2nd Look: 2015-2016 Salomon Q-115

Will Brown reviews the Salomon Q-115 for Blister Gear Review

2015-2016 Salomon Q-115

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.

Backcountry Powder

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.

Salomon Rocker2 115, Blister Gear Review

Ryan Caspar on the Salomon Rocker2 115, Jackson Hole sidecountry.

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.

 

16 Comments

  1. Murray January 29, 2013 Reply

    Thanks for the great review! So it sounds like the R2 115 is not quite the high speed AK charger that Salomon is marketing it as. I guess I’m not surprised to hear that since the turning radius on the 188 is only 21m. Just wondering if you’ve had a chance to ski the R2 122 in the 192cm, I wonder if it would be just as, or more capable of charging since the are a little longer and have a 26m turning radius. I guess I’ll be the first to ask how they compare to the Squad 7 in terms of charging/crud busting.

    Thanks!

  2. Ryan January 30, 2013 Reply

    Murray,
    I would certainly agree with your first assessment. While you can ski the R2 115 hard and fast, there are certainly skis out there that are made for skiing harder and faster, always compromises to weigh. I would love to try this ski mounted further back in a 193-195 length. That may be closer to the AK charger you are wondering about.

    As far as the R2 122, I have not had a chance to get on it. It does have a longer turn radius, but also has more rocker in the tail, so I’m not sure how much harder charging it is with the extra 5 meters.

    I also have not skied the Squad 7, although Andrew Gregovich has just gotten on our pair of R2 115s and has also skied the Squad 7, so he will be able to offer a better opinion on the comparison between those two.

  3. Old Schooler January 31, 2013 Reply

    Ryan said – “I had to lean back quite a bit to keep the 115s charging in the denser snow.”

    I skied these a 1/2 day here in AK in the exact snow your describe + a little funk on the top. Backseat is what I recall too. If you have to do that on a rockered ski something isn’t quite right. My Atomic Big Daddy’s would destroy in those same conditions.

  4. JayT January 31, 2013 Reply

    Interesting comments about the back seat. I’ve been taking the Rocker2 115’s out in Tahoe’s finest Sierra Cement and haven’t experienced that at all. You have to be centered for sure, but I never felt the need to lean back. I’m 5′ 11″ / 170 pounds with the 188, mounted on the line.

    As per Murray’s comment above, I don’t think Salomon has been marketing this ski as the ultimate charger – it’s more so a powder ski that can also rip pretty hard and bust through chop when you ask it to. IMO if it charged any harder / was any stiffer it wouldn’t be nearly as fun in deep snow.

  5. chris February 1, 2013 Reply

    seriously good reviews guys! I am considering the rocker2 115 for a 2 ski quiver,I am a progressing intermeadiate 5’9″ and,wait for it, 240lbs. I ski a 185 scimitar right now and want to add something a little bigger for off piste,chop,powder post storm conditions at our mountain in Fernie,bc.I ski every weekend so conditions are variable to say the least. Iam also considering the bibby pro 190, Automatic 193, AKJJ ,any thoughts or advise as I know my substantial weight,I am fairly athletic/pwerfully built but just alittle soft round the edges, throws an anomoly into the equation
    Many thanks

  6. David February 1, 2013 Reply

    Chris

    I can’t help you with your query about the R115 but I hope you don’t mind me jumping in to give you some thoughts on the AKJJ. Blister have published a very thorough review on it and whilst it is a great ski in consistent conditions, as they say, I have found it doesn’t perform as well in variable snow conditions. I didn’t experience the issues with the shovels folding so much but rather with both the tip and tail of the ski lacking support and strength when trying to scrub speed or when keeping an even pressure through my feet and trying to push through variable, chopped, heavy snow. Ultimately, I thinl the guys at Blister nailed it with the assessment that the AK transitions away from the stiffness underfoot too quickly(mentioned in the Jaguar Shark review). For your weight it sounds like the Bibby is going to offer you the most support but it depends whether you want the tip and tail rocker of the bibby or the tip rocker and early rise tail of the 115.

    For reference I’m 6ft 185 and I’ve been using the AKJJ in various conditions from a few FWQ comps to general day to day skiing, not just a dedicated pow setup. I’ve also spoken to a few people who ski on the bibby and their sentiments are all the same as what the guys at Blister say about it. The 115 I’ve only handled so can’t compare directly.

    David.

