2017-2018 Salomon QST 118

Corn

At the end of our 12-hour steep-skiing tour of the North Chugach and Kenai Peninsula, we took a couple of long, cruisy runs that started in ankle-deep pow on the glaciers and terminated with big, open high-speed corn carving almost all the way to the beach of the gulf of Alaska.

Maintaining a centered or forward stance, I could push as hard as I wanted while making almost hip-dragging carved turns back to the heli. It was super fun, and I again experienced the same poppy energy rebounding from turn to turn. Based on my time so far, I would say that the QST 118 is one of the most fun ~120mm-wide skis I’ve ever used on corn.

Tight Terrain vs Open

The quick and light feel of the 118 seem to make them ideal for popping and slashing around in tight steep spots, and generally, I found that to be true as long as the snow was uniformly soft. When the snow got firm and I was hop turning in variable conditions and steep terrain, the QST 118 didn’t feel as reliable to me, and I attribute that mostly to its dramatic rocker profile, but also to its lighter weight and tapered tips. When choosing a big mountain powder ski, this is important to me because it’s not that uncommon (whether at a resort or heli or sled skiing) that I find myself dealing with a technical, steep entrance in windblown or rocky conditions to access a run. I need more time on the 118, but I can’t yet say that the 118 inspires enough confidence in difficult, tricky conditions to choose them as my everyday big mountain ski.

Having said that, in big open terrain (like that described above) the 118 is a great powder ski. The heavily rockered tip (that seems to become a bit of a liability in crappy snow), is almost unsinkable — even for a 195 lb skier with a 30+ lbs guide pack.

Inbounds

So far, I’ve only heli skied with the QST 118 but I’m looking forward to banging out some resort laps this fall. I think it will be a fun, playful ski that will rip groomers, get knocked around a bit in chop, and will float and slash in pow.

Air

It’s unusual for me to seek out cliffs while I’m working, but inevitably, there are ridge transfers, small hits, and bergschrunds throughout the day of varying sizes. I was skeptical that the heavily rockered tail of the QST 118 would support me and my pack on landings, but this hasn’t been an issue at any point during my time on them so far. Skiing on my own time and with a light pack, I wouldn’t hesitate to get into the air with these skis.

Bottom Line

We look forward to getting more time on the new QST 118, but based on my two incredible days of big mountain riding and Jonathan’s time on the QST 118 at Silverton, we can recommend it to those looking for a playful, sub-120mm-wide ski that will shine in deep conditions, but that can still hold it’s own in big terrain.

Deep Dive Comparisons

To see our comparisons of the QST 118 to the Salomon Rocker 2 122, Rossignol Super 7 HD, Rossignol Super 7 RD, Blizzard Spur, Atomic Bent Chetler, Salomon Quest 115, Moment Bibby Pro, Moment Governor, Armada Norwalk, and the Liberty Origin 116, become a Blister Member or a Blister Deep Dive subscriber.

NEXT: Rocker Profile Pics

12 Comments

  1. Blister Member
    SkiAlex August 1, 2016 Reply

    So, Salomon made a bad copy of DPS Wailer 112RP?

    • ?

      The QST 118 is 6mm wider, and has a different tip shape, different tail shape, different tip splay, different tail splay, different flex pattern, different rocker profile, different sidecut radius, and different mount points. I mean, both products are designed to go downhill on snow, but that’s pretty much where the similarity ends. All of the skis we’re going to talk about in our Deep Dive Comparisons have more in common with the QST 118 (in terms of their design or purpose) than the Wailer 112.

  2. Blister Member
    Andrew August 2, 2016 Reply

    Sounds like an epic day! I know it’s the middle of summer but I could totally go for a day like that right now. Looking forward to the Deep Dive.

    Andrew

  3. willie August 3, 2016 Reply

    Sounds like another crappy Salomon ski, why are companies so hellbent on going “light ” on their skis? and going with such extreme taper? You are only going to lose stability in conditions that are less then perfect powder, which by your review sounds like the only conditions the QST really works well. But then again any 118m rockered ski will work good in perfect powder, sounds like just another “follow the trend” ski, just to boost sales.

  4. Blister Member
    Lucas September 26, 2016 Reply

    I don’t know, somehow this review leaves a bit of a bad taste.
    My expectations where high after listening to the Cody Townsend podcast.

    I probably go for the Salomon QST 106 or MTN LAB instead.
    I want to replace my K2 Sidestash which is a great (almost one quiver) ski. I’m looking for a little more playfulness, a little more float and a little less weight. For more serious touring I’m using the Salomon MTN 95, a great ski.

    • Author
      Paul Forward September 29, 2016 Reply

      thanks for reading Lucas. First, I totally agree with your appraisal of the MTN 95, great ski.

      There might be better skis for what you’re looking for but the QST definitely checks the boxes of playfulness, float and a little less weight without being a lightweight ski. Check out the some of our reviews on other skis in this waist width. For me, it’s hard to beat the Bibby Pro but there are a bunch of 110+ playful pow skis out there. For a bunch of comparisons in this category check out the upcoming buyers guide.

