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Salomon QST Lumen 99 Review

A very energetic ski in powder and bumps, but we wish it performed better on-piste and in crud
Salomon QST Lumen 99
Credit: Salomon
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Price:  $600 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Lively, quick for its size, master in powder
Cons:  Not super stable, flappy tips, gets thrown in crud
Manufacturer:   Salomon
By Renee McCormack ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 6, 2022
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60
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 13
  • Stability at Speed - 20% 5.0
  • Carving Ability - 20% 6.0
  • Powder Performance - 20% 8.0
  • Crud Performance - 20% 5.0
  • Terrain Playfulness - 15% 6.0
  • Bumps - 5% 5.0

Our Verdict

While the Salomon QST Lumen 99 is a far superior ski to previous options from Salomon, it just didn't stack up against the abundance of tough competitors. If we could just ski powder every day, this ski would be a winner. It has excellent flotation and an energetic way of making quicker turns in the fresh snow, rather than big mountain straight lines. Unfortunately, in reality, we will always ski in a variety of snow conditions, and the QST Lumen 99 isn't quite up to par in other types of terrain. And while they've also got very reactive rebound and love to get airborne in easier conditions, the confidence we lost in tougher situations tipped the scales against them.

Editor's Note: We updated this review for the Salomon QST Lumen 99 on March 6, 2022, with an unbiased recommendation for this ski and a direct comparison of similar options if this isn't the model for you.

The latest version of the QST Lumen 99 has new topsheet graphics, shown above. The dimensions and specifications remain the same as the ski we tested. Updated: October 2021

Compare to Similar Products

 
Salomon QST Lumen 99
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
Price Check Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$489.96 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$600 List
$439.99 at Amazon
$679 List$700 List
$489.99 at Amazon
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Pros Lively, quick for its size, master in powderCrud blaster, dependable, great one-ski quiver option, good for every ability levelAwesome powder tool, fabulous fun factor even for light skiers, affordable priceGreat stability at high speeds, good on hard snow and crud, more affordable than othersSuperbly stable at high speeds, great edge hold
Cons Not super stable, flappy tips, gets thrown in crudNo wow-factor, not a lot of reboundGets bouncy in crud, slight tip flap, doesn’t carve perfectlyOnly for shallower pow days, needs strong skier to guide themToo burly for lighter gals, not nimble
Bottom Line A very energetic ski in powder and bumps, but we wish it performed better on-piste and in crudA great all-rounder ski that we think is the most versatile option for a one-ski quiverA fun and responsive toy for powder days, groomer antics, and bumps, with a value-oriented price tagThis model will do great in everything but the deepest powder and is ideal for an aggressive skierA good choice for hard-charging speed demons that still performs decently off-piste
Rating Categories Salomon QST Lumen 99 Nordica Santa Ana 98 Elan Ripstick 94 W Faction Dictator 2.0X Volkl Secret 96
Stability at Speed (20%)
5.0
8.0
7.0
9.0
9.0
Carving Ability (20%)
6.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
Powder Performance (20%)
8.0
7.0
9.0
5.0
7.0
Crud Performance (20%)
5.0
9.0
5.0
9.0
7.0
Terrain Playfulness (15%)
6.0
6.0
9.0
6.0
6.0
Bumps (5%)
5.0
7.0
8.0
5.0
3.0
Specs Salomon QST Lumen 99 Nordica Santa Ana 98 Elan Ripstick 94 W Faction Dictator 2.0X Volkl Secret 96
Waist Width 99 mm 98 mm 94 mm 96 mm 96 mm
Sidecut (mm) 136-99-118 132-98-120 136-94-110 127-96-117 135-96-119
Available Lengths (cm) 153, 159, 167, 174, 181 151, 158, 165, 172, 179 154, 162, 170, 178 155, 163, 171, 175, 179, 183, 187 149, 156, 163, 170
Length Tested 174 cm 172 cm 178 cm 171 cm 170 cm
Turn Radius 19 m 16.3 m 18 m 18 m 16 m
Camber Profile Rocker tip and tail, camber underfoot Rocker tip and tail, camber underfoot Rocker tip and tail, cambered inside edge, Amphibio tech Rocker tip and tail, camber underfoot Rocker tip and tail, camber underfoot
Weight Per Pair 8.1 lbs 8.1 lbs 7.4 lbs 7.9 lbs 8.5 lbs
Construction Type Full sandwich Energy Ti W SST sidewall Sandwich Full sidewall
Core Material Poplar Performance Wood & Metal Tubelite wood Paulownia & Poplar Beech and poplar
Ability Level Intermediate-Advanced Expert Intermediate-Advanced Advanced-Expert Advanced-Expert

Our Analysis and Test Results

If you truly only go out on powder days, and you go back inside as soon as it starts to get tracked out, the Salomon QST Lumen 99 would be a great choice. In that case, however, you'd probably just opt for a powder-specific ski instead of a more versatile all-mountain ski. If you know you'll be skiing on soft groomers and enjoy making quick short turns with fun rebound energy, this Salomon model does that well, too.

