Ski: 2020-2021 Salomon QST Stella 106, 174 cm
Available Lengths: 159, 167, 174, 181 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 173.0 cm
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1941 & 1948 grams
Stated Dimensions: 138-106-124 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 138.0-105.0-123.8 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (174 cm): 18 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 65 mm / 28 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 6 mm
Core: Poplar + Titanal Binding Reinforcement + Cork Tip/Tail Inserts + Carbon, Basalt, Flax, & Fiberglass Laminate
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -8.6 cm from center; 77.9 cm from tail
[Note: Our review was conducted on the 19/20 QST Stella 106, which was not changed for 20/21.]
If you’re a frequent reader of Blister, you’ll probably know by now that Salomon is overhauling their QST series of skis for 2020.
That includes the unisex QST 99, QST 106, and QST 118, as well as some of the women’s-specific models like the QST Lumen 99 and the ski we’re talking about here, the QST Stella 106. The women’s-specific models use the same construction as the unisex versions, but come in different sizes and top sheets.
We already posted our full review of the unisex QST 106, but here we’re focusing on the women’s version. Because while they share a lot in common, when you compare the new QST Stella 106’s design to the rest of the women’s ski market, it stands out significantly.
18/19 QST Stella 106 vs. 19/20 QST Stella 106
Like the unisex QST 106, Salomon made several notable updates to the 19/20 QST Stella 106 for 19/20.
First and foremost, its shape changed. We’ll go over that in the next section.
Second, Salomon made the switch from Koroyd to cork in the tips and tails of the QST Stella 106. While the Koroyd used in the previous versions created a low swing weight, removing mass from a ski tends to reduce damping and high-speed stability. Salomon says the new “Cork Damplifier” tech offers three-times better damping during impacts, though it also means to the new skis are coming in at heavier weights (more on that later).
Lastly, they made very subtle tweaks to the rocker profile and then added more carbon to the carbon / flax / basalt laminate to offer better downhill performance.
With that covered, let’s discuss how the new QST Stella 106’s design compares to the competition.
Shape / Rocker Profile
The main change here is that the 19/20 QST Stella 106 is less tapered. As we’ve noted in other reviews, skis with a lot of tip and tail taper tend to be easy to pivot and slide quickly, but that often comes at the cost of edge hold and stability at speed.
The 19/20 QST Stella 106 is still significantly more tapered than more traditionally shaped skis like the Volkl Secret 102 and Blizzard Sheeva 10, but the QST Stella 106’s taper lines are less radical than the previous version’s. Salomon is claiming that the new ski is more stable and confidence-inspiring at speed, so dialing back the taper seems to make sense.
The new QST Stella 106 also looks like its rocker lines might be a touch deeper and its tip and tail splay probably rose a bit (this is something we noticed with the unisex 19/20 QST 106). Overall, the QST Stella 106 has pretty deep rocker lines for a ski in this class. Its rocker profile isn’t as radical as the Sheeva 10’s or the old K2 Gottaluvit 105Ti’s, but the QST Stella 106 has slightly deeper rocker lines than the K2 Mindbender 106C Alliance and Rossignol Soul 7 HD W.
Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the QST Stella 106:
In Front of Toe Piece: 7.5-9.5
Behind the Heel Piece: 9.5-8.5
The 174 cm QST Stella 106 and 181 cm QST 106 have nearly identical flex patterns. The 174 cm QST Stella 106’s tail is maybe a tiny bit softer at the very end, but it’s almost indiscernible.
This is interesting, as some companies will significantly soften the shorter (or women’s-specific) versions of their skis, but that does not seem to be the case with the QST Stella 106 vs. QST 106.
Compared to the Blizzard Sheeva 10, the QST Stella 106 is similarly soft in the shovels, but a bit stiffer in the tail. The QST Stella 106 is significantly softer than the Volkl Secret 102, Nordica Santa Ana 110, and DPS Alchemist Zelda 106, but we’d still call the QST Stella 106 a fairly strong ski.
