2021-2022 Salomon QST Blank

Ski: 2021-2022 Salomon QST Blank, 186 cm

Test Locations: Mt. Crested Butte, CO

Days Skied: 10

Available Lengths: 178, 186, 194 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length (straight-tape pull): 184.7 cm

Stated Weight per Ski: 2250 grams

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2243 & 2287 grams

Stated Dimensions: 138-112-127 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 137.4-112.1-126.5 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius (186 cm): 17 meters

Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 70 mm / 35 mm

Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 4 mm

Core: poplar + basalt / carbon fiber stringers + cork tips & tails + fiberglass laminate

Base: sintered

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -7.95 cm from center; 84.4 cm from tail

Boots / Bindings: Atomic Hawx Ultra 130 S, Tecnica Mach1 130 MV / Salomon Warden 13

Luke Koppa & Dylan Wood review the Salomon QST Blank for Blister
Salomon QST Blank — 21/22 Top Sheet
Review Navigation:  Specs //  First Look //  Full Review //  Bottom Line //  Rocker Pics

Intro

Today, Salomon announced a new ski in their QST family of freeride skis: the QST Blank.

This 112mm-wide ski was reportedly developed with the help of Salomon athletes (including several in the Blank Collective, hence the name) and has been in the works for some time.

After many prototypes during the development phase, the production version of the QST Blank will be available to the public in Salomon’s 21/22 lineup — along with an updated QST 98, which will replace the 20/21 QST 99.

This new QST Blank also effectively replaces the QST 118, so the Blank is now the widest, most soft-snow oriented ski in the Salomon lineup.

Luke Koppa & Dylan Wood review the Salomon QST Blank for Blister
Luke Koppa on the Salomon QST Blank, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

But Salomon says the QST Blank is actually more like a blend of the QST 118 and QST 106 (which returns unchanged for 21/22), and despite sharing the same three letters in their names, those two skis had some very distinct differences. So what exactly is this QST Blank, and how does it compare to the rest of ~112mm-wide skis on the market?

Several of us have been spending time on the QST Blank over the past month here in Mount Crested Butte, and we’ll be weighing in here with our take on the new ski. But first, let’s dig into the background and design:

What Salomon says about the QST Blank

“The athlete-designed QST Blank is a pillow-popping, powder-loving 112 mm waist freeride ski built to slay everything on deep days at the resort or in the backcountry. Camber underfoot and an early rise in the tip and tail adapt to whatever the mountain throws at you. C/FX super fiber in the tip and tail adds power, but also allows for quick, pivoting turns. Double sidewalls create confidence-boosting stability and power underfoot, while tip and tail Cork Damplifier enhance versatility and playfulness.”

There’s a lot going on in this description. “Powder-loving,” “resort or in the backcountry,” “power,” “quick, pivoting turns,” “versatility and playfulness.” I.e., the QST Blank is supposed to be and do a lot of things.

It’s also worth noting that Salomon athlete, Chris Rubens, says that the QST Blank combines “the best attributes of two great skis — the tip from the QST 106 and the tail of the QST 118.”

That description also included a lot of fancy-sounding construction terms, so let’s first get into those:

Construction

Like the other QST skis, the QST Blank starts with a full poplar wood core. In the QST Blank, that wood core is supplemented with strips (near the tip and the tail) of Salomon’s “C/FX” fiber, which is a blend of carbon and flax fibers that are designed to add stiffness with minimal weight gain.

The QST Blank also features Salomon’s “Cork Damplifier” inserts at both the tip and tail (the other QST skis just use it in the tip), which are supposed to dampen vibrations in those chatter-prone areas. It’s finished off with a fairly traditional fiberglass laminate, and the not-so-traditional “Double Sidewall” construction, which is essentially an additional layer of ABS that’s injected on top of the QST Blank’s standard sidewall, around the middle of the ski. This extra layer of sidewall is meant to make the ski stronger and allow for better power transfer underfoot.

Shape / Rocker Profile

Chris Rubens’s summary of the QST Blank and how it compares to the QST 106 and QST 118 is pretty accurate, at least when looking at the Blank’s shape and rocker profile.

The QST Blank’s tips look quite similar to the QST 106’s, with a slightly less tapered shape than the QST 118’s tips. Conversely, the QST Blank’s tails look more similar to the 118’s than the 106’s, though I’d say the QST Blank’s tail is a bit more tapered than both the QST 106’s and the 118’s tails.

All in all, the QST Blank’s shape doesn’t look that different when compared to some other playful skis of about the same width, such as the J Skis Friend, Armada ARV 116 JJ, K2 Reckoner 112, and Kye Shapes Metamorph.

