The perfect ski… does such a thing exist? In my never ending search for the ultimate one-ski-quiver, I’ve currently landed on the Salomon QST 106 skis. New for the 2016/17 ski season, these boards have gotten a lot of press, ending up in most ski publications gear guides’ top 5. I’ve been shredding the QST 106 all season at Alta in many conditions, and now have a good read on them. So are they a quiver killer? First the details.
The Salomon QST 106 features:
- 106mm waist width
- Twin Rocker
- Inverted 3D wood core
- Sandwich construction with full sidewalls
- Power platform
- Shock-resistant Koroyd honeycomb inserts at tip and tail
- CFX carbon superfiber laminate
My first impression on the slopes is that the Salomon QST 106 is really light. Tested with my featherweight Atomic Hawx Ultra boots, I’ve never had a lighter setup on my feet at the resort. But light does not mean wimpy with these skis. In almost every snow condition on any terrain, the skis are fun, confidence-inspiring, and reliable. Here’s the breakdown.
For a ski that’s 106mm underfoot, one would think the Salomon QST 106 would do passably well – basically well enough to get you back to the lift after skiing powder off the main trails. But the biggest surprise with these skis is how much they rip on groomers. I’ve never had so much fun skiing groomers on a wide ski. They carve relatively well, have no tip flap at high speeds, and the edges just stick to the snow through the turns rather than survival skidding like most powder skis do on hardpack.
According to Salomon, the guts of these skis are to thank for amazing hardpack performance. There is the titanium laminate layer for edge grip and energy transfer. There’s the “Pulse Pad” which is a layer of rubber around the edges for a smoother ride, and there’s the titanal “Power Platform” that goes from edge to edge. Combined, these materials offer a sweet ride. For my 40th birthday, I lapped the groomers under the Collins lift for 40k feet in one day, and enjoyed every run thanks to these skis.
The QST 106 are quick, poppy, and lively. Therefore they shine in packed powder conditions. The skis are very playful, so it’s fun to pop off rocks and terrain features, or maneuver through hardpack couloirs that transition into powder in the apron below. But one negative I’ve found with these skis is that they are so light weight – light enough to be used as touring skis – that they can easily deflect in hard, mixed conditions. Sometimes I struggled to keep my skis together skiing through mank or really heavy, cut-up powder. These skis require finesse and are not tanks that can blast through any snow. But after changing my mindset in mixed conditions, I managed to get used to them and now have little trouble negotiating challenging snow.
Much like on groomers, ice is no match for these skis. The QST 106 have excellent edge-hold for a wider ski, so I never felt insecure the few times I made turns on bulletproof. However, Utah has received so much powder this season that I really haven’t skied that much ice to truly test them adequately.
But what the Salomon QST 106 skis were built for, and where they truly shine, is in the powder. I’ve had dozens of powder days at Alta, one was possibly the best of my entire life, and these skis blew me away every time. They have more float than expected from a mid-fat ski. I never once wished for 120mm underfoot when trenching chest deep down runs like Westward Ho or Keyhole. Honestly, I like to sink into the powder, that’s what makes it fun, so super fat skis that just float on top don’t appeal to me as much anyway. That’s why I love the QST 106 in pow because they strike the perfect balance of float, but allow just enough sink to guarantee face shots.
The rocker is also on point. In deep stuff, I could drive the skis, putting my weight forward without any worry about going over the handlebars. They are also very poppy, maneuverable in tight trees, turn on a dime, and transition between turns without any effort. I am over the moon for these skis.
I did not have an opportunity to ski these in the backcountry. But based on the light weight and how well they ski in powder, I would not hesitate to mount tech bindings on them and turn them into a true one-ski-quiver for both the resort and ski-touring in the Wasatch.
The Good: Better on groomers than they have any right to be. Capable and playful in hardpack and packed powder. Absolutely amazing in powder – probably the best powder skis I’ve ever owned.
The Bad: They can easily deflect in mixed snow and manky, cut-up bumps.
Final Word: The Salomon QST 106 are among my favorite skis ever. I’ve never had a ski that is so versatile. Again, these are powder skis that rip the groomers. What more can you want? I hope the QST 106 stays in the Salomon lineup for years to come, because when mine wear out, I better be able to buy another pair in the coming seasons.