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Salomon QST Lumen 98 Review

A less expensive and rewarding entry point into the sport for intermediate and advanced skiers
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Salomon QST Lumen 98 Review (Although it's better suited to grow with intermediate skiers as they progress their skills, the Salomon QST Lumen 98...)
Although it's better suited to grow with intermediate skiers as they progress their skills, the Salomon QST Lumen 98 is a blast for anybody to ski.
Credit: Marc Rotse
Price:  $650 List
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Manufacturer:   Salomon
By Renee McCormack ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 15, 2023
56
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 15
  • Stability at Speed - 20% 6.0
  • Carving Ability - 20% 6.0
  • Powder Performance - 20% 5.0
  • Crud Performance - 20% 4.0
  • Terrain Playfulness - 15% 7.0
  • Bumps - 5% 6.0

Our Verdict

The Salomon QST Lumen 98 may not be the best ski for advanced and expert skiers, but it is the perfect ski for intermediate skiers. It's an ideal entry point into ownership, specifically for anyone newer to the sport who is ready to start exploring new types of terrain. The Lumen 98 is generally not enough ski for strong skiers who already rip up the whole mountain. It's fun and maneuverable; just don't expect it to win any races or blast through deep crud. For those who currently spend much of their time on the groomers and are just starting to dabble in the world of the off-piste, ungroomed snow, the Lumen 98 is an ideal tool for working on new skills. For more advanced skiers looking for a bit more, check out other options in our review of the best all-mountain skis for women.
REASONS TO BUY
Affordable
Lightweight
Easy to turn
Great for intermediates
REASONS TO AVOID
Not enough heft for expert skiers
Gets bounced in crud
Editor's Note: We added the Salomon QST Lumen 98 to our lineup on December 12, 2023.

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Bottom Line For intermediate and advanced skiers looking for something that’s easy on the snow and on the walletPerfect for those looking for a single ski to rule them allLively and nimble, but also stable and grippyFor those who love to ski fast and also want to be confident exploring away from the groomersA blast to ski in fresh snow, mogul fields, and popping around on groomers
Rating Categories Salomon QST Lumen 98 Nordica Santa Ana 98 Blizzard Sheeva 9 -... Volkl Secret 96 Elan Ripstick 94 W
Stability at Speed (20%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
6.0
Carving Ability (20%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Powder Performance (20%)
5.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
10.0
Crud Performance (20%)
4.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
5.0
Terrain Playfulness (15%)
7.0
6.0
9.0
6.0
8.0
Bumps (5%)
6.0
7.0
5.0
3.0
8.0
Specs Salomon QST Lumen 98 Nordica Santa Ana 98 Blizzard Sheeva 9 -... Volkl Secret 96 Elan Ripstick 94 W
Waist Width 98 mm 98 mm 96 mm 96 mm 94 mm
Sidecut (Tip-Waist-Tail width) 132-98-120 mm 132-98-120 mm 129-96-118.5 mm 135-96-119 mm 136-94-110 mm
Available Lengths 152, 160, 168, 176 cm 151, 158, 165, 172, 179 cm 150, 156, 162, 168, 174 cm 149, 156, 163, 170 cm 154, 162, 170, 178 cm
Length Tested 176 cm 172 cm 174 cm 170 cm 178 cm
Turn Radius 16 m 16.3 m 16 m 16 m 18 m
Camber Profile Rocker tip and tail, camber underfoot Rocker tip and tail, camber underfoot Rocker tip and tail, camber underfoot Rocker tip and tail, camber underfoot Rocker tip and tail, cambered inside edge, Amphibio tech
Weight Per Pair 8.2 lbs 8.1 lbs 7.9 lbs 8.5 lbs 7.4 lbs
Construction Type Double sidewall Energy Ti W W.S.D. Fluxform Duramax sandwich full sidewall Full sidewall SST sidewall
Core Material Poplar Performance Wood & Metal W.S.D. Trueblend Free Woodcore; Beech, Poplar and Paulownia Beech and poplar Tubelite wood
Ability Level Intermediate-Advanced Intermediate-Expert Intermediate-Expert Advanced-Expert Intermediate-Expert

Our Analysis and Test Results

Where some skis in our review stand out for their excellence in one metric or another, the QST Lumen 98 is highlighted for its accessibility to any level of skier. It's energetic and responsive, but you don't have to charge hard to appreciate the benefits of this well-designed, entry-level, all-mountain ski.