Looking at the QST Blank’s rocker profile, it again looks like a blend of the QST 106 and QST 118. The Blank has deeper rocker lines than the QST 106, but they’re not as deep as those on the QST 118. And overall, we’d say the shape / curvature of the QST Blank’s rocker lines look more similar to the 106’s than the 118’s, with the QST Blank’s tips and tails “curving” a bit more near the ends, rather than following a pretty straight line like the QST 118’s rocker lines. That said, I wouldn’t call the QST Blank’s tail a true twin.

As with its shape, the QST Blank’s rocker lines look pretty similar to some other playful, soft-snow-oriented skis, and they’re deeper than some more directional skis like the Nordica Enforcer 115 Free and Elan Ripstick 116.

Flex Pattern

Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the QST Blank:

Tips: 6.5
Shovels: 6.5-7.5
In Front of Toe Piece: 8-10
Underfoot: 10
Behind the Heel Piece: 10-8
Tails: 7.5-6.5

The QST Blank flexes pretty similarly to the QST 106 through the front-half of the ski, though the QST Blank feels a bit stiffer around the bindings. And the QST Blank’s tail flexes pretty similarly to its tips, whereas the QST 106’s tail is notably stiffer than its tip.

Overall, the QST Blank has a pretty middle-of-the-road flex pattern. It’s not as super-stiff as the Prior Husume or DPS Alchemist Wailer 110 C2, and it’s not as soft as the K2 Reckoner 112.

Sidecut Radius

This is one area where the QST Blank clearly differs from the QST 118. The 185 cm QST 118 had a stated sidecut radius of 26 meters. The 186 cm QST Blank has a stated sidecut radius of 17 meters. While we’re always wary of attributing a whole lot of on-snow performance to a stated sidecut radius number, a difference of 9 meters between the skis is at least noteworthy.

The QST Blank’s stated sidecut radius is on the tighter end of the spectrum, though as we’ll get into below, it’s not something that really defines the ski’s overall on-snow performance.

Mount Point

The recommended mount point of the QST Blank is right around -8 cm from true center, which is about the same as the QST 106, and notably farther back than the QST 118 — which was an outlier in the QST lineup due, in part, to its -5 cm mount point.

Weight

Our pair of the 186 cm QST Blank is coming in around 2265 grams per ski. That’s roughly in line with the weight of the 20/21 QST skis, and is on the heavier end of the spectrum for ~112mm-wide skis these days. While that’d make some folks less inclined to haul this ski uphill under their own power, it’s also a big part of why — spoiler alert — we think it performs quite well outside of perfect-pow conditions (e.g., chop and crud).

For reference, here are our measured weights for some notable skis. Keep in mind the length differences to try to keep things apples to apples.

1710 & 1744 Atomic Bent Chetler 120, 184 cm (18/19–20/21)
1808 & 1809 Line Pescado, 180 cm (16/17–20/21)
1873 & 1878 Line Vision 118, 183 cm (20/21–20/21)
1895 & 1906 Folsom Trophy Carbon, 188 cm (18/19–20/21)
1910 & 1941 Scott Scrapper 115, 189 cm (17/18–20/21)
1947 & 2011 4FRNT Devastator, 186 cm (20/21)
1964 & 1972 Moment Deathwish, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
2006 & 2063 Elan Ripstick 116, 193 cm (20/21)
2013 & 2099 Moment Wildcat, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
2019 & 2051 K2 Mindbender 116C, 186 cm (19/20–20/21)
2024 & 2031 Line Outline, 186 cm (19/20–20/21)
2027 & 2052 K2 Reckoner 112, 184 cm (20/21)
2034 & 2052 Blizzard Rustler 11, 188 cm (17/18–20/21)
2043 & 2046 4FRNT Inthayne, 188 cm (18/19–20/21)
2096 & 2100 Salomon QST 106, 181 cm (19/20–20/21)
2105 & 2185 Head Kore 117, 189 cm (19/20–20/21)
2125 & 2134 Kye Shapes Metamorph, 185 cm (19/20–20/21)
2165 & 2211 K2 Mindbender 108Ti, 186 cm (19/20–20/21)
2165 & 2219 Icelantic Nomad 105, 191 cm (19/20–20/21)
2170 & 2180 Dynastar M-Free 108, 182 cm (20/21)
2181 & 2190 Parlor McFellon Pro, 185 cm (19/20–20/21)
2212 & 2215 Armada ARV 116 JJ, 185 cm (17/18–20/21)
2222 & 2278 Prior CBC, 184 cm (17/18–20/21)
2237 & 2315 Salomon QST 118, 192 cm (19/20–20/21)
2243 & 2287 Salomon QST Blank, 186 cm (21/22)
2250 & 2280 Movement Fly Two 115, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
2259 & 2279 Black Crows Anima, 189.2 cm (20/21)
2280 & 2286 Icelantic Nomad 115, 191 cm (19/20–20/21)
2343 & 2360 J Skis Friend, 189 cm (19/20–20/21)
2346 & 2351 Nordica Enforcer 115 Free, 191 cm (17/18–20/21)
2438 & 2480 DPS Foundation Koala 119, 189 cm (19/20–20/21)
2438 & 2492 Rossignol BLACKOPS Gamer, 186 cm (16/17–20/21)

FULL REVIEW

Three of us have now spent about 10 days on the new Salomon QST Blank, including some nice powder days, some bluebird hardpack days, and a variety of conditions in between. So now, we’ll go into how this ski performs across a wide range of conditions, what makes it stand out from other ~110mm-wide skis, and how it fits into the QST family.

