Ski: 2015-2016 Salomon Q-105, 188cm
Dimensions (mm): 136-105-128
Sidecut Radius: 23.3 meters
Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (Straight Tape Pull): 187.4cm
Mount Location: Factory Recommended Line (87.4cm from tail)
Boots / Bindings: Nordica Patron Pro / Salomon Z12 (DIN at 11)
Test Location: Alta Ski Area
Days Skied: 5[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 13/14 Quest 105, which was not changed for 14/15 or 15/16, except for the graphics. The ski’s name was also shortened to the “Q-105” for the 14/15 season.]
Salomon has designed two lines of skis that have a very similar on snow feel; there is a very strong family resemblance between the Rocker2 skis and the new Quest series.
Because of that, this review is going to focus a good bit on the similarities and differences between the 188cm Quest 105 and the 190cm Salomon Rocker2 108, because the Quest 105 feels a whole lot like a slightly tweaked Rocker2 108. (See Jason Hutchins’ review and Will Brown’s review of the 108.)
In short, directional skiers who like the sound of the Rocker2 108 but want that quick and playful feel in a ski that is designed more for carving and hard pack performance than jibbing or skiing switch…Ta Da!
The Quest 105 is your new ski.
Flex & Camber Profile
Hand flexing the 190 Rocker2 108 and the Quest 105 is quite similar, close enough that I’m hesitant to make pronouncements about which is stiffer through the tail, shovel, tip, etc. The pair of Quest 105s I’m testing feel slightly stiffer, but it’s close enough that I don’t think the flex pattern ought to factor into which ski you might choose.
The very tip of the Quest 105 is stiffer than that of the 108, but the two skis have a very similar tip shape:
The shovels of both skis have a medium flex, with tails that are noticeably (but not drastically) stiffer than the shovels and tips.
The Quest 105 has a fairly deep rocker line into the shovel, 4-5 millimeters of camber underfoot (slightly more than the Rocker2 108), and a skin-friendly squared-off tail that is slightly upturned but not rockered.
The Rocker2 108 has a slightly deeper rocker line and a bit more splay than the Quest 105, but the primary difference really comes down to their tails:
And the differences in the tails translate to on-snow performance exactly as you would expect: the Rocker2 108 is the looser, less directional ski; the Quest 105 is a much more directional, locked-in carver.
Also, the widest point of the tail on the Quest 105 is just a few centimeters from the very back of the ski—no heavily tapered pintail here.
The Rocker2 108 has a little bit more taper to its rockered tail, a feature of its more pow-oriented and switch-friendly design.
Despite their differences, when skiing the 108s and Quest 105s on back-to-back runs at Alta, I was still surprised by how much better the Quest 105 was at holding an edge through a turn. As Will Brown mentions in his 108 review, the Rocker2 108 can carve well, but those tails will break loose into a slide. It’s a very predictable slide, but when absolutely hauling down Alta’s Collins Face in firm conditions, I couldn’t fully trust the 108 to hold an edge. I could always trust the Quest 105.
The medium flex of the Quest 105 makes them easy to bend and lock in on edge for high-angulation turns. Rebound out of the turn was good, but the skis weren’t launching my 185 pounds into the next turn.
That Salomon “Feel” (aka, Those Tips; aka, We’re Jumping Down the Rabbit Hole)
Before I get to how the Quest 105 performs in other conditions, I need to mention one of the distinctive aspects of most (maybe all) of the skis in Salomon’s Rocker2 and Quest lineups. I’ve skied the Quest 105, the Quest 115 (last year known as the Rocker2 115), and the Rocker2 108. On the women’s side, Julia Van Raalte has reviewed the Salomon Stella and the Salomon Lumen. And one thing that all of these skis have in common is the feeling that you have a relatively short amount of ski in front of your bindings, and relatively long tails.
It’s unusual. Obviously, jib and park skis are often center mounted (or nearly center mounted: 0-4cms behind the center of the ski’s sidecut). Directional chargers often have a lot of tip relative to the amount of tail (7-8cms behind the center of the ski’s sidecut). But I can’t think of many other (any other?) directional skis that have this same feeling of short shovels, long tails.
And yet, the factory recommended mount point of the 188cm Quest 105 is 87.4 centimeters from the tail, and 100 centimeters from the tip, which puts the recommended line 6.3 centimeters behind true center: a distance that’s within a pretty normal mount position range for directional skis, perhaps just 1 or 2 centimeters forward.
Furthemore, the 190cm Salomon Rocker2 108’s mount position is listed as -3cm of true center, so 3.3cms in front of the Quest 105, and yet … they feel very similar on the “short shovel, long tail” front.
More on Mount Positions (Still Falling Down The Rabbit Hole)
Mounted on the line, you’ll notice how quick and easy it is to whip the shovels around on the Quest 105, as well as all of the Salomon’s I’ve skied. And at times, you might feel like you’ve got a good bit of tail behind you.
So naturally, I tried moving the bindings back 1cm on the 188cm Quest 105s, and immediately … the ski felt off. I took two runs, felt like I had screwed up the ski, and immediately moved the bindings back to the recommended line.
It’s a quirky thing with these skis: they all ski great, but speaking now specifically about the 188cm Quest 105, it feels best mounted on the line, with those short-ish shovels.
In conclusion, I do not recommend mounting these back, and I see no reason to move forward. The sidecut of this ski (and perhaps the sidecut + flex pattern + rocker line + splay in the tips) seems to work best at the recommended mount point. So for what it’s worth, I didn’t find this ski to invite a lot of experimentation with the mount point. The Quest 105s are fun, quick skis, but it is a different feel. And going back even 1 centimeter felt like it took the 105s out of their large sweet spot.
OK, I’ll shut up now. We’re exiting the rabbit hole.