Salomon QST 99 Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Fun in soft and predictable snow conditions
Cons: Excessive chatter, ski short
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Our Analysis and Test Results
We tested the 2019-2020 Salomon QST 99 in a 181cm length, which comes with 138-99-120 dimensions and a stated 18m turn radius. Salomon integrated a carbon laminate, which runs the entire length of the ski and is infused with basalt and is intended to increase vibration absorption. They also replaced their old Koroyd tip technology with what they call "Cork Damplifier", which is supposed to be lighter and damper. The overall shape and profile of the ski has not changed much, and our testers found the ski to be quite similar to previous versions.
Stability at Speed
Salomon claims that the QST 99 inspires confidence when flying down your favorite groomers, but our testers only found that to be true when there was a fresh coating of new snow on top of the corduroy. When conditions were firm and steep (on or off-piste), we found the tips of these skis to be quite floppy, despite the new embedded technology.
Our testers found the skis overall feel more damp, especially underfoot, but even our intermediate level ski testers were able to push this ski past their comfort level on steep, fast groomers. We also found them to be suscept to chattering out, instead of holding a solid edge, in steep and chalky off-piste conditions. Overall, we found only a slight increase in stability at speed compared to older models.
While the Salmonon QST 99 is relatively quick edge to edge given its 99mm waist width, it would not be our first pick for a slalom race. Our testers agreed that the edge hold left something to be desired, and the overall bulky dimensions of the ski meant they had to be on their game to control the ski throughout the turn.
We found that at moderate speeds, and with medium radius turns, this ski could be fun carving down soft groomers. There is a bit of pop from the camber, but the lack of quality edge hold when conditions were firm had our testers shying away from the QST 99.
When conditions are firm and/or variable, the Salomon QST 99 are best left at home. Our testers felt that the big floppy tips combined with a relatively soft flex and poor vibration dampening left quite a bit to be desired out of an all-mountain ski. Adding to that, we found those tips being deflected easily and the tails hooking and catching in uneven chopped up snow. Our testers were hoping for increased performance in this category from this new design, but we did not find that to be the case.
This is where the QST 99 truly shines. It performs like a dream on an untracked fresh line. Steep, mellow, low angle, it doesn't matter as long as mother nature has laid down a new blanket of fluff for you. Our testers praised the Salmon QST 99's ability to float effortlessly through all but the deepest powder days, thanks to a large rockered shovel and a wide waist. Our testers also found it easy to slarve and slash the pow in open terrain, and then quickly transition to short poppy turns in tight trees. As long as the storm delivers, the QST 99 will too.
Our testers found these skis quite comfortable in the air. They have enough pop to get you airborne and are light enough to maneuver for simple 3's and shifties.
The soft flex pattern of the QST 99 also adds to its playfulness. While you won't be taking these skis into the superpipe, our testers had fun taking them off short drops, especially when conditions were soft and forgiving.
The Salomon QST 99 dimensions proved to be slightly cumbersome for our testers in the bumps. We found them to be relatively light and nimble, especially given their proportions, but in tightly spaced moguls, or those with deep troughs, it was easy for the skis to get in the way. Despite all that, our testers were able to have some fun in small soft bumps on these skis.
The Salomon QST 99 are right in the middle group in terms of pricing. While we feel the price is fair for the quality of the ski, in our opinion, there are better performing all-mountain skis in the same price range.
When the skiing conditions are easy, the Salomon QST 99 will deliver. They are best suited for a pow day where you lap your secret stash until it's tracked out and then head home. Even though they were redesigned with the thought of improving their performance in variable conditions with all sorts of new technology and materials, our testers felt there is still something left to be desired our of these skis. In a huge field of amazing all-mountain skis, sometimes simpler is better.
— Andrew Pierce