2018-2019 Salomon QST 106

Jonathan Ellsworth and Sam Shaheen review the Salomon QST 106 for Blister
Salomon QST 106

Ski: 2018-2019 Salomon QST 106, 188 cm

Available Lengths: 167, 174, 181, 188 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 186.7 cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2036 & 2064 grams

Stated Dimensions: 142-106-127 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 141.5-105.7-126.3

Stated Sidecut Radius: 20.0 meters

Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 58 mm / 24 mm

Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~2 mm

Core: Poplar + Titanal Underfoot + Koroyd Tip/Tail Inserts + Carbon/Flax/Basalt Laminate

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -7.85 cm from center; 85.6 cm from tail

Blister’s Recommended Mount Point: Recommended Line

Bindings: Salomon SHIFT MNC

Test Locations: Telluride Ski Resort, Front Range backcountry, & Arapahoe Basin, CO; Alta, UT


  • Sam Shaheen (5’10”, 140 lbs)
  • Jonathan Ellsworth (5’10”, 175 lbs.)

Days Skied: ~17


Last year we reviewed the 17/18 version of the Salomon QST 106, and were impressed by its versatility, highly recommending it as a 50/50 resort + backcountry option.

And for the 18/19 season, the popular QST series from Salomon is getting a few changes. The QST 92, 99, 106, and 118 will all have another layer of directional flax laminate (horizontal, to reduce vibrations in that direction) and a bit more carbon. Then, the QST 99 and 106 will also get a layer of basalt under the core to increase edge hold and stability.

Yes, you read that right, basalt.

(And to think, I’ve spent most of my life trying to avoid rocks on my skis.)

Anyway, the real question here is, how do these changes translate on snow? Jonathan Ellsworth and I have now had the 18/19 QST 106 in conditions ranging from bulletproof to light pow, and we’ve been impressed.

Flex Pattern

First, here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the new QST 106:

Tips: 5
Shovels: 5-6
In Front of Toe Piece: 7.5-8.5
Underfoot: 9.5
Behind Heel Piece: 9.5-9
Tails: 8-7

Jonathan: Since Paul Forward has yet to send us back the 17/18 QST 106 from Alaska (Hey Paul, stop all that heli skiing and ship us back some skis, yo!), we haven’t yet been able to flex the 17/18 and 18/19 QST 106 back-to-back. But having first put numbers up for the 18/19 QST 106, then looking back on our numbers for the 17/18 QST 106 … it doesn’t appear that the flex pattern has been altered much. If anything, I’d wager a very small amount of money that the back half of the 18/19 ski is slightly stiffer underfoot and behind the heel piece, but that’s about it. Long and short: there isn’t some newsworthy change in the flex pattern of the 18/19 QST 106.

Directional? Playful?

(Sam Shaheen – 5’10”, 140 lbs.) The first thing I noticed about the QST 106 on snow was how directional it felt. Under my feet, it felt like it wanted me to drive the shovels, and it responded well to a stronger touch. The more input I gave the ski, the more energy and responsiveness I got out. The new QST 106 has a pretty powerful tail (again, perhaps just a bit stronger than the 17/18 QST 106) and feels distinctly less playful than some of the other ~105 mm-underfoot, tip and tail rockered skis in this category.

However, if the 188 cm QST 106 isn’t among the most playful skis in this category, the upside here is the ski’s versatility, since when conditions get bad, more playful skis often get scary.

But on the QST 106, I found that I could drive the ski hard to get through bad conditions or sketchy terrain. Heavier skiers than me should not expect to find the QST 106 to be extremely stable, but I found the 188 cm QST 106 to provide a long and solid platform underfoot, and it inspired confidence where more center mounted, playful skis tend to do the opposite.

Thankfully, the QST 106 is not overly demanding. The tail is fairly powerful, but it doesn’t feel punishing — the QST 106 isn’t the most forgiving ski in the category, but it isn’t punishing by any means.

Sam Shaheen and Jonathan Ellsworth review the Salomon / Atomic SHIFT Binding
Sam Shaheen on the Salomon QST 106, Telluride Ski Resort, CO.

