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2017-2018 Salomon QST 99

Brian Lindahl reviews the Salomon QST 99 for Blister Gear Review.

Salomon QST 99

Ski: 16/17 & 17/18 Salomon QST 99, 188 cm

Available Lengths (cm): 167, 174, 181, 188

Actual Tip to Tail Length (straight tape pull): 187.2 cm

Stated Dimensions (188 cm): 140-99-122

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 139-98-121

Stated Weight per Ski (181 cm): 1825 grams

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski (188 cm): 2024 & 2029 grams

Stated Sidecut Radius (188 cm): 19.6 meters

Core Construction: Poplar + Titanal Layer + Carbon & Flax Laminate

Tip / Tail Splay (ski decambered): 55 mm / 20 mm

Traditional Camber Underfoot: 2-3 mm

Recommended Line: -8.8 cm from center; 84.8 cm from tail

Total Days Skied: 11 (Brian Lindahl: 5; Jonathan Ellsworth: 6)

Test Location: Breckenridge & Arapahoe Basin, CO; Taos, NM

Intro

[Note: Our review was conducted on the 16/17 QST 99, which comes back unchanged for 17/18.]

Salomon’s ad-copy for the QST 99 on their website is packed with phrases like, “excels in all playgrounds,” “charges on or off-piste, whatever the terrain,” and “quick and agile.” So Salomon is pretty clearly positioning the QST 99 as something of a one-ski-quiver, and I think they’ve done a good job to that end.

As Jonathan Ellsworth noted in our First Look at the QST Lineup in general and the QST 99 in particular, the QST 99 is more directional than the QST 106 and QST 118 in rocker profile, construction, and mount point. And after several days on the ski, he was still trying to pin down whether or not he would describe the 188 cm QST 99 is a “charger.” While nobody is going to confuse the 188 cm QST 99 with similarly-sized, heavier, metal skis like the 191 cm Volkl Mantra, 187 cm Blizzard Bonafide, or 184 cm Head Monster 98, the QST 99 is still quite capable of being skied hard relative to its weight.

Flex Pattern

Hand flexing the QST 99, we’d sum up the flex pattern like this:

Tips: 6
Shovel: 7
Underfoot: 9-10
Tail: 8

The flex pattern through the tips appears to be optimized a bit more for soft snow performance, while the tail is still relatively strong. I found this to jibe with its on-snow performance.

Mount Point

As mentioned in our First Look, the mount point, at nearly -9 cm behind true center, is fairly traditional. This would seemingly indicate that the QST 99 prefers a forward stance when being skied. However, Jonathan and I both found that mounted on the line, the QST 99 actually preferred a more centered stance. When I drove the tips hard, I felt like I was a bit too far forward in relation to the sidecut of the ski, and how the ski wanted to bend. So after a few runs in variable terrain, I shifted the mount point to -2 cm from recommended and the QST 99 felt a bit more natural with an aggressive stance.

Brian Lindahl reviews the Salomon QST 99 for Blister Gear Review.

Brian Lindahl on the Salomon QST 99.

So, if you drive the tips aggressively, you may prefer -1 cm or even -2 cm from the recommended line. If you ski with a pretty centered stance, then you may prefer the recommended line.

(FWIW, I’d personally opt for a mount point around 1.5 cm behind the recommended line, and Jonathan would go 1 cm behind the line.)

Groomers

On groomers, the 188 cm QST 99 is a smooth, solid and stable ski, but it is not a particularly lively ski. The tip profile of the QST 99 won’t really pull you into a turn like, for example, the Head Monster 98 or the Fischer Ranger 98 (two other skis I’ve been spending time on). So you’ll want to be a bit more patient with turn initiation on the QST 99. Having said that, the 99 can snap off short turns with the right amount of speed and if you are driving the tips, but it felt most natural making more medium-radius turns, and the ski’s blend of flex, taper, and tip rocker has created a very non-hooky ski.

Advanced and expert skiers who like to bang out quick, high-speed slalom turns and generate lots of energy while on groomers will probably be better suited with a different ski, or at least may prefer the QST 99 in a shorter length. However, those who aren’t looking for a high degree of energy while carving will probably be happy with the less hooky nature of the QST 99, and experts will appreciate its strong tail, which will hold strong through the end of the turn and can generate power when you ask it to.

