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Salomon QST Lumen 99 Review

A very energetic ski in powder and bumps, be we wish it performed better on-piste and in crud
Salomon QST Lumen 99
Photo: Salomon
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Price:  $650 List | $649.95 at Backcountry
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  ⋅  Oct 16, 2019
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60
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 15
  • Stability at Speed - 20% 5
  • Carving - 20% 6
  • Crud - 20% 5
  • Powder - 20% 8
  • Playfulness - 15% 6
  • Bumps - 5% 5

Our Verdict

While the Salomon QST Lumen 99 is a far superior ski to previous Salomon iterations we'd skied, it just didn't stack up against the abundance of tough competitors. If we could just ski powder all day every day, this ski would be a winner. It has fantastic flotation, and a sprightly way of making quicker turns in the fresh snow, rather than big mountain straight lines. Unfortunately, in reality, we will always ski a variety of snow conditions, and the QST Lumen 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.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Salomon QST Lumen 99
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $649.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$429.99 at Amazon$698.95 at Amazon
Compare at 3 sellers
$599.95 at Backcountry
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$699.00 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Lively, quick for its size, master in powderGreat float in powder, playful, decent stabilityIncredibly versatile, easy to ski, fun and quick, only 92mm makes it nimbleA blast to ski, easy to turn, relatively stable, fantastic in powderGreat stability at high speeds, good on hard snow and crud, affordable
Cons Not super stable, flappy tips, gets thrown in crudMore expensive, slightly lumbering in bumpsNot the perfect powder partnerNot perfect carvers, some deflection in crudOnly for shallower pow days, needs strong skier to guide them
Bottom Line We loved skiing this in bumps and in powder, but it wasn't as versatile as we'd hoped in other terrainA great choice for a West Coast woman who loves getting out in the soft snowThe cat's out of the bag on the new Secret from Volkl - it's versatile performance makes it our favorite overall skiAn absolute ripper ski, but you don't have to yet be a ripping chick to fully enjoy themA high-quality, affordable ski for all snow conditions, including up to 6 inches of fresh powder, but it takes a strong skier to bend and maneuver them
Rating Categories Salomon QST Lumen 99 Rossignol Soul 7 HD W Volkl Secret 92 Elan Ripstick 94 W Dictator 2.0X
Stability At Speed (20%)
5
9
9
8
9
Carving (20%)
6
9
9
7
8
Crud (20%)
5
9
9
8
9
Powder (20%)
8
10
9
9
5
Playfulness (15%)
6
9
10
10
6
Bumps (5%)
5
8
9
9
5
Specs Salomon QST Lumen 99 Rossignol Soul 7... Volkl Secret 92 Elan Ripstick 94 W Dictator 2.0X
Waist Width (mm) 99 106 92 95 96
Shape 136-99-118 136-106-126 130-92-113 135-95-110 127-96-117
Available Lengths (cm) 153, 159, 167, 174, 181 156, 164, 172, 180 149, 156, 163, 170 156, 163, 170, 177 155, 163, 171, 175, 179, 183, 187
Radius (m) 19 18 17.9 16.2 18
Rocker Tip and tail, camber underfoot Tip and tail, camber underfoot Tip and tail, camber underfoot Tip and tail, cambered inside edge Tip and tail, camber underfoot
Weight Per Pair (lbs) 8.1 7.7 8.2 6.7 7.9
Construction Type Full sandwich Sandwich Full sidewall SST sidewall Sandwich
Core Material Poplar Paulownia wood Multilayer woodcore, poplar/beech Tubelite wood Paulownia & Poplar
Tested Length (cm) 174 172 170 170 171
Intended Purpose All mountain/powder All mountain powder All mountain All mountain play All mountain stability
Ability Level All levels All levels All levels All levels 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 an all-mountain that lacks versatility. 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.

We loved skiing the Salomon in powder - this is where the Lumen...
We loved skiing the Salomon in powder - this is where the Lumen shines!
Photo: Nate Greenberg

Stability at Speed


The massive rockered tip of the Lumen 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 a number of uncomfortable moments where they just didn't have the edge-hold we desired.

This ski didn't give us a solid foundation on which to go as fast as...
This ski didn't give us a solid foundation on which to go as fast as we wanted.
Photo: Nate Greenberg

Carving


While the 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. It seems to want to make a shorter turn than the 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 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 19m turn radius.
Photo: Nate Greenberg

Powder


This is where the Lumen 99 shines her brightest. 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 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. This ski was very maneuverable in the trees and in quite deep snow (we skied this model in up to 18 inches depth).

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.
Photo: Nate Greenberg

Crud


Those big old spatula tip that makes the Lumen 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.

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, we weren't convinced the ski would do as it was told. But its surprising agility, given the size and turn radius, definitely gave us a second thought.

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.
Photo: Nate Greenberg

Bumps


The 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 99mm underfoot, and supposedly having a 19m turn radius, this ski is quick and responsive in the bumps. It is relatively forgiving in this terrain for the uninitiated.

Value


Sitting in the middle of our group of test skis in terms of price, we think the tag is set just about right. This ski is fun and great in powder, but we also think there are other skis out there at similar costs that offer greater versatility.

Conclusion


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.

Renee McCormack