Performance Comparison


salomon qst lumen 98 - the lumen 98 is ideal for first-time buyers looking for a deal and...
The Lumen 98 is ideal for first-time buyers looking for a deal and for intermediate up to advanced skiers who want to start exploring off-piste.
Credit: Marc Rotse

Stability at Speed


Our testers are mostly high-level skiers, and they all agree they would not opt to take the Lumen 98 out on a race course. But they all also agree that for the medium speeds at which intermediate-to-advanced skiers operate, the Lumen 98 tracks well and offers a reliable ride.


Salomon has manufactured this ski with their C/FX tech, where they weave carbon and flax fibers to improve strength and dampening without adding weight. For slow to medium-speed movement, the combination is excellent. The lightweight aspect of this design is apparent as the Lumen 98 can easily initiate a turn without getting hooked up. But the other side of the weight coin is that this ski does bounce around a bit at higher speeds.

salomon qst lumen 98 - at higher speeds more common among expert skiers, we wished the...
At higher speeds more common among expert skiers, we wished the “Cork Damplifier” had quieted the tip a little more.
Credit: Marc Rotse

Skis like the Lumen 98, with a large amount of tip rocker, tend to flap around at speed on hardpack snow. Salomon is on the right track using cork in the ski tips in an attempt to dampen the front part of this ski. We wish, if only for the sake of the brilliant moniker “Cork Damplifier”, that this design had worked. But at higher speeds, the tips still flap wildly. But again, for folks skiing at average speeds, the loss of rigidity in the tip is a non-issue.

salomon qst lumen 98 - great for learning to carve, but a little too soft for experts.
Great for learning to carve, but a little too soft for experts.
Credit: Marc Rotse

Carving Ability


If you are just learning to lay over a ski onto its edge and carve a turn, the Lumen 98 has just enough grip to help you discover that incredible sensation. But for those already tipping and ripping, the Lumen 98 feels a bit too soft to push with enough force to cut a deep trench.


If we had to choose a style of turn, the Lumen 98 certainly leans towards skidding rather than carving. The progressive rocker profile – with rocker in the tips and tail and camber underfoot – makes it easier to pivot into a smeared turn than it does to initiate a carve. But this ski will still reliably provide that first-carve experience at slower speeds.

salomon qst lumen 98 - the lumen 98's edge grip and carving abilities are perfect for...
The Lumen 98's edge grip and carving abilities are perfect for medium-speed arcs most commonly cut by intermediate-to-advanced skiers.
Credit: Marc Rotse

Turn Radius


Our testers concur that the 16-meter turn radius at the length we tested (176 centimeters) feels accurate. The Lumen 98 arcs a quick turn when set on edge, and the strong rebound at the end of the turn makes the whole experience feel quite speedy. It rolls from edge to edge fairly quickly, especially considering the 98-millimeter waist.


Salomon's “Double Sidewall Construction” is intended to aid edge grip. The edges of this ski hold well at low and medium speeds, but when pushed to the extremes – either fast speeds or very hard snow – the Lumen 98 starts to chatter and lose its grip. But again, the edge hold more than enough for intermediate and advanced skiers.

salomon qst lumen 98 - the combination of shorter turn radius and flexible profile make...
The combination of shorter turn radius and flexible profile make this ski easy to arc a turn.
Credit: Marc Rotse

Powder Performance


The Lumen 98 has a prominently rockered tip, and Salomon purposefully pulled back the widest part of the ski to engineer some playfulness. Our testers expected that this would make for a powder hound of a ski – as was the case with the Salomon QST Lumen 99 that we previously tested.


Unfortunately, this newest version didn't shine as brightly as its predecessor. With only a 1-millimeter difference in waist width and a very similar rocker-camber profile, we can only attribute the Lumen 98's drop in powder performance to its new sidecut.

salomon qst lumen 98 - solid performance in less than 8 inches of powder, and then it's...
Solid performance in less than 8 inches of powder, and then it's light and easy to ski when returning to the security of the groomers.
Credit: Marc Rotse

Waist Width


The 98-millimeter underfoot Lumen 98 is in the middle of the range for flotation in deeper snow. But, once again, our testers agree that for the depths of snow in which intermediate-advanced skiers would likely be skiing – most often under eight inches – Lumen 98 is more than capable.