(Jonathan Ellsworth – 5’10”, ~175 lbs.): Just to be perfectly clear, the QST 106 is no Blizzard Cochise or HEAD Monster 108. Nor is it nearly as heavy as those skis.

But I would agree with Sam that the QST 106 can be pushed a bit harder than similar skis in its weight class — it just lacks the power and damp feel of metal laminate skis that weigh a whole lot more (and that I would have no interest in touring on).

And that’s one of the things that has impressed me most about the 188 cm QST 106: it feels quite predictable and manageable in most of the terrain and conditions that I’ve had it in.


Sam: Nothing about the shape or rocker profile of this ski screams “great bump ski,” but I’ve been impressed with the QST 106 in bumps nonetheless. When bashing early season moguls in the minefield of Palivachini at Arapahoe Basin, the QST 106 seemed to have just enough edge-to-edge quickness to avoid most of the rocks / trees / logs / stumps while still having enough girth to not feel punchy in the softer spots.

While the QST 106 is not extraordinarily fast edge-to-edge, it does have a good amount of energy. In Pali (where the bumps tend to be quite steep and oddly shaped), I don’t often ski the bumps hard, and the QST 106 doesn’t really encourage zipperline skiing in such bumps. When zipperlining moguls, the QST 106 definitely feels a bit sluggish, especially compared to the Rossignol Soul 7 HD, which is very quick edge to edge with tons of energy.

Blister reviews the Salomon QST 106
Jonathan Ellsworth on the Salomon QST 106, Telluride Ski Resort, CO.

But if you like to ski bumps with a driving stance while hopping over troughs and burning speed on the tops, then you’ll likely get along just fine with the QST 106.

Jonathan: I agree. I really dislike fat shovels in bumps, but in well-spaced bumps, the QST 106 is still easy to ski in more of a fall-line style, and in weird-ass bumps, the QST 106 is quite happy to have you slow things down and pick your way through. So I think most people will do just fine with the QST 106 in moguls, but those who put a premium on very hard, fast, mogul skiing might want to look elsewhere.


Sam: The most surprising thing for me about the QST 106 is how hard this thing rails groomers. Whether you chalk it up to the basalt (I love mineral puns) or not, the new QST 106 has a lot of edge hold, power, and torsional rigidity underfoot. Granted, this is still a lightweight ski, so it doesn’t match the precision and power of a dedicated carving ski. But in the category of ~105mm wide, 50/50 skis, the QST 106 does very well on groomers. It can be driven fairly hard through the shovels, and the harder I push it, the more energy I get out of the turn. With a sharp tune, this thing is an absolute blast on groomers.

Jonathan: Yep, agreed. And I would actually be very curious to see how the 181 cm QST 106 feels on groomers, because I think it is going to be an even snappier, quicker ski that could still be pushed pretty hard (at least on softer groomers) in bigger GS turns.

And to tip my hand here, I am quite curious about the 181 cm QST 106 in general. I.e., for those skiers who have no interest in touring on a 188 cm-long ski, the 181 cm QST 106 is going to be lighter and quicker than the 188, and if you’re willing or simply prefer to make quick, short turns, I think the 181 is going to be the better option, and I suspect that it isn’t going to sacrifice all of the stability of the 188 cm QST 106.


Sam: Paul Forward was extremely impressed by the powder performance of the previous iteration of the QST 106, and I’ve had fairly similar experience on this version.

The shape of the QST 106 really lends itself to high-speed slashes and slarves. No, it doesn’t float like a 120+ waisted powder ski, but of the skis I’ve used in this class, I think the 18/19 QST 106 still belongs near the top of the category.

Blister reviews the Salomon QST 106
Sam Shaheen on the Salomon QST 106, Berthoud Pass, CO.