This is one area where the new QST Stella 106 really stands out. While the unisex QST 106’s weight looks fairly average when compared to that market, the QST Stella 106 starts to look fairly heavy when compared to other women’s-specific skis or other skis in similar lengths.
It’s not as heavy as the dual-metal-laminate 177 cm Nordica Santa Ana 100 & 110 or 170 cm Secret 102, but the new QST Stella 106 is significantly heavier than a lot of skis in its class like the Rossignol Soul 7 HD W, Blizzard Sheeva 10, K2 Mindbender 106C Alliance, and even the 112mm-wide Blizzard Sheeva 11.
So, we expect the new QST Stella 106 to offer pretty good damping and stability, and we’re really curious to see how well it blends that with things like playfulness, maneuverability, and forgiveness. This is particularly interesting because the skis that are heavier than it (that stand out primarily due to high-speed stability) are on the more traditional / less playful end of the spectrum, while the QST Stella 106’s shape, rocker profile, and flex pattern all make it look like a pretty accessible ski.
For reference, here are a number of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for some notable skis. Keep in mind the length differences to try and keep things apples-to-apples.
1533 & 1537 Armada Trace 98, 172 cm (17/18–19/20)
1556 & 1575 Liberty Genesis 96, 165 cm (18/19–19/20)
1557 & 1607 Fischer My Ranger 98, 172 cm (16/17–18/19)
1626 & 1631 K2 Fulluvit 95Ti, 170 cm (18/19)
1626 & 1645 Line Pandora 104, 165 cm (18/19–19/20)
1635 & 1646 Blizzard Black Pearl 98, 166 cm (17/18–19/20)
1651 & 1669 Moment Sierra, 172 cm (17/18–19/20)
1702 & 1721 K2 Gottaluvit 105Ti, 170 cm (18/19)
1709 & 1710 Blizzard Sheeva 10, 172 cm (17/18–19/20)
1711 & 1772 DPS Zelda A106 C2, 171 cm (19/20)
1735 & 1740 K2 Mindbender 106C Alliance, 175 cm (19/20)
1747 & 1766 Line Sakana, 174 cm (18/19–19/20)
1750 & 1769 Armada Victa 97 Ti, 171 cm (17/18–19/20)
1762 & 1801 K2 Mindbender 98Ti Alliance, 168 cm (19/20)
1764 & 1778 Rossignol Soul 7 HD W, 172 cm (17/18–19/20)
1806 & 1821 Blizzard Sheeva 11, 172 cm (17/18–19/20)
1812 & 1813 Head Great Joy, 168 cm (17/18–18/19)
1821 & 1824 Liberty Genesis 106, 171 cm (16/17–18/19)
1881 & 1895 Salomon QST Lumen 99, 174 cm (19/20)
1941 & 1948 Salomon QST Stella 106, 174 cm (19/20)
1983 & 1999 Nordica Santa Ana 100, 177 cm (17/18–19/20)
2076 & 2078 Nordica Santa Ana 110, 177 cm (17/18–19/20)
2096 & 2100 Salomon QST 106, 181 cm (19/20)
2104 & 2115 Volkl Secret 102, 170 cm (19/20)
Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About
(1) Just how damp and stable will the QST Stella 106 feel compared to other heavier women’s skis like the Nordica Santa Ana 100 & 110 and Volkl Secret 102?
(2) How much more demanding (if it all) will the QST Stella 106 feel compared to lighter skis like the Liberty Origin 106, Rossignol Soul 7 HD W, and Blizzard Sheeva 10?
(3) How versatile will the new QST Stella 106 be across different conditions and terrain?
Bottom Line (For Now)
The updated QST Stella 106 looks like it now falls more clearly into its own niche in the women’s ski market. It’s a relatively heavy ski with a shape, flex pattern, and rocker profile that make it look a bit more playful and “fun” than some of the other burly, stable skis in this class. We’re eager to see how the new QST Stella 106 compares to the competition, so stay tuned for updates.