Updates to the QST Lumen 99
These skis have been redesigned. There is an updated sidecut meant to help make turning easier, and the tip to tail laminate is comprised of a carbon and flax fiber combo that Salomon calls C/FX . The new Powerframe Ti binding reinforcement runs underfoot from edge to edge, and there is a cork damplifier to absorb vibration in the tip of the ski without adding extra weight. Compare the updated ski in the first image below to the version we tested in the second photo.
We're linking to the most recent QST Lumen 99, but be aware that our review below refers only to our adventures on the previous version.
Hands-On Review of the QST Lumen 99
If you truly only go out on powder days, and you go back inside as soon as it starts to get tracked out, these skis would be a great choice. In that case, however, you'd probably just opt for a powder specific ski instead of an all-mountain which lacks versatility. If you know you'll be skiing on soft groomers, and enjoy making quick short turns with fun rebound energy, the Salomons do that well, too.
We loved skiing the Salomons in powder - this is where the Lumens shine!
Stability at Speed
The Lumen's massive rockered tips make them the perfect powder hound, but they do not aide in stability. We found that the tips were constantly flapping around when we skied at speed on hard-pack or groomers, which is always a little unnerving, even if it doesn't necessarily point to real instability. However, we also found that they would chatter and skid out when we tried to push them in the steeps. One tester said she felt that up to a certain speed, they were OK, but they had a threshold past which they were dubious. There were a number of uncomfortable moments where they just didn't have the edge-hold we desired.
They didn't give us a solid foundation on which to go as fast as we wanted.
While they do have a nice rebound effect at the end of the turn, thanks to a consistent flex pattern along the ski, they just don't have the edge-hold capabilities in harder snow to feel confident setting an edge and riding it. They seem to want to make a shorter turn than their 19m radius would suggest, for those who appreciate quick turns. You may need to widen your stance to carve this ski properly, since the tips are quite fat and can get in the way!
The Lumens made a much zippier turn shape when set on edge than we expected from a 19m turn radius.
This is where the Lumen shines her brightest. It is incredibly floaty - you can always see the big purple spatula tips soaring our in front of you, or if it's very deep you'll still see the waves of snow created by them. These are reassuring signs that you'll be staying on the surface! They love to make a short, bouncy turn in the fluffy stuff, which many of our testers appreciated. As opposed to the typical fat-ski arc of one turn in 300ft of powder, our lead tester tends to think you get more joy out of the snow if you're turning more often! This is also a preferable turn shape for those just building confidence in fresh snow. They were very maneuverable in the trees, and in quite deep snow (we skied them in up to 18").
Bouncing their way back to the surface of deep snow is what the Salomons are best at.
Those big ol' spatula tips that make the Salomons perfect powder-eaters are their downfall in this metric, constantly being deflected and tossing their rider off balance. They just don't feel stiff enough to plow through choppy snow.
The exhilarating rebound it offers, particularly in a short, poppy turn, makes it a relatively playful ski. They also feel pretty lightweight, and it seems very easy to get them into the air. It's just that when we got them back down to the snow again, we weren't convinced they'd do as they were told. But their surprising agility, given their size and turn radius, definitely gave us a second thought.
We got a bit thrown around in the crud, but their quicker turns helped us out in the bumps.
The Lumens startled us with their capacities in the moguls as well, mostly because they look like such lumbering brutes, but they turn with lightness and grace. Despite being 99mm under foot, and supposedly having a 19m turn radius, they are quick and responsive in the bumps. They are relatively forgiving in this terrain for the uninitiated.
Sitting in the middle of our group of test skis in terms of price, we think the tag is set just about right. They're fun, and great in powder, but we also think there are other skis out there at similar costs that offer greater versatility.
A playful ski that thrives in powder, the Salomon QST Lumen 99 is a forgiving and fun option - just don't expect too much of it in other environments.