      • Blister Member
        Lukas October 4, 2016 Reply

        Thanks for your reply, Paul. I’ll keep my eyes peeled.

  5. Zack October 4, 2016 Reply

    Interesting read – sounds like Salomon improved on the original Q line of skis, but agreed with the above comments on high expectations after the Cody Townsend comments. I’ve been weighing these against the Liberty Origin 116, Moment Bibby Pro, and 4FRNT Hoji as potential stablemates for my K2 Shreditor 102s. Having started skiing only 2 years ago after 16 years snowboarding, I’m coming up the learning curve still, but have taken very quickly to skiing. I ski a lot in the PNW, so the much-hyped crud performance of the Bibby is tempting, but people seem to be head over heels for the new Origins…would love to see an Origin 116 review from you guys next to these and the Bibby.

  6. Pow Hound December 20, 2016 Reply

    I haven’t had the same experience on this ski. For reference my resort ski is the Fischer Ranger 108 – 188 so the QST 118 is definitely a departure from my daily driver. I mounted these with Kingpins as I intended to use them for shorter touring days, deep resort days and sled skiing. I have logged about 5500m of climbing and descending and I have been pleasantly surprised. I read this review prior to buying them and I almost pulled the pin based on this review. While this ski is not a “burly” ski that will dominate wind/temperature crust it was completely manageable in mixed conditions. On hard snow it is comfortable at speed and in the deep it charges nicely with long radius turns at speed. I had previously owned the Rocker2 122 and did not like this ski. I found the tail too soft…actually the whole ski too soft for my preference. The 118 is a completely different ski. Despite the “kink” in the tail it is much more supportive. Overall this is an impressive ski given it’s weight and I have had no issues touring on it or making high speed GS turns down a face. I think Salomon knocked this one out of the park as a ski that can be enjoyed by hackers and pros alike. BTW…I skied the DPS Wailer 112 and hated it…

    • Having just read Paul’s review again (and having spent time on the QST 118 myself) and then reading your comments … it actually sounds to me like you *did* have a pretty similar experience as Paul and me.

      ?

      You write, “While this ski is not a “burly” ski that will dominate wind/temperature crust it was completely manageable in mixed conditions.” Isn’t that almost a perfect paraphrase of what Paul wrote? Especially given his comparison in breakable crust to the *much* heavier Blizzard Spur … it sounds like you and Paul agree. (And to be clear, there is no way that I personally would want to put a Kingpin on the Spur and go tour on it; while I would certainly consider doing so – like you – with the QST 118.) And FWIW, the Ranger 108 is also a light ski for its weight, so while the width and rocker profiles are quite different, I’d say that you are used to skiing on lighter skis in general, which might explain a little bit why it felt like an easy transition going from the Ranger 108 to the QST 118. That makes sense to me.

    • Author
      Paul Forward December 20, 2016 Reply

      Hi Pow Hound, Thanks so much for writing in. It’s always helpful to hear other’s experiences especially on relatively new skis. As I wrote, I only really got to ski them one day last spring but it was during a 12000+ meter day of heli skiing that covered a lot of distance and snow conditions. I had the good fortune of having another pair of skis with me that I know quite well (Blizzard Spurs) and was able to do a lot of direct comparison on back to back runs. Based on that, I stand by my observation that they are hooky in breakable conditions, especially compared to a big, heavy ski like the Spur. They were manageable but they do not ski like a damp heavy charger in those conditions. I think part of that is due to the lightweight construction and some is due to the shape of the ski. As soon as we get a little more snow at my local lift served area I’m planning to ski these back to back with a few other skis in this width class like the Volkl Confession, Moment Bibby Pro and a few others.

      Similarly, the Fischer Ranger series are fun skis but also don’t blast through unpredictable snow in the same unflappable manner of heavier, damper skis.

      Otherwise, I think our observations are pretty similar. It was super fun arcing them on small amounts of firm, carvable snow I encountered and I bet they rail on groomers for a ski of that width. I also imagine that they make a pretty darned nice touring ski. Regarding the Rocker 122, I maintain that it’s an excellent powder ski and is easier to slash and drift in deep snow than the QST. I’ve seen skiers ranging from Cody Townsend to 5 day per year intermediates have the time of their life in deep pow on the 122 and don’t know many skis that make pow skiing. The QST shares some of these traits but gives up a bit of float and playfulness of the 122 for the increased stability in firm conditions that you mention. Both the QST and 122 are far superior to the Quest 115, the other predecessor to the QST, in almost every off-piste situation. I agree that the 122 is not as versatile as the QST, folds up a bit in chop and firm conditions and requires a more centered stance.

  7. Blister Member
    George March 7, 2017 Reply

    Were you on the factory line? I have heard of a number of pros who ride this ski going +1, +2 because of the generous tail rocker. Just curious where you felt a good mount was?

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