At the end of our 12-hour steep-skiing tour of the North Chugach and Kenai Peninsula, we took a couple of long, cruisy runs that started in ankle-deep pow on the glaciers and terminated with big, open high-speed corn carving almost all the way to the beach of the gulf of Alaska.
Maintaining a centered or forward stance, I could push as hard as I wanted while making almost hip-dragging carved turns back to the heli. It was super fun, and I again experienced the same poppy energy rebounding from turn to turn. Based on my time so far, I would say that the QST 118 is one of the most fun ~120mm-wide skis I’ve ever used on corn.
Tight Terrain vs Open
The quick and light feel of the 118 seem to make them ideal for popping and slashing around in tight steep spots, and generally, I found that to be true as long as the snow was uniformly soft. When the snow got firm and I was hop turning in variable conditions and steep terrain, the QST 118 didn’t feel as reliable to me, and I attribute that mostly to its dramatic rocker profile, but also to its lighter weight and tapered tips. When choosing a big mountain powder ski, this is important to me because it’s not that uncommon (whether at a resort or heli or sled skiing) that I find myself dealing with a technical, steep entrance in windblown or rocky conditions to access a run. I need more time on the 118, but I can’t yet say that the 118 inspires enough confidence in difficult, tricky conditions to choose them as my everyday big mountain ski.
Having said that, in big open terrain (like that described above) the 118 is a great powder ski. The heavily rockered tip (that seems to become a bit of a liability in crappy snow), is almost unsinkable — even for a 195 lb skier with a 30+ lbs guide pack.
So far, I’ve only heli skied with the QST 118 but I’m looking forward to banging out some resort laps this fall. I think it will be a fun, playful ski that will rip groomers, get knocked around a bit in chop, and will float and slash in pow.
It’s unusual for me to seek out cliffs while I’m working, but inevitably, there are ridge transfers, small hits, and bergschrunds throughout the day of varying sizes. I was skeptical that the heavily rockered tail of the QST 118 would support me and my pack on landings, but this hasn’t been an issue at any point during my time on them so far. Skiing on my own time and with a light pack, I wouldn’t hesitate to get into the air with these skis.
We look forward to getting more time on the new QST 118, but based on my two incredible days of big mountain riding and Jonathan’s time on the QST 118 at Silverton, we can recommend it to those looking for a playful, sub-120mm-wide ski that will shine in deep conditions, but that can still hold it’s own in big terrain.
Deep Dive Comparisons
To see our comparisons of the QST 118 to the Salomon Rocker 2 122, Rossignol Super 7 HD, Rossignol Super 7 RD, Blizzard Spur, Atomic Bent Chetler, Salomon Quest 115, Moment Bibby Pro, Moment Governor, Armada Norwalk, and the Liberty Origin 116, become a Blister Member or a Blister Deep Dive subscriber.
NEXT: Rocker Profile Pics