Performance Comparison


Salomon QST Lumen 99 all mountain skis womens - while great in the powder, this ski didn't give us a solid...
While great in the powder, this ski didn't give us a solid foundation on which to go as fast as we wanted on the hardpack.
Credit: Nate Greenberg

Stability at Speed


The massive rockered tip of the QST Lumen 99 makes it the perfect powder hound, but this detracts from its 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 the ski would chatter and skid out when we tried to push it in the steeps. One tester said she felt that up to a certain speed, it was OK, but at faster speeds, there were several uncomfortable moments where they just didn't have the edge-hold we desired.

Carving Ability


While the QST Lumen 99 does have a nice rebound effect at the end of the turn, thanks to a consistent flex pattern along the ski, it just doesn't have the edge-hold capabilities in harder snow to feel confident setting an edge and riding it. For those who appreciate quick turns, it seems to want to make a shorter turn than the 19-meter radius would suggest. You may need to widen your stance to carve this ski properly since the tips are quite fat and can get in the way!

Salomon QST Lumen 99 all mountain skis womens - the lumen made a much zippier turn shape when set on edge than we...
The Lumen made a much zippier turn shape when set on edge than we expected from a 19-meter turn radius.
Credit: Nate Greenberg

Powder Performance


The QST Lumen 99 shines her brightest in powder. It is incredibly floaty - you can always see the big purple spatula tips soaring out 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. This ski loves 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 300 feet of powder, our lead tester tends to think you get more joy out of the snow if you're turning more often. Quick turns are also preferable for those who are just building confidence in fresh snow. This ski was very maneuverable in the trees and quite deep snow (we skied this model in up to 18 inches depth).

Salomon QST Lumen 99 all mountain skis womens - bouncing their way back to the surface of deep snow is what these...
Bouncing their way back to the surface of deep snow is what these Salomons are best at.
Credit: Nate Greenberg

Crud Performance


Those big old spatula tip that makes the QST Lumen 99 a perfect powder-eater is its downfall in this metric, constantly being deflected and tossing the rider off balance. This ski just doesn't feel stiff enough to plow through choppy snow.

Terrain Playfulness


The exhilarating rebound it offers, particularly in a short, poppy turn, makes it a relatively playful ski. It also feels pretty lightweight, and it seems very easy to get airborne. It's just that when we got back down to the snow again, this ski wasn't nearly as predictable. But its surprising agility, given the size and turn radius, definitely gave us a second thought.

Salomon QST Lumen 99 all mountain skis womens - we got a bit thrown around in the crud, but this ski's quicker turns...
We got a bit thrown around in the crud, but this ski's quicker turns helped us out in the bumps.
Credit: Nate Greenberg

Bumps


The QST Lumen 99 startled us with its abilities in the moguls as well, mostly because it looks like such a lumbering brute, but it turns with lightness and grace. Despite being 99 millimeters underfoot, and supposedly having a 19-meter turn radius, this ski is quick and responsive in the bumps. It is relatively forgiving in this terrain for the uninitiated.

Should You Buy the QST Lumen 99?


If you love skiing powder – but don't necessarily want the bulk of a true powder ski underfoot – then the Salomon QST Lumen 99 is the niche ski you've been waiting for. This ski is fun anytime fresh snow has fallen, even on groomed terrain, and is surprisingly forgiving through a mogul field for those looking to improve their bump skiing abilities. But for most skiers, there are other skis out there that offer greater versatility at a similar price point.

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


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. For hardpack cruisers, the damp and reliable Nordica Santa Ana 98 can carve up groomers and still offers similar performance in the soft stuff. A more energetic and exciting option, the Faction Dictator 2.0X isn't as well-suited for powder skiing but inspires confidence through crud and choppy snow. If powder skiing is your jam, then the Elan Ripstick 94 W offers similar performance in a more playful package.

Renee McCormack
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