Powder

Dylan Wood (5’11, 155 lbs / 180 cm, 70 kg): Yep, the pretty significantly rockered and tapered tips of the QST Blank float well in powder. In about six inches of fresh snow, its tips planed well and stayed above the surface, and its tails released and slashed easily in powder — although not as effortlessly as some less-directional, even more tail-rockered skis like the Atomic Bent Chetler 120.

Additionally, the QST Blank floated well and skied predictably in fresh snow with both a forward and centered stance, and it felt equally at home in low-angle powder and in steeper terrain.

That said, the QST Blank did feel better to me when skiing fast; with some speed, the ski turned and floated more easily. So no real surprises here, and I would say that, overall, the QST Blank performed slightly above average in powder for a ~110mm-underfoot directional ski.

Luke Koppa (5’8”, 155 lbs / 173 cm, 70 kg): In the few untracked runs I got on the 186 cm QST Blank, I was impressed. I experienced zero weird tip dive, even when I was fortunate enough to catch a couple rope drops and ski what was probably about 1.5 feet of untouched, variable-density snow that hadn’t yet been skied this season.

I also really liked how easy this ski was to turn in fresh snow. Just a slight roll of my ankles was all I needed to get it to start drifting sideways, and in this regard, it did remind me more of the QST 118 than the QST 106.

I doubt this “QST 112” will be the best ski on the market for making huge, Super G turns down open, powder-covered mountain faces, but I have yet to feel like it was forcing me into a tighter turn while skiing soft, consistent snow. And for a place like Crested Butte, where we’re rarely skiing tons of ultra-deep pow and instead have lots of steep, techy terrain, I could see myself being content with the QST Blank as the widest ski in my quiver.

Jonathan Ellsworth (5’10”, ~175 lbs / 178 cm / 79 kg): I haven’t skied the Blank in untracked pow yet, but I’ll be touching on a couple points below that Dylan and Luke have made in this section.

Soft Chop

Dylan Wood: I love me some soft chop at the resort, and the QST Blank was a great tool to maximize the fun in these conditions. When skiing between piles of untracked and cut-up soft snow, the QST Blank stayed quite composed and turned predictably. Its tips did not get deflected easily, and the ski encouraged me to keep my speed up through choppy moguls as well.

Luke Koppa: I’m another fan-boy of soft chop in the resort, and that’s where the QST Blank really stands out to me. With many skis in this class coming in quite light, the QST Blank offers a notably smooth, composed ride when mobbing through softer, choppier conditions and seeing just how fast I can go (and eventually testing just how soft the snow feels when I land on it face-first).

Luke Koppa & Dylan Wood review the Salomon QST Blank for Blister
Luke Koppa on the Salomon QST Blank, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

There are certainly some skis out there that are even better for just making the fastest, biggest turns possible in these conditions. But few of them make quick changes of direction and quick speed checks as easy as the QST Blank. It’s a ski with the weight and most of the stiffness to inspire me to push my personal speed limit in chop, but it’s also got a flex pattern, rocker profile, and shape that make it easy to dial things back from that speed limit, even when I’m not skiing with perfect technique. And given that there’s a very strong correlation between times “when I need to dial back from my speed limit” and times “when I’m not skiing with perfect technique,” that’s a useful combination to have in a ski.

Jonathan Ellsworth: Since I wasn’t allowed to (yet) say anything in the pow section above, I can now chime in to underscore a couple key points that Dylan and Luke are making here. First, I agree with Dylan that the Blank feels best when brought up to a bit of speed. So if you’re looking for a ski primarily for low-angle, low-input noodling, I think there are a number of better, lighter options on the market.

And this brings me to Luke’s comments about how good the Blank feels in resort chop. Bring it up to even just a little bit of speed, and this ski becomes quite compliant, and doesn’t devolve into some twitchy pow ski that’s prone to deflection.

So I would not put the Blank in the category of “chop destroyer,” but I would call it a very “chop-friendly” ski that (to agree with Dylan once again) feels quite good whether you’re driving the shovels or skiing more centered.