The shape of the shovel and the early-rise rocker makes for an ideal intro-to-powder ski. Unlike other powder-specific skis we tested, the benefit of the lighter weight Lumen 98 is you don't have to manage the heft of a burlier ski once you're back on the groomers.

salomon qst lumen 98 - the lumen 98 has plenty of powder prowess for those just starting to...
The Lumen 98 has plenty of powder prowess for those just starting to experiment in fresh snow.
Credit: Marc Rotse

Crud Performance


If you're only just starting to dip your toes into ungroomed snow, the Lumen 98 makes for a reliable adventure buddy. It is lightweight enough to stay on top of chopped-up snow, helping a novice skier navigate mixed conditions without having to carry a ton of speed. The dampening characteristics of this ski are sufficient for moving at average speeds, but if you're trying to go Mach 2 through choppy snow, the Lumen 98 may come up short.


For folks who spend most of their resort days skiing off-piste, the Lumen 98 is a bit too soft to be supportive when the going gets tough. Despite the cork “damplifier”, the tips get jostled around at higher speeds and in more technical turns. Nevertheless, this ski smears a great turn, which will help an intermediate-to-advanced skier tackle smaller sections of chop at slower speeds, without feeling like this ski is unstable.

salomon qst lumen 98 - the lumen 98 is a great option for folks looking to transition away...
The Lumen 98 is a great option for folks looking to transition away from groomers to skiing more ungroomed terrain.
Credit: Marc Rotse

Terrain Playfulness


The Lumen 98 is a very playful ski that is fun for every level of skier. It isn't markedly lighter weight than other skis in the review, but it certainly has the feel of a lightweight, springy ski. It feels like air under your feet and encourages you to put some real air below them, too. Hitting features in the park and popping off rocks feels easy on the Lumen 98.


This ski also has a very nice rebound at the end of the turn. That kick-back comes fast and feels fun partly because of the tight, 16-meter radius (even tighter in the shorter lengths). Our testers were able to load and bounce the Lumen 98 through quick, snappy turns, which always makes a ski feel more playful.

salomon qst lumen 98 - the smile is telling : grace is already looking forward to the...
The smile is telling : Grace is already looking forward to the rebound she knows is coming after she releases those flexed skis.
Credit: Marc Rotse

The extended rocker profile and limited effective edge add agility, and the Lumen 98 feels very nimble, especially in tight spaces. Because such a small part of the ski is actually in contact with the snow, and because the tips and tails are so light, it is incredibly easy to whip this ski around in a quick turn.

salomon qst lumen 98 - lightweight and agile, the lumen 98 is a fun ski to turn.
Lightweight and agile, the Lumen 98 is a fun ski to turn.
Credit: Marc Rotse

Bumps


The sensation of buoyancy that had our testers squealing through the park also makes the Lumen 98 easy to maneuver around moguls. Pull your legs up at the top of a bump, and these skis oblige, because there isn't a heavy plank holding you down. It is quick and responsive, and given the dramatic rocker profile, there's really only a small portion of the ski touching the snow at any given moment. This makes it feel like it “skis shorter”, thus making bumps feel less constrained and easier to navigate.


Despite its width underfoot, the Lumen 98 moves quickly from one set of edges to the next. Generally speaking, any intermediate-to-advanced skier interested in learning to ski bumps is better off choosing a ski with much smaller measurements – smaller width, length, and turn radius – while they develop the movement pattern. But for a versatile ski, the Lumen 98 is by no means a bad choice to push into bumps for the first time.

salomon qst lumen 98 - getting airborne is where the lumen shines; it feels light, poppy...
Getting airborne is where the Lumen shines; it feels light, poppy, and fun for every level of skier.
Credit: Marc Rotse

Should you buy the Salomon QST Lumen 98?


Although the Lumen 98 likely isn't the best option in our lineup for advanced-to-expert skiers, it is a great choice if you are purchasing your first pair of skis or looking for an affordable upgrade to improve your technique and step out into ungroomed terrain. The Lumen 98 is a fun, agile, and responsive all-mountain ski that is accessible to folks still learning the art of skiing. It is an affordable bridge for the gap between groomed runs and the off-piste. Even though this ski is best suited for intermediates, that doesn't mean it's off the table for the more experienced crowd. If you're looking for an energetic ski that trends towards predictable at moderate speeds yet still allows you to play in the fluff, then the Lumen 98 is a great option.

What Other Women's-All-Mountain-Skis Should You Consider?


For something in the same price range that prioritizes powder play over frontside carving, the Elan Ripstick 94 W is a little more well-rounded across the board but less accessible to less-experienced skiers. Alternatively, the Blizzard Black Pearl 88 provides just the right edge grip and turn radius for those specifically interested in carving. If you're a hard charger that wants something super stable to blast around on, consider the ultra-stable Volkl Secret 96 or the more energetic Nordica Santa Ana 98.

Renee McCormack