On end-of-day, roughed-up groomers, the QST 99’s light weight becomes more apparent, and the ski exhibited some tip flap at speed that is pretty on par with other skis of a similar weight that have a significant amount of tip rocker (e.g., the Fischer Ranger 98). The QST 99 still maintains the smooth and solid feel throughout the rest of the ski, but the ski’s softer tips begin to lose composure at the very top end, which can be a bit unnerving.

Powder

The same characteristics that create more laid-back turn initiation on groomers also allow the QST 99 to perform very well in powder and soft snow. I’ve spent a fair amount of time on the QST 99 in smooth windslab. While some skis will really pull you into a turn, especially in more dense, untracked powder), the QST 99 is definitely not one of them, despite its very wide tips. No matter the speed, the 99 offers up a predictable, non-hooky ride in deeper snow.

We haven’t had any huge storms recently, but I’ve skied the QST 99 in up to a foot of fresh snow, and have been impressed with its performance, even when mounted on the recommended line. The ski’s mostly-flat and stiffer tail also offers an excellent landing platform, and I’ve been surprised by its ability to land some decent sized cliffs.

The same strong tail, however, wants to hang on through the end of the turn. This was totally fine in more open terrain, but if you ski tighter terrain, you may find softer or more heavily tail-rockered skis to be easier to break free and slash.

Soft Chop

The QST 99 also performs well in soft chop. It doesn’t rage through it like a heavier ski will, but those that like to ski quite fast should still find plenty of stability, especially when skied on edge in soft chop. The 99’s tip rocker blends well with the rest of the profile, and it skis nearly its full length once you get it into softer snow.

Brian Lindahl reviews the Salomon QST 99 for Blister Gear Review.

Brian Lindahl on the Salomon QST 99.

When skiing at more moderate speeds, the QST 99 is plenty happy making shorter turns, and the tip design is easy to work through the beginning of slower turns. However, the ski’s strong tail will still tend to take more work to break free through a pile of soft snow than skis with more tail rocker.

NEXT: Firm and Variable Crud, Moguls, Etc.

18 Comments

  1. John Fritz February 17, 2017 Reply

    Excellent review as always! I personally enjoy this ski a lot along
    With the QST-106. I never had the chance to experiment with binding location, but find the factory line feels pretty sweet on the 181cm. Also, even though the stated turn radius is not significantly tighter than the 106, it’s obviously quicker edge to edge and feels much snappier and carvier than the 106.
    Love your site and thanks again.

  2. Henric February 18, 2017 Reply

    Lovely review, good reading. I’m still unsure about the choice of skiing before ski purchase. I stand between the QST 99 181 188 or possibly QST 106. I’m 184cm long and 82 kg like to drive hard carving turns on the slopes, but also have fun in the Judgment loose parts on the mountains and in the woods. which model do you think is most suitable for me and my style.

    • Author
      Brian Lindahl February 21, 2017 Reply

      Hey Henric,

      Its hard to say without knowing the type of terrain that you ski, and your abilities. For non-experts, the 188cm wouldn’t be a great choice for someone who skis a lot of tight terrain. For experts, the choice becomes more difficult, as the 188cm can still be an option for those that ski a lot of tight terrain, but also want a bigger ski for when the terrain is more open. A good skier can make the 188cm work in tight terrain, due to it’s lightness and forgiving tip.

  3. Rob Elsby February 21, 2017 Reply

    This ski was’t on my radar until now. How would it compare to the ON3P Wren 98 as an all mountain Colorado ski for me? FWIW, I’m 150, ski with forward pressure work the length of the ski through a turn.

    • Author
      Brian Lindahl March 3, 2017 Reply

      Hi Rob,

      I haven’t skied the ON3P Wrenegade 98. The one thing I’d note right away would be that it’s a noticeably heavier ski. So perhaps for a slightly different audience? (less of a 50/50 resort/backcountry ski)

  4. Blister Member
    Hans February 23, 2017 Reply

    Hi, I’m a intermediate to advanced skier 5′-10″ about 205lbs. Ski mainly in the Pacific NW. Want something that can hold up to skiing in heavier untracked snow and we’ll a carve well on the groomers. Was thinking about Enforcer 100, Line SN100 because I like to open it up on groomers and open off-piste areas but I don’t think of myself as a total hard charger. However I still want to be able to slash through tighter trees areas on occasion and have a ski that is a bit more nimble for skiing with my young boys so Ive been wondering if having a slightly lighter ski like Rossi Sky 7 HD, Line Sick Day 102 or the Solomon QST 99 might be a better fit. How does the QST 99 stack up with the likes of the Rossi Sky HD and Sick Day 102.