Firm, Cruddy, Variable Snow

Dylan Wood: So far, I’ve found that the Blank does okay in these conditions. It doesn’t have the most stable feel when charging though firm crud; it tends to get knocked around a bit and has felt a bit harsh, particularly underfoot. However, I wouldn’t call it unpleasant or noodly in these conditions. I’ve found it to offer good suspension and damping, which allows it to stay composed enough to make bigger turns and have some fun doing some hardpack huckin’.

Luke Koppa: Like most ~110mm-wide skis, the QST Blank wouldn’t be my top pick for skiing a ton of firm, rough conditions. But it’s certainly better than a lot of similarly wide skis.

As Dylan noted, the QST Blank does a pretty good job of smoothing out the rough, chattery feel of these conditions. But you’re still working with a fairly short platform due to the QST Blank’s rocker profile and tapered tips and tails, so it’s not a ski that encourages me to just dig deep and aggressively try to carve my way through crud.

Luke Koppa & Dylan Wood review the Salomon QST Blank for Blister
Luke Koppa on the Salomon QST Blank, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

The QST Blank does a good job of taking some of the edge off the nasty feel of nasty conditions, but it feels best in these conditions when making somewhat shorter, more controlled turns.

Skiing fast in rough, inconsistent snow was probably the one area where I felt like the QST Blank’s tighter sidecut radius might have been a limiting factor. While I didn’t notice it feeling hooky or unpredictable when actually making big turns, it did feel like the ski was grabbing a bit more than I’d like when I tried to make an extended slarve / drift in these conditions. This was a pretty minor annoyance in my experience and something I quickly adjusted to, and I haven’t noticed it in softer conditions. Just something to note.

Jonathan Ellsworth: I’ve spent most of my time on the Blank in soft chop, rock-hard moguls, and fairly soft moguls, so I’m going to hold off on this section for now.

Moguls, Trees, Tight Terrain

Dylan Wood: In tight trees, the QST Blank pivoted easily and provided a relatively “quick” ride. However, this isn’t some ski that can change directions in an instant, and it required a notable amount of input on my end to be able to turn on a dime when needed. In general, I’d say that this is a ski that makes me look (and think) two turns ahead to make sure I could dodge trees and pick a good line. Still, it is certainly quicker and more maneuverable than some similarly heavy, similarly wide skis on the market.

I’d say my least favorite conditions on the QST Blank were large, hard, and steep moguls (granted, these aren’t my favorite conditions in general). Here, the Blank isn’t quite nimble and light enough to be able to make the precise, quick turns necessary for me to enjoy and find flow in huge moguls. I also didn’t find it quite supportive enough through the front of the ski to really drive from a forward stance in large bumps. So if bashing huge, firm moguls is your jam, you might want to consider other skis (even of a similar width).

Luke Koppa: Overall, I’d say the QST Blank is a very maneuverable ski. Its deep rocker lines, tapered tip and tail, and tighter sidecut radius all make for a ski that’s easy to both carve and slarve in tight spots.

That said, compared to the current market of generally lighter-weight skis, the QST Blank doesn’t feel exceptionally quick. While I got used to its weight after a few runs, the extra physical effort it takes to swing the QST Blank’s tips around is noticeable, particularly when switching to much lighter skis like the Moment Deathwish and K2 Reckoner 112.

Luke Koppa & Dylan Wood review the Salomon QST Blank for Blister
Luke Koppa on the Salomon QST Blank, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

I’d agree with Dylan in that super big, densely packed, firm moguls were my least favorite conditions / terrain to ski on the QST Blank. And I’d say that about most 112mm-wide skis I’ve used. Still, I personally never had an issue with the QST Blank not feeling like it was supportive enough through the shovels. And in more widely spaced bumps and trees, I could also get away with skiing it pretty centered.

The main thing I noticed in really tight bumps on this ski was, particularly when I had it mounted around -6 cm from true center (more on that below), the QST Blank’s tail could feel punishing at times. I wouldn’t say it’s a very demanding ski, but it does feel quite stiff around the bindings, and there were a few times where that stiff flex (particularly right behind the bindings) caught me a bit off guard. But aside from the occasional few backseat turns and its heavier swing weight, I really liked the QST Blank in tighter, steeper terrain. And the softer the snow, the more maneuverable this ski feels.

Jonathan Ellsworth: In tighter, steeper terrain, yes. I’m into this ski. But in firm moguls where it’s tricky to find a fluid line … I quite disliked the Blank. Now, I can’t imagine that anybody is considering this ski to use primarily in firm, weird moguls, but (1) remember what Dylan and I have said about this ski wanting a bit of speed to come alive and feel really good? Well if you’re constantly scrubbing speed and searching for lines through big moguls, the Blank felt less good than, say, the 184 cm Volkl Katana 108. (2) I also agree with Dylan that in firm moguls, I felt like the Blank wouldn’t really allow me to get — and stay — on the shovels very easily. Again, I’d point to the Katana 108 as a ski that did. (3) Firm moguls are the only places so far where I’ve felt like I really didn’t like the flex pattern of the Blank. This is in contrast, again, to a ski like the Katana 108, though not only that ski. In firm moguls where you might really be trying to drive the shovels in one instance and tail gun a turn or two in the next instant, the flex pattern of the Blank felt harsh through the middle and its tails, but then didn’t encourage simply trying to drive the shovels of the ski (so as to stay off the back half of the ski).

