Hands-on Gear Review

Salomon QST 118 Review

Salomon QST 118
Price:  $750 List | $524.93 at REI
Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros:  Light, floaty, fun
Cons:  Low drive, noodly
Bottom line:  Soft and floaty; best suited for fresh, low-angle powder.
Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
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  • 5
Tested length (cm):  178
Weight Per Pair:  8.25 lbs
Available Lengths (cm):  171, 178, 185, 192
Manufacturer:   Salomon

Our Verdict

In our testing, the Salomon QST 118 was both fun and floaty. The choice to use lighter materials was evident in hand and underfoot; it swung quickly and had an overall flexy ride. Softer than some might prefer, this ski was a great low-angle surfer that felt a bit timid on bigger lines and harder snow.



RELATED REVIEW: The Best Powder Skis for Men of 2018


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Rob Woodworth

Last Updated:
Tuesday
May 2, 2017

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For the 16/17 season, Salomon has completely switched up their freeski line with the QST series. Effectively taking over the Rocker series, these skis come fully-loaded with a Twin Rocker profile, full ABS sidewall, and fancy new core materials to reduce weight. We tested this model in the 178 cm length.

Performance Comparison


Noodling low-angle turns on the soft-flexing Salomon QST 118.
Noodling low-angle turns on the soft-flexing Salomon QST 118.

Stability at Speed


Of all the skis in this review, this was undoubtedly the most noodly. When revved up to speed in secondhand snow, the QST 118 will shutter and bounce out of balance. We suspect that this issue is more specific to our larger testers and would be less pronounced in the longer 185 cm or 192 cm options. However, the strong taper and lightweight core—featured in all lengths—are the primary impediments to stability. Earning a 4 out of 10, the QST 118 finished at the bottom of the pack, outperformed by the other contenders in our fleet. Top scorers include the Moment Bibby, Volkl Confession, Head A-Star, and the highest scorer in this category, the Blizzard Spur.

Backseat driving: a last-ditch attempt to gain control.
Backseat driving: a last-ditch attempt to gain control.

Carving


We think the QST 118 has lower-than-average carving abilities, even after cutting it some slack for being a fat-waisted powder ski. When balanced, the solid sidewall construction and camber underfoot give a decent grip. But the dual rocker and short effective edge made the carving sweet spot difficult to stay on top of. With the QST 118 earning a 5 out of 10 in this metric, other contenders, like the Elan Ripstick 116 and Rossignol Soul 7 HD allowed for higher performance in this metric.

The QST prefers softer snow to make turns in.
The QST prefers softer snow to make turns in.

Crud


Getting bossed around more than we'd like, the QST gave a lackluster performance in the crud category and took home a 5 out of 10. Again, we would attribute this to the lightweight construction and relatively soft flex. The honeycomb inserts found in the tail may reduce weight but don't seem to absorb shocks very well on harder bumps. Described by one tester as "damp enough", they weren't totally helpless, but required a centered stance to avoid getting squirrelly. The Blizzard Spur and Volkl Confession were the two top contenders in this metric; if plowing through crud is a top priority, we'd recommend giving a glance to these powder skis.

On the QST  it was easier to bounce over crud than plow through it.
On the QST, it was easier to bounce over crud than plow through it.

Float


As we hoped, the QST 118 redeemed itself as a powder tool with its excellent floatation in deep snow. Though the tapered tip seems unstable on firm snow, these dimensions work to the ski's advantage when charging through light particle and this competitor scored an above average 7 out of 10. Also contrasting with hardpack performance, the lightness and softness of the QST 118 make it very maneuverable and springy in blower. As intended, this ultra-wide and superlight ski can hang when the snow piles up. The Line Pescado was the only pair to earn a perfect 10 out of 10 in this metric, closely followed by the Blizzard Spur.

Knee-deep redemption to prove the QST can float with the best of 'em.
Knee-deep redemption to prove the QST can float with the best of 'em.

Playfulness


Not surprisingly, the soft flex and pronounced rocker of this ski make it a very surfy, poppy ride. When romping through soft snow on playful terrain, the QST 118 had good directional energy and a distinct springiness that was a breeze to operate. It rebounds when sunken and has a pretty neutral swing weight—adding to the fact it can float in both directions and score a high 8 out of 10, finishing towards the top of the pack for this metric. The Moment Bibby, Atomic Backland Bent Chetler, and Line Pescado were the only other skis to outperform the QST 118, scoring near perfect