While I personally haven’t skied the 17/18 QST 106, given what Paul and Jonathan have said about it, it sounds like the new QST 106 is a touch stiffer and stronger, so it might (??) not float quite as well as the 17/18 QST 106. But we’ll have to A/B the two skis to confirm this.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that the 18/19 QST 106’s tip splay is fairly low at 58 mm (our 17/18 pair has 62 mm of tip splay). With a bit softer tip or a bit more tip splay, I think the QST 106 would plane up in pow slightly better.

Jonathan: It’s never occurred to me that the QST 106 could use more tip splay or a softer tip, but Sam has also skied the QST 106 in more pow than I have. (And yes, it’s a fact that more tip splay will facilitate more flotation.) But I personally wouldn’t be tempted to add more tip splay or to soften the tip of the QST 106. Because as Sam said, I already think the QST 106 is a good pow ski for its width. But what I think is most impressive is that it is a good pow ski that also works quite well outside of pow. And that’s not the easiest trick in the world to pull off on skis of this width or weight range.

Variable Snow / Chop

Sam: For a ski that weighs in around 2040 grams, I’d say that the 18/19 QST 106 does surprisingly well in choppy, variable conditions. I didn’t find it to feel hooky, jittery, or pingy, even in variable snow. Of course, this isn’t a damp, dedicated crud buster, but in the category of 50/50 skis, it feels strong and has a powerful tail.

Blister reviews the Salomon QST 106
Jonathan Ellsworth on the Salomon QST 106, Telluride Ski Resort, CO.

Jonathan: Yeah, if we were going to go ski open bowls of chopped-up snow, I can’t think of any skis of this weight / width that I would clearly choose over the 188 cm QST 106. I also don’t think I’d call it head-and-shoulders better than some of the other skis in this category, but I have yet to ski the QST 106 in terrain or conditions where I felt like the ski simply didn’t work or became terrifying.

In the Air

Sam: For a ski that feels so directional on snow, it is surprising to me how comfortable the QST 106 also feels in the air. It is most comfortable sending straight airs off natural features, but it also doesn’t feel completely out of place spinning.


Sam: When I first got on the QST 106 with a factory tune, it felt quite track-y and locked in — especially in the tails. A quick gummy stone to the tips and tails (detuned to just past the contact point) loosened the ski up perfectly and predictably.

Jonathan: I typically am less quick to detune a ski as Sam is, but I only skied the QST 106 after Sam took his gummy to it, and I’ve had zero complaints about its performance. So I personally would advise skiing the QST 106 straight out of the wrapper, then see if you agree with Sam that it could use a bit of a detune.

As a “50/50” or 1-Ski Quiver

Sam: Our QST 106 is mounted with the Salomon SHIFT bindings, and as a result, about half of the days I have on it are touring days. If you have a more traditional skiing style and like to drive the shovels, then I think the QST 106 would make a great 50/50 or 1-ski-quiver in most higher-snow areas.

For a backcountry ski, the 188 cm QST 106 definitely falls on the more powerful end of the spectrum. And when mounted with a Shift binding, the 188 cm QST 106 is a great BC charger that can be pushed quite hard in snow ranging from even slightly soft to quite deep.

Blister reviews the Salomon QST 106
Sam Shaheen with the Salomon QST 106, Jones Pass, CO. (photo by Jacob Winey)

As a 50/50 or inbounds ski, the QST 106 is a good, directional option that performs quite well in soft snow with surprisingly good edge hold when things firm up — though again, it won’t be as damp or stable as other heavier, dedicated inbounds skis.

Jonathan: Personally, I would be most interested in the QST 106 either as a touring ski, or as my resort pow ski. If it hasn’t snowed in a week or two, I’d prefer to be on something heavier inbounds. But I’ve now toured on the QST 106 in enough crap snow that I’d feel pretty comfortable on it as my only touring ski. You’ll have to decide if you want something lighter for the touring you do, but the QST 106 + SHIFT binding is a very impressive combination.

And if I was going to throw an alpine binding on the QST 106, I could happily break it out for any 6” – 18” storms.