But again, in no other instance have I felt this, and that is probably the most important thing that you can take away from my going on and on. And in fact, I’ll go a step further: I think the particular flex pattern and rocker profile of this ski (that I don’t love in firm, inconsistent bump lines) is a combination that allows it to function as both a quite-capable all-mountain ski that works well as a pow ski, too. (Though I’ll have to take Dylan and Luke’s word on the whole “good pow ski” thing for the time being.)

Groomers

Dylan Wood: The 186 cm QST Blank’s 17-meter sidecut radius was most apparent to me on groomers, and it made for a fun, easy-to-carve ride. The ski doesn’t require very much speed at all to get on edge and turn. I found myself being able to make some small turns in places where I usually don’t feel like I have enough speed to do so. That being said, the ski feels like it wants to take me across the hill and can become a bit chattery when making big carves at very high speeds. I don’t see this as much of a problem, though; when considering a ski this wide, making fast, high-edge-angle carves down steep, firm groomers isn’t a big priority for me.

Luke Koppa: I’d consider the QST Blank to be a very good carver for its width. As Dylan noted, it’s pretty easy to get on edge (especially considering its shape and rocker profile). And while I’d say it’s the most fun when making smaller- to medium-sized turns on piste, I didn’t find it unpredictable when making bigger, faster turns on piste. If I wanted to make very big turns on the QST Blank, I found myself just feathering the turn a bit more and it’d predictably release its tails, rather than feeling like it was aggressively forcing me into a tighter carved turn.

Luke Koppa & Dylan Wood review the Salomon QST Blank for Blister
Luke Koppa on the Salomon QST Blank, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

While there are outliers in this width that carve better (the Moment Deathwish being the most notable), the QST Blank carves as well or better than I’d ever hope for a playful, ~112mm-wide ski. Combined with its damp ride and versatility across most terrain, I certainly wouldn’t rule it out as a 1-ski quiver if I mostly skied relatively soft conditions.

Jonathan Ellsworth: For now, I don’t disagree with anything these guys have said. Especially if we underscore Luke’s last statement about “if you mostly ski in relatively soft — or very soft — conditions.”

Playfulness

Dylan Wood: There are a few playful aspects of the QST Blank. First, the ski has some nice pop to it that makes getting off the ground relatively easy. Its tails also allowed me to surf and slash, breaking free when I gave some moderate input through the shovels. The QST Blank also had a fairly balanced feel in the air, and it was intuitive to spin, grab, and tweak. It has enough tail splay to allow me to carve and land switch on groomers, though I am not sure how well its fairly low tail would do when skiing backward in uneven and / or soft snow, and I wasn’t really dying to find out.

Luke Koppa: I’d definitely put the QST Blank on the more playful end of the spectrum, but it doesn’t feel like a straight-up freestyle ski.

It allows me to ski it fairly centered, it doesn’t feel really weird in the air, it skis switch pretty well in shallow conditions, and it’s easy to throw sideways. But it’s also got a fairly heavy swing weight, I wouldn’t call it the most energetic ski, and I wouldn’t want to land backward on it in deep pow.

So I think the QST Blank will work very well for folks like me who like to occasionally work in a few spins and flips, but who aren’t primarily concerned about things like an ultralight and / or ultra-balanced feel in the air, or trying to land huge 1’s off cliffs.

Luke Koppa & Dylan Wood review the Salomon QST Blank for Blister
Luke Koppa on the Salomon QST Blank, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

Jonathan Ellsworth: As someone who tends to get along quite well with pretty heavy, substantial, more-directional / less playful skis, I’d say that the Blank offers a good bit of stability without merely feeling like its either some one-dimensional pow and chop crusher, or some happy-fun-times-pow-noodle. I’ll defer to Dylan and Luke about where, exactly, it fits in on the playfulness vs. stability spectrum, but I think it’s safe to say that the Blank lives nearer to the middle of that spectrum.

Mount Point

Dylan Wood: Luke and I did some experimenting with mount points on the QST Blank, and both came to a similar conclusion: we prefer the ski mounted about 1.5 cm forward of the recommended line (around -6.5 cm from true center). At this mount point, the ski felt like it pivoted, slashed, and even carved better. It also felt much more balanced in the air and allowed for easier spins, grabs, and shifties. Mounted +1.5 cm, the QST Blank also didn’t feel much less stable or worse from a directional, forward stance in my experience.

