2017-2018 Salomon QST 106
Available Lengths (cm): 167, 174, 181, 188 cm
Actual Length (straight tape pull): 187.0 cm
Stated Weight per Ski (181 cm): 1900 grams
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski (188 cm): 1957 & 1958 grams
Stated Dimensions (mm): 142-106-127
Blister’s Measured Dimensions (mm): 141-105-125.5
Stated Sidecut Radius: 20.0 meters
Core: Flax / Carbon Spaceframe Wood Core
Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 62 mm / 23 mm
Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~4 mm
Recommended Mount Point: -7.8 cm from center; 85.7 cm from tail
Boots: Nordica GPX 130, Tecnica Zero G Pro Guide, Lange XT 130, Salomon MTN Lab, Salomon X Max 130 (all size 27.5)
Bindings: Salomon Warden on the Recommended line
Test Locations: Sun Valley, ID; Alyeska Resort, Girdwood, AK
Days skied: 14
[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 16/17 QST 106, which was not changed for 17/18, except for the graphics.]
To get started, you should check out Jonathan Ellsworth’s First Look at the QST 106. He outlines the whole QST line, and the place of the QST 106 within that line. He also points out that, while the QST 106 is marketed as “bi-directional” the shape and mount point suggest that the 106 is actually a more directional ski. Based on shape and flex, he also predicted that the QST 106 would do well in softer snow. He went so far as to speculate that, “in deeper snow, I anticipate that the QST 106 will float and plane as well as some skis in the 112-115mm width range.”
After several weeks of skiing the QST 106 regularly in Sun Valley, Idaho and at Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, AK, I generally agree with Jonathan’s predictions. Over the past few months, I’ve also been on a few other skis of a similar width and weight, and will mention them when applicable. (Most recently, I’ve been skiing the QST 106 back to back with the Volkl 100Eight and the DPS Wailer 106 Foundation.)
General Ride Characteristics
Overall, the QST 106 strikes a nice balance between feeling light and poppy while still providing some dampness to smooth out the bumps. Its relatively low swing weight, early taper, and rocker profile make turn initiation easy at low to moderate speeds, and should help make the ski feel accessible to less experienced skiers. The moderately stiff flex and rebound will reward stronger skiers at higher speeds with clean turns on firm snow, and the powder performance of the QST 106 is just plain excellent for a ski of this width. Those who want a little easier going ride might consider mounting 1 cm forward to help loosen up the tails, or possibly opt for the shorter length if you’re on the fence.
I’ve had quite a few days this winter to make groomer runs on the QST 106, and overall, they’ve performed well. Alyeska has some great top to bottom groomer runs with a few places that allow for high speeds. When the snow is fairly soft, the QST 106 is capable of laying down some deep trenches. The relatively stiff tails and underfoot camber give nice rebound for snappy turn transitions. While I was in Sun Valley earlier this month, I got a chance to ski some of the best groomers of my life, and most of the time I was on the QST 106. When letting them run at high speeds, especially a bit later in the day when the groomers were firm and a little rougher, The QST 106 did exhibit a lot of tip flap. I never felt like it was unnerving or compromising the stability of the ski, but it was audible, visible, and palpable. I should also note that the tip shape (relatively pronounced early taper) and the relatively elongated tip rise make tip initiation feel more vague that a ski with a more traditional tip shape (ie, a ski with the widest point closer to the tip and a more abrupt rise in the tip at the end of the ski).
When skiing back to back with the 189 cm Volkl 100Eight, the QST 106 was less stable on edge, less precise in turn initiation and, to me, the 100Eight felt more intuitive while driving hard at high speeds. The 100Eight also felt better once the groomers were a bit roughed up later in the day. I attribute this to the longer effective edge of the 100Eight due to its more traditional shape and the long, low continuous rocker. When comparing the QST 106 to the DPS Wailer 106, the QST felt significantly more powerful with significantly better edge hold and rebound and a slightly damper ride. It’s been a little while since I’ve been on the Blizzard Cochise, but I’ve skied the Zero G 108 recently, and my impression is that the QST 106 initiates and holds a hard carve better than either of those Blizzard skis.
Alyeska’s winter is really shaping up with quite a bit of powder skiing over the past few weeks. My favorite lift served skiing in North America is Alyeska’s North Face and a portion of it has been open this month. By mid-day the upper sections have been pretty cut up with a firm base and lots of soft deep chop and some pockets of soft pow. In these conditions the QST offers a fun ride that straddles the line between feeling light and poppy but still damp and stiff enough to cut through the chop when necessary. It doesn’t have the stability of the Cochise (still one of my favorite skis for these conditions) but the QST does hold an edge better and is a little easier to pop or drift a turn. When I swapped out to the 100Eight, I noticed again that the longer effective edge of the Volkl created a more stable ride but was a little tougher to slash around in soft spots.
NEXT: Variable, Firm Conditions, Moguls, Etc