Bottom Line

The 18/19 Salomon QST 106 is a pretty powerful ski that can be pushed hard for its weight, yet it is still quite easy to ski. Jonathan and I have found few instances where the ski has felt wildly out of place, and that’s what you want to be able to say about a 1-ski quiver. While it isn’t the most playful ski in this category, it is among the most predictable.

Strong, predictable, and quite easy to ski. We’re pretty sure that combination is going to appeal to a broad range of skiers, and it should.

NEXT: Rocker Profile Pics

28 comments on “2018-2019 Salomon QST 106”

  1. As a 50/50 Touring/Resort pow Ski would you reccomment the 106 or the 99 for the PNW? Main sticks are Enforcer 93s.

  2. How do these compare to the Fischer Ranger 108? I think it would be an interesting comparison as they are similar weight, width, and both are positioned for inbounds and touring setups.

  3. mr. broken record here : any plans to get on the new 99’s ? the new layup sounds like a pretty big improvement. as always, thanks for the info…

  4. Thanks for the great reviews! Can you please offer us a more detailed back to back comparison between the 17-18 QST 106 and 18-19 QST 106?

  5. Hello, I am an intermediate skier 6’5″ but only 170lbs and I have to questions. For use 70% touring and 30% All mountain resort, would you recommend:
    QST 99 or QST 106? And 181 or 188 (considering my weight and level).
    Strictly for use in Utah.

    • Did you ever get a response on this? I’m same size, trying to choose between 181 and 188 for the 106. Like to go fast through chop but I spend a lot of time in trees too.

  6. Hello everyone would be a huge help if everyone could give me a little direction on witch skies i should go with. I am 5’11” and 170 lbs. I would like to say I’m a advanced skier but no means expert even tho I have the eye’s, heart, and balls to do some stupid stuff! lol… My line up of skies that I was hoping to get some feedback from and that I’m considering are these.

    Liberty orgin 106
    Head Kore 105
    Salomon QST 106

    all of these skies look like they could be great al around skies for out west making them a 1 ski for all. I probably need help with size too guys. I would probably want to stay at the 10ish size apposed to the 180 size cause i prefer a turner instead of a burner but tell me different cause I just don’t know?

  7. I am 6’8″ 250 lbs 50 year old Colorado skier – advance to expert level that primarily tries to avoid the crowds on the groomers by playing in the bowls, moguls or spacious trees. Love making big turns in the chopped up crud of the bowls all season long and working down a couple long mogul runs during a day on the slopes.
    Would really appreciate your thoughts for me making turns over the next couple seasons on the QST 99 or 106 or the Icelantic Nomad 105. I am a little concern I might overpower the QST with my size not sure if the Nomad is stiffer. I do like the technology in the QST but not sure if that is an advantage for someone my size. I have always admired the Icelantic line but have never been on them, normal size friends seem to really love them.

    Thank you very much in advance for your guidance.

  8. I ski nunataqs backcountry 178 and Atomic snoop daddy 174. After back surgery, I’m now 5’8″ and 190#. As I’m approaching 50 I’m not hard charging as much and really enjoy the tossability of the snoops in the trees with their 20 radius. I ski w teen boys 2 of 3 outski me now and need to keep up!. No parks, no air. Can’t drive the ski as hard, don’t want chatter but weight important for uphill. Want a one quiver to mount to switch bindings here in the Pac NW for days at Meadows resort and backcountry touring that isn’t as extreme as in my youth. Started out thinking Soul7, looked at Enforcer 100 and now stuck between Bent 100s or QST 106. Seems like the top features I need are ability to ski all conditions (pacific nw changes minute to minute) out of bounds/AT, but lively enough to be easily flickable w/ my beat up body in the trees.

    • Hey there,

      I think you’ve got a good group of skis there to pick from. The QST 106 really feels happiest when being driven, so I’d point you toward a ski that likes a bit more of a neutral stance. The Line Sick Day 104 isn’t on your list, but I think it probably should be. It’s quite light and easy to flick around while maintaining a great suspension and versatile shape. I think the SD 104 or the Soul 7 are both excellent skis for how you describe your skiing.