Luke Koppa: Yep, about +1.5 cm from the recommended line ended up being my preferred mount point on this ski for all the reasons Dylan stated.

That said, if you don’t tend to get in the air very often and / or are coming from more directional, rearward-mounted skis, I don’t see any real reason to mount in front of the recommended line. While I did like the QST Blank better in most terrain and conditions with the bindings moved forward, that mostly comes down to my personal skiing style. And it did come with one downside — the ski’s tails feel a bit more punishing of backseat skiing with the bindings moved forward (one additional upside was a more supportive platform on landings). The good news is that I think it skis great mounted on its recommended line, and also skis great (and feels a bit more playful) with the bindings moved slightly closer to center.

Jonathan Ellsworth: Having talked to Luke a bit about the mount point, I’ve so far only skied it on the line, and since the ski has felt good to me everywhere outside of big, firm moguls (where Luke has said that he didn’t love going forward of the line and dealing with more of the Blank’s tail), I suspect that I’ll just be sticking to the recommended line for now.

Who’s It For?

Dylan Wood: I see the QST Blank as a good ski for a fairly wide variety of skiers, and particularly those who ski at mountains that receive consistent snowfall and have plenty of open terrain. Those who like to ski fast and make big turns in soft snow will appreciate the flotation and stability of the QST Blank. While it loves to go fast in soft snow, it is also easy to throw sideways and shut down when needed. Those who like to make the most of the groomers in between off-piste laps will like how easy it is to carve the QST Blank on anything steeper than a cat-track. But those who want a ski that feels like it does not have a speed limit on groomed (or crud-filled) terrain may find that they feel a bit limited by the QST Blank’s tighter sidecut radius.

Luke Koppa: While I wouldn’t say there’s a particular type of skier that the QST Blank is perfect for, I think there are a ton of different people who could really like it.

Given how well it floats, the QST Blank could definitely serve as a dedicated powder ski for some folks. Given how versatile it is, the QST Blank could also work as a do-everything ski for areas that rarely see super-firm conditions. Given how damp and planted it is, the QST Blank could be appealing to directional skiers who value nice suspension in a maneuverable package. And given how playful the QST Blank is, it could also work for skiers who like to throw tricks, but who still appreciate a ski that feels pretty composed in choppier conditions and that allows you to drive it in a directional style.

The QST Blank isn’t for those who only like to make massive turns, it’s not for those who want a wider ski that feels ultra-precise and stable on edge, and it’s not for those who know they really like skis with very rearward mount points, stiff flex patterns, and minimal rocker or taper. It also wouldn’t be my top pick if you specifically want a really light, nimble ski and don’t tend to ski very fast when conditions are more inconsistent. But for all the others, I think the QST Blank is a versatile ski, both in that it works well in a pretty wide range of conditions and terrain, and in that it can adapt to a wide range of skiing styles.

Jonathan Ellsworth: I agree with Dylan and Luke, and might just want to highlight that I don’t think this would be the best choice for those wanting a really easy-going ski that excels with little skier input. But the more wide-open the terrain is where you ski, the less physical input or advanced technique the Blank will require. Conversely, stronger skiers and advanced skiers will likely find here a capable all-mountain ski that works well in techy terrain and on those deeper days.

Bottom Line

The Salomon QST Blank is a smooth, stable, wider all-mountain ski that is best suited to soft conditions. It offers good flotation and blasts through chop well enough to enjoy a resort pow day from the untracked turns you might be lucky enough to find, to the tracked-up pow that you will (definitely) eventually find. It is damp enough to enjoy firmer conditions when it hasn’t snowed in a while, and it is playful and balanced enough to make the most out of big and small airs alike. There are quicker, more forgiving options out there for those who spend a lot of time in tight terrain, as well as more stable options for those who ski with a directional style straight down the fall line. But the QST Blank hits a really nice middle ground between, and can be enjoyed in a variety of terrain by a variety of skiers.

Deep Dive Comparisons

Become a Blister Member or Deep Dive subscriber to check out our Deep Dive comparisons of the QST Blank to see how it compares to the QST 106, QST 118, Moment Deathwish, K2 Reckoner 112, Movement Fly Two 115, Black Crows Anima, Volkl Revolt 121, J Skis Friend, ON3P Woodsman 108, Moment Wildcat, Icelantic Nomad 105, Parlor McFellon Pro, Blizzard Rustler 11, Rossignol BLACKOPS Gamer, Kye Shapes Metamorph, Volkl Katana 108, & J Skis Hotshot.

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28 comments on “2021-2022 Salomon QST Blank”

  1. Another large radius ski bites the dust #ripQST118

    I don’t see why anyone would want a ski that requires speed and is somewhat demanding but also has a 17m turn radius.

