105.)
The 188 cm Fischer Ranger 98 — it isn’t as damp as the QST 99 and has a rounder flex (softer tail), but it carves much better and would be a really good choice for someone who appreciates those aspects more than I do.
The 191 cm Volkl V-Werks Katana — this was the hardest one to leave off the list. The Katana has a beautiful flex and is pretty damp, but it’s a bit wide for skiing a lot of firm snow and, it’s not compatible with the Fristchi Vipec or Tecton. I’d also be concerned about the durability of its thin construction for every-single-day use in very rocky, thin conditions. (I’d personally love to see this ski in a 105 mm width with a broader binding compatibility.
IV. What ski do you imagine has the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski it, or get to ski it more?
The 189 cm ON3P Wrenegade 108 (with a custom stiffer touring layup). While it would be quite a bit heavier than the QST 99, it also would be a little bit longer, damper, stiffer in the tips, and have a longer sidecut radius than the QST 99. All of these features would make for an even better 1-ski quiver, I’d think. The biggest drawback is the more exaggerated tip splay — I really like the shape of the tip rocker on the QST 99.
I’d also like to try the 191 cm Volkl Mantra. This ski might hit the sweet spot, but it still probably weighs more than I’d like for a 1-ski quiver.
NEXT: Paul Forward’s 1-Ski Quiver Selections