      Hope that helps,

      • Just had a chance to demo bent Chet 100 (more playful than I am) and the 106. Sam, you are spot on. I had to drive it more than my liking, especially in bumpy tree terrain. Soul 7 HD and SD up next. My days of wild, wild Backcountry may be less, all skis have trade offs. I may try qst 99 and enforcer 100 to see if it’s enough of a sweet spot for touring. Thanks for your reply!!

  9. Hey Sam! great review i just can’t wait to feel mines under my boots. If you could help me with a decission it would be really helpfull. Did you feel great with the binding position recomendation from salomon or you would change it?. I would like to put them more to the front as i do 360 and other tricks, but i don’t know if thats going to compromise floatability.

    • Hey Marc,

      I never got a chance to play around with the mount point on the QST 106, but as a rule of thumb, you’re always going to gain a bit of quickness/playfulness and lose a bit of float/stability every cm you move the binding forward. 1-2 cm either direction typically won’t make a huge difference in the way a ski performs, but it is noticeable. Moving the bindings much more than that can definitely change the feel of the ski.

      For the QST 106, I like the recommended mounting point but I would say that it feels rather directional mounted there. Moving it up a few centimeters would (I imagine) make the ski a bit quicker and more balanced in the air.

      Hope that helps!

  10. Hi! I would be quite interested in a comparison to the 181cm length. SkiEssentials reviewed the 181 and it almost seems like they are describing a different ski in terms of the playfulness and quicknesss.

    I have the Rocker 2 100 in both 178 and 186 and they do in fact ski like different skis – massive difference between the two in terms of playfulness and stability. It seems that the extra length is added disproportionately to the thicker, stiffer mid-section of the ski – making the longest length in the lineup much stiffer and heaver relative to the differences between the shorter lengths.

    Perhaps Salomon does this because they assume those ordering the longest length in the 1-ski-quiver category need something that can charge in bigger terrain and accommodate bigger skiers. Curious what you guys think.


  11. After skiing last years model on 2-3″ of new snow over frozen corn at 188 cm the changes made for this season look to be just what was needed. More strength and more weight to address some of shortcomings noticed in the older ski. In particular, on hard pack and shorter radius turns they are chatterboxes. At speed they are a bit busy underfoot. Edge hold is lacking on frozen corn even with a 3 degree sidewall.

    All of these issues are addressed in the 18-19 ski.

  12. Hi,

    I am looking at buying either the qst 99 159 or 167 or 106 in 167 (im 153cm). I now live in NZ and after riding on floaty DPS skis I’m after something that will handle harder snow conditions. I loved to carve on my fat DPS (this was easier on japan’s groomed runs), however when conditions get icy here in NZ it’s just not that fun and when it gets cruddy there’s a lot of tip flapping. I’m trying to find something that will be more stable in crud and hard pac snow. However, I still want something that I can cruise on in the powder as I am mostly in the backcountry.

    My feeling is that the 106 may perform fairly similarly on hard pac to the 99 but be a lot more fun in the pow and slush but I would love and appreciate some advice on what to go for?

    Thanks so much!

  13. Hi, thanks, great review.

    Are there fundamental differences between 99 and 106 (beyond being larger / better in powder for 106 and thinner / better on pistes for 99) ?

    I’m a good skier with a 50/50 piste/off piste program looking for an versatile and not too physically hard ski (sensitive knees!).

    Thanks a lot. Cheers from France.

  14. Hi,
    How would you compare the qst 106 to an Ranger 98 as a 50/50 Ski. Is it much more pow/Freeride orientated or quiet the same spectrum. I am looking for a 50/50 ski for the alps. I feel those two Ski mark the lower and upper boundaries of the 50/50 category.

  15. Hi! Just mounted my 18/19 106s in a 181. Camber ist more like 5mm per ski. Mounted a cm back to be closer to the 19/20 rec. line. They ski great, actually the mount feels fairly progressive for a skier coming from DPS AND K2 mounting points. Very nice ski with maybe slightly soft bases.

Leave a Comment