    I’m convinced all these new skis with short radii are just so people like them on groomers, when that’s not even what the skis are for.

    • It’s pretty normal for me to go back and forth between harder groomers and powder in the same run, even if that isn’t what the ski is “for” I’d rather have something that’s fun for the entire run, not just the powder parts

    • Everyone’s got their own preferences, but I’d at the very least list myself as an exception to that line about no one wanting a ski that needs a bit of speed and has a tighter sidecut radius.

      Given that at least a portion of every single run I take in the resort includes some time spent on a groomer, I personally do value a ski that makes those groomers actually interesting (for how I like to ski groomers), rather than making those groomers something I need to “deal with” between other terrain (even for wider skis like the Blank). Especially since the Blank’s radius hasn’t felt like it was significantly holding me be back off piste or when skiing quite fast — it feels more stable to me than a lot of lighter skis with longer sidecut radii, such as the Moment Deathwish, Whitedot Altum 114, and Kye Shapes Metamorph. And when skiing fast in chop and crud, the QST Blank feels more stable and composed to me than the QST 118. Again, it comes down to what you personally want from a ski, but especially in the case of the QST Blank, I think focusing primarily on its stated sidecut radius would be oversimplifying things.

      • Hey Luke, thanks for answer glad I put my foot in mouth and sounded like an ass haha.
        I am not against a ski being good in groomers, I just think it is sad when skis with large radii that feather and slarve so well in off piste conditions get renewed with shorter radii that ruin that aspect of the ski.

        Cool to hear that it is more stable in large radius turns than those other skis, I just felt like there were multiple places in the review acknowledging how the ski liked tigher turns so I misunderstood. Hopefully I can get on a demo!

    • Preach Holger! I’m with you on this, I’d love to hear in the reviews how these handle when ridden by a larger athlete. Support from the skis will be very different with a higher center of gravity and more weight flexing them. 6ft+ and 200#+. I’d gladly join you myself blister…

      • @Marcus – we’ve been over this question before, check out this conversation (starting at 37:53):

        https://blisterreview.com/featured/blister-buyers-guide-pt-2-reviews-of-other-buyers-guides-ep-69

        A couple notes:

        Finding people who are exceptionally good at articulating the nuances of what a ski does or doesn’t do — and how it compares to the rest of the category, is not easy. It also adds a lot of other logistical complexities. That said, you – or anyone else – is welcome to email us and submit a sample review, and we’ll see where this goes. And you can *always* leave your own feedback / experience about a product in the Comments section of any review we publish. (Of note, we do not hear from many heavier people saying that they had a wildly different experience on a ski we’ve reviewed … which might allay some of your concerns?)

        Along those lines, we’ve been lining up various products for different people of all shapes and sizes and ability levels from all around the world. We’ve been doing this for years. We also provide Deep Dive comparisons that allow people of different shapes and sizes and ability levels to see how a given product stacks up among its direct competition. And then if you’re still unsure if a particular ski is right for you … you can become a Blister member and once you tell us where you ski, how you ski, what other skis you’ve liked or disliked … we can really home in on the products – and lengths – that will likely be the best fit for you.

        Bottom Line: Some people have the sense that, unless a reviewer is exactly the same size as them and skiing in exactly the same terrain they ski and in exactly the same conditions … our reviews couldn’t possibly be applicable. And if you’re one of those people, you should come to the Blister Summit and test some skis for yourself!

        https://blisterreview.com/featured/the-2021-blister-summit

        And this is actually one of the things we’re really excited about with the new Blister Summit: we’ll still be publishing our normal, full reviews and Deep Dives on Blister, but the Summit will allow us to include feedback from a whole range of different skiers to see what sort of consensus emerges about a given ski, and how that lines up with the perspective of our Blister reviewers. That will be a cool – and interesting – new addition to our reviews.

        • Ive got 6in and 50lbs on Jonathan Ellsworth, but realized years ago that we have a very similar skiing style, and I almost always agree with what he finds about a ski, same with Paul Forward. We as skiers need to identify what type of skier we are, and find the reviewer that most closely matches that.

    • Just heard back from Salomon on this — the women’s QST Lumen 99 is returning unchanged for 21/22, apart from graphics. The 21/22 QST 98 will be available in 169, 176, 183, and 189 cm lengths. The changes for the QST 98 appear to be pretty similar to the QST Blank — the 98 gets the “Double Sidewall,” C/FX at tip and tail, slightly more tapered tip and tail, and a slightly tighter radius (16 m @ 176 cm). Salomon said that the 98 is generally supposed to be a bit more forgiving and playful than the 20/21 QST 99.