    Hoping to demo all listed above including Enforcer 100 and Line SN100 but given my size weight, style it would be helpful to know which way to lean.

    Thanks for the awesome reviews.

    Look forward to your thoughts.

    Hans
    Bothell, WA

    • Hi, Hans – for heavier, untracked snow, I think you might want a ski with a bit more tail rocker that will feel a bit looser if that heavy snow starts to feel grabby (like you’re skiing glue / cement) – and especially in tighter trees. (In lighter, more continental snow, however, I totally agree with Brian that the QST 99 will punch above its width when it comes to skiing deep pow.) So if we were to recommend one of the QST skis for you, we would recommend the QST 106 — for you & what you’re looking to do — over the QST 99. So check out our review of the QST 106.

      At your size, I honestly think that going with a lighter ski for the sake of nimbleness can get overrated pretty quickly. So while we love the Line Sick Day Tourist 102 as a touring ski — or even as an inbounds ski in softer, forgiving conditions (light pow, spring slush), that ski’s shape isn’t going to make it *shine* in heavy untracked snow or tight trees for an interemediate-advanced skier.

      As for the Line SN 100, no. The Enforcer 100 will be the better choice for you — and could be a very good choice for you. The SN 100 offers no advantages over the Enforcer 100 for what you’re looking for.

      And finally, two other thoughts: I think the ON3P Wrenegade 98, 184 cm, could be a very good choice for what you’re looking for. It’s lighter than the Enforcer 100 (if you’re still worried about weight), it has more tail rocker than the QST 99, but it still has enough backbone to hold up to heavier snow. So you might consider the QST 106, or the Wrenegade 98 (if you don’t want to get wider than 100 mm.)

  5. Matt March 24, 2017 Reply

    So I want to get this ski but I’m debating the different lengths. I’m 5′ 6″ (167cm) and weigh about 135. Been skiing on Fischer’s watea 84 (169 length) for almost 10 years so I’m in the market for something new and light. Living in Mammoth and expecting a killer back country season this spring.

    That being said I’m torn between the 167cm and the 174cm. I’ve never skied anything with rocker so a part of be is leaning towards the 174 length but I’m liking the idea of the 167 and it’s ability to be thrown around.

    Do you have any input?

    • Author
      Brian Lindahl March 27, 2017 Reply

      Hey Matt,

      I think it kind of depends on your ability to kickturn and what kind of terrain you’ll be skiing. As long as you’d be happy kickturning a 174cm ski (or your uphills rarely require kickturning), I’d go for the 174cm. However, if you ski a lot of tight couloirs or super steep billygoat ski-mountaineering-type lines, then sizing down to the 167cm might be the better call.

  6. Mathias April 14, 2017 Reply

    Hi, I’m an advanced skier who read about these skis and tried them in the Canadian Rockies a few weeks ago. Great review, I think you guys were spot on. I really liked them and having a hard time picking a size, as I skied both the 167 and 174; both felt great, my only hesitation is I didn’t try the 174 in any tight woods. I mostly ski in Vermont, quite often in the glades but also moguls and groomed/ungroomed, with 1-2 trips out west. I’m 169cm and 155 lbs, in good shape and looking for an all-mountain ski that can do it all. I like the idea of having greater stability and a little more float with the 174; am I overthinking the glade part, given how easy these skis are to maneuver? (And as an aside, given your comment about the tail on these skis, is there another ski you’d recommend with similar qualities but more tree and mogul friendly?) Thanks!

    • Author
      Brian Lindahl April 17, 2017 Reply

      Hi Mathias,

      I think you should probably consider the length of skis that you’re used to skiing on. Given the amount of rocker, I think both will float quite well. If you’d be interested in a ski with a more forgiving tail, that would be the Ranger 98. It will float well also, but it definitely has a different snow feel, however – it’s not as damp. It’s also noticeably more carvy – it won’t be as easy to break the tails loose and slide around which could impact it’s performance in moguls (depends on how you ski moguls). The stronger tail of the QST 99 becomes more noticeable if you get in the backseat or get off balance. If you’re a pretty competent skier, I don’t think the tail would present any problems really.

  7. Tom Connolly April 26, 2017 Reply

    Hey guys! Love all your reviews. I live and ski mostly in Colorado. I am shopping between the QST99, the Nordica Enforcer100, and the RossiSoul7. I currently ski an old version of the Salomon Lord, so believe anything I am looking at will be an awesome upgrade. I am a classic advanced all mountain skier, who likes playful, nible slalom turns most of the time. I am somewhat aggressive, but not the hard core biggest charger on the hill. I pop from nice groomers to the sides of those groomer runs to the trees, then the steeps, and mogels. Without saying, i love the pow, and think that any of these skis would do great in powder. I would like lighter skis, but know i take a hit for that in mixed crud. I also want a ski that can really carve a track on the groomers. Top speed for me would be about 50mph for some groomer GS turning. So really all mountain enjoyment(blues, blacks, and double blacks) I demo-ed the Armada Invictus this past weekend at Loveland and i thought they were heavy, but that could have been the demo bindings. I also want to take these new skis into the backcountry for a bit of light easy family touring, so i am shopping for a binding like the Marker F10.

    Out of those 3 skis, what would you say? Or anything else come to mind?
    I am 6ft. 173lbs and 48 yrs old!

    Thanks!

  8. Author
    Brian Lindahl May 22, 2017 Reply

    Hi Tom,

    Given this:
    “who likes playful, nimble slalom turns most of the time”
    “I also want to take these new skis into the backcountry for a bit of light easy family touring”

    I’d lean towards suggesting the Rossignol Soul 7. The QST 99 is not really a playful or nimble ski. The Enforcer is pretty heavy to tour on.

    However, given this:
    ” also want a ski that can really carve a track on the groomers”
    “who likes playful, nimble slalom turns most of the time”

    I’d also consider adding the Fischer Ranger 98 to your list.

  9. Dave Heinbach September 22, 2017 Reply

    Hi Brian,

    I’m 6’2″, about 200lb. Currently have the K2 Annex 98 and Dynafit TLT6 for general touring in the Stevens Pass area. Steep trees, chutes, open bowls, wide variety of generally deep and plentiful snow. I really like the K2 except for the soft tip that folds up on me just like Jonathan mentions in his review. How does the flex pattern of the QST99 compare?

    Thanks,
    Dave

    • Author
      Brian Lindahl September 22, 2017 Reply

      Hi Dave,

      The tip on the QST 99 definitely isn’t stiff, but I can’t say for sure how it would compare to the K2 Annex 98, as I haven’t hand-flexed or skied it before. Jonathan describes the K2 Annex 98 as soft/very soft, and we rated the QST99’s tip/shovel at 6/7. So I have reason to believe the K2 Annex 98 might be somewhere closer to 5/6. But again, I haven’t compared the flexes of these two skis (or even flexed the K2 Annex 98). Maybe Jonathan can comment more?

      • Short answer, Dave, is that the 188 cm QST 99 we reviewed didn’t exhibit the same hinge point of the Annex 98. I’d say that the tails of the Annex 98 and QST 99 feel fairly similar in terms of flex pattern, but the QST 99 doesn’t go quite as soft — didn’t feel like two different skis (front half vs. back half) like the Annex 98. At your height and weight, if you like the sound of the QST 99 from our review, then I think it could be a really good fit – and a better fit – than the Annex 98.

  10. Dave Heinbach September 22, 2017 Reply

    Thanks guys. As a patroller I get a lot of questions from the public about skis. Blister does a great job and I’ll continue to refer them here for in depth and critical reviews that are actually helpful.

  11. Reid October 25, 2017 Reply

    Demo’d a pair of these sticks (188) last season at Whistler. It was unusually cold; no snow for a couple days. Conditions were old pow with some ICY sections in-between the bumps. Not typical Whistler. I come from a eastern skiing (racing) background so I usually stick to skis with metal but I thought I would try a lightweight all mountain ski. I had just got off a pair of Blizzard Brahmas (187). First run on the 99s and it was like an old friend. I’ve never been a resort ski this light but the feeling was strangely old school. Tip chatter? YES. Edge hold? NO. Fun factor? HUGE. The lightweight construction, shape, and flex was a great combo for me. I was able to make a fun run out of something I would have straight lined on a charging ski or skidded around on a soft snow ski. Less weight meant I could make very quick edging maneuvers to completely change my direction. The ski loves to catch air off everything and the solid tail was like a hand brake in a car you can use to save it when you go too big. Groomers were just as fun. Change directions mid slarve? Beautiful. I didn’t care that the tips were flapping; smile was too wide.

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