  7. Chris February 1, 2013 Reply

    Thanks for your opinions on the ski’s I listed. I have been leaning towards the Bibby but unfortunately I
    can’t demo it in town but I can demo the automatics and rocker 2 so I think this will turn into a process of
    elimination and then possibly a leap of faith !!!
    Many thanks for your comments
    Chris

  8. Todd Kehoe February 3, 2013 Reply

    My only gripe is it is too short, all else sounds cool, if it where in a 195 cm I would be interested.

  9. Aaron February 11, 2013 Reply

    Been sinking more time into this site than I care to admit trying to settle on a new pair of 115+ skis to pick up end of season. A testament to how excellent a resource you guys have put together. Addiction! The skis I’m considering: Bibby, Rocker2 115, Automatic, Shiro, Squad 7 and Gunsmoke. All skis in 184 to 190 lengths. They’ll supplement my abused 2008 Gotamas (pre-rocker).

    I’m 5’11”, 155 and an aggressive skier that skis 80% resort, 20% backcountry around the world. No plans to mount AT bindings though. Usually seeking out snow, which means I find myself skiing trees and chop more often than not. Big open lines when they’re not bumped out. Stay away from hardpack and stiff bumps. Ability to ski crud & chop is paramount, but want to avoid that hefty, planky feeling that often accompanies crud busters. I still like some of that snappy playfulness that I found the Cochise I demo’ed last month lost to dampness.

    Generally, would you say the following is a fair characterization?

    Crud & Chop:
    Shiro –> Gunsmoke –> Automatic –> R2 115 –> Bibby –> Squad 7

    Trees & Turnability:
    Squad 7 –> Shiro –> Bibby –> Gunsmoke –> R2 115–> Automatic

    Playfulness/Poppiness:
    Squad 7 –> R2 115 –> Bibby –> Automatic –> Gunsmoke –> Shiro

    Groomers/Hardpack:
    Gunsmoke –> Automatic –> R2 115 –> Squad 7 –> Bibby –> Shiro

    Float: I assume they all float great in less than a foot, which is 95% of what I ski anyway.

  10. Marcel February 26, 2013 Reply

    Can you compare the r115 with 12/13 influemce 115? Specially on how they compare with regards to stiffness and handling days following storms on tracked pow… I believe they both do this better than the Automatic

  11. Fritzski November 29, 2014 Reply

    Thanks for the excellent review. Just a few comments.

    Review:
    “This ski is not a traditional, damp, stiff, charging beast”
    “I had the most fun skiing the 115 at medium to lower speeds in tighter situations, pillow zones, and mini golf lines. They made short, quick, low-angle farmed turns well and were easy to steer and make quick directional changes simply by running bases flat.”

    I have never seen where Salomon ever marketed this ski as a hard charger, and the fact that it has no metal would exclude it from that category, but is the very reason for its quick and nimble character.

    Review:
    “I noticed that I had to lean back a bit to maintain stability and control, and keep the tips riding on the surface.”
    “I had to lean back quite a bit to keep the 115s charging in the denser snow.”
    “There is a lot of tail to bring around to make short-radius turns or jump turns.”

    I believe all this is due to a simple error by Salomon in determining the correct factory mount location (also on the Q-98 & 105). DesertSnowJunkies.com has recommended mounting 2cm aft of the factory line, and Salomon indeed moved it back nearly 2cm for this year’s 14/15 model.

  12. Gary December 18, 2014 Reply

    Someone above suggest that this years Solomon moved the mounting mid point back 2cm. I just bout a pair on 2013-2014 Q115 168cm and will be mounting in the next few days. Can any one confirm this is the case. Should I move the mount back 2cm? Any suggestions.

    • Marcel December 18, 2014 Reply

      used my (now gone) 12/13 r2 115 mounted at recommended line and I found it to be good where it was, can’t imagine moving it 2cm back, looks like there would be a lot of tip and no tail! btw mine was 178 but I guess it would be the same for other sizes

  13. fritzski December 19, 2014 Reply

    Gary,
    I think you should definitely move them back to avoid the problems mentioned in the review. Salomon actually moved the factory line back for the new 14/15 model. I would normally say 2cm back, but for the shorter 168cm size maybe just 1.5cm would be appropriate.
    See my complete review at http://www.desertsnowjunkies.com/salomon-q-series-review/

  14. Gary December 22, 2014 Reply

    Spent the last two days trying to find out the proper place to mount my 13/14 Q115. After much badgering Salomon finally let me download their 14/15 shop Manuel. The Recomended mount point for the 14/15 is exactly where the Recomended mount point is on the 13/14 ski. I will mount them on the line and see how that works out.

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