  2. I’m very impressed by your work guys, very precise, professional, fair and honest. Big up for all your “hard” work, you’re doing an amazing job, if skiing is what we can call “hard” work ;-)
    What do you think of that Blank with the Shift binding? Is that a set you consider testing? Just wonder :-)
    Thanks

  3. Jonathan, since I have read allmost everything you and your crew has published regarding ski on your website I can confirm here for everybody that the reviews quite often give an outlook on how the ski will or most likey will react to more or less kilogramm blessed riders. I am may be an exception here, but I weigh around 104kg / 230 lb and skis I tested do react different once you get more than 20kg difference of body weight on the skis. than maybe you or your crew will bring to the scale.

    Here is how I “translate” for example Lukes reviews into my weight class (I picked him because he is on a lot of reviews and is about 80lb lighter than me). Whenever I read the ski “needs active input”, “can be sluggish at low speeds” I assume that with my weigh I will not feel the same, meaning I wont consider this already a level of input that I would call “active”. And on the opposite end of the spectrum if I read in his reviews the ski is “very agil but gets thrown around when skied through rough snow” I assume that is no ski for me becacuse I may break that thing on the frist run.

    Maybe you and Luke can give some advise on how to read & translate yor reviews for the guys who belong more to “Meal-Team-Six” or the “Gravy-Seals”. group of people?

    Best regards and (please) keep up the good work!
    Holger

  4. I’m pretty much devastated that the QST 118 is no longer with us… but skiing on a 192cm 118, and having just broken a pair of 188cm 106’s – curious on two points: 1) 194 length vs 192; 2) construction/specifically the width of edges on Blank vs previous QSTs?

    Thanks!

    • I’m guessing the 194 cm Blank will feel like a notably “bigger” ski than the 192 cm QST 118; more stable at speed in chop, but more sluggish and not as loose / surfy in deep snow. But if you like the 192 cm 118 and 188 cm 106, I think the 186 cm Blank would probably feel a bit short to you, so 194 would probably be the safer bet. I’ll take a closer look at those two skis’ edges tomorrow, but I don’t remember the Blank’s edges looking particularly large or small compared to other Salomon skis.

    • I’m curious about this broken pair as I have problem with broken new QST ski and I heard that it’s pretty common problem.
      Was it ski defect or rather defect during usage or maybe non 100% sure sitation?
      I have problem with warratny of mine and I’m looking for more informations to describe this problem.
      You can email me: maatt212@gmail.com

    • We’re still working on getting on that ski, so I can’t really provide an accurate estimate for when we’d post a review. But we’re trying to get on it ASAP.

    • Update: just confirmed the 183 cm QST 98 is headed our way, so we should have a Flash Review up in the next few weeks, and a full review by the end of the season.

  5. 1) Have any of you gotten to compare the flex of the 194 to the 186? Does Salomon have a history of bulking up their longer skis? Ive been looking for a replacement to the 193 Blizzard Gunsmoke (a 110-115mm wide 190cm plus twin) for years and this seems like it might be close, but Im slightly nervous about the tips and tails. The Blank seem to flex a bit softer in the ends then the current Blizzard Rustler 10, and that scares me because I am not getting along with the Rustler 10 at all.

    2) When I saw the comparisons, I immediately thought of Rossignol Black Ops Sender Squad. Do you guy have a pair? Does the B.O.S.S. compare to the Blank or are they too different? The B.O.S.S. is a heavy, stiff, semi-damp charger, with a moderate amount of pop, big mountain charger, and the Blank seems to be more of a fun playful ski.

    • I haven’t seen a 194 in person, but I’ll check with Salomon to see if they have any thoughts on whether it is disproportionately burlier than the 186 (I’m guessing they’re similar, though). Overall, I’d say the 186 cm Blank feels like a stronger, more stable ski than the 188 Rustler 10. That said, I don’t think we’ve had anyone who has skied the Blank and Gunsmoke.

      Regarding the Squad, a few of our reviewers actually just got on it last week at the Summit, and we will be doing a long-term test later this season. Based on what they said, the Sender definitely seems like more of a directional charger, though they all noted how relatively easy it was for being so long, heavy, and stiff.

      We’re also going to be testing the 192 cm Dynastar M-Free 108 (which we also got on at the Summit), and that seems like a better Gunsmoke replacement than the Blank. Rossi is also making a 190+ cm length of the Black Ops Gamer next season at some point, which could also serve as a heavier, more damp, more stable option that’s still pretty maneuverable and somewhat playful.

    • They definitely share some similarities. Their suspension and stability are pretty similar, but the MB108 prefers a slightly more forward stance and generally feels a bit more directional. The Blank is a bit looser and easier to slash around, while the MB108 carves better. I’d say they’re pretty similar in terms of flotation, though the Blank is looser in fresh snow. The MB108’s tail is a touch more forgiving, but the Blank lets you ski it a bit more centered / less forward. Overall, I’d say the MB108 is a bit more versatile across a broader range of conditions, while the Blank is slightly more playful and stiffer.

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