2nd Look: 2015-2016 Salomon Q-115, 188cm
Dimensions (mm): 139-115-131
Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 187.2cm
Sidecut Radius: 21 meters
Boots / Bindings: Lange RX 130 / Salomon Guardian
Mount Location: Factory Recommended Line
Test Locations: Jackson Hole, Teton Pass
Days skied: 8
[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 12/13 Rocker2 115, which was not changed for 13/14, 14/15, or 15/16, except for its graphics. (The ski’s name was also changed to the “Q-115” for the 13/14 season.)]
In Will Brown’s review of the Salomon Rocker2 115, he painted a full picture of the 115’s performance 0n groomed snow and hardpack from our time in Las Leñas. He didn’t, however, get the Rocker2 115 into much soft snow, but he was left with the general impression that it could smear through a variety of turn shapes while remaining stable and predictable.
Since then, I’ve logged time on the Rocker2 115, primarily in powder and chopped pow at Jackson Hole and on Teton Pass, and I can confirm Will’s hunch that this ski remains manageable while ripping soft snow. I also had the chance to check out the 115’s capabilities in pow, chop, and drops.
In early December, we got hit with lots of snow here in Jackson Hole, and Teton Pass was going off before the resort had enough coverage to open the upper mountain. In 8-10” of blower down the gut of Glory Bowl, the Rocker2 115s cruised. The ski floated well, and the tips drove through the fresh snow yet returned to the surface with the slightest flex of the ankles.
I found that there were two turn shapes the 115s most wanted to make when I opened it up down the bowl. With increased edge angle and pressuring the tips, the skis want to come around relatively quickly—not surprising given the moderately long tip rocker (49 cm) and the 21m radius.
Once I flattened out the bases, assumed a more balanced stance, and changed my turn style to a slightly slarvier approach, I could make the kind of super-g turns that really put a smile on my face. When I reached very high speeds, however, I noticed that I had to lean back a bit to maintain stability and control, and keep the tips riding on the surface.
The 115 was able to make both slarvier turns and carved turns, but, to me, the skis felt more at home with the tails extended in some degree of slarve. Again, not surprising, as this ski is not a traditional, damp, stiff, charging beast—it has elements of new shape, a subtly tapered tip, and next to no taper in the minimally rockered tail (23cm).
Backcountry Wind-Affected Pow
When I returned to Glory Bowl the following day under slightly wind-affected conditions, I had to lean back quite a bit to keep the 115s charging in the denser snow. The Rocker2 115 is a lightweight ski with a moderate flex, and it’s not a super damp ski, so again it doesn’t handle like a pure charger in wind-affected snow. I found the flex to be somewhat soft in the tip, moderate through the cambered section, and stiffer in the tail.
I had the most fun skiing the 115 at medium to lower speeds in tighter situations, pillow zones, and mini golf lines. Through the Rocky Gulch area (a small zone off of Glory that has all of these features) the 115s were entirely in their element. They made short, quick, low-angle farmed turns well and were easy to steer and make quick directional changes simply by running bases flat.
With some speed, they were also easy to slash in and out of the woods and pop over dead trees and small rocks. This is when I realized how much potential this ski had for air, as it was very well balanced for zooming off the 3–5-foot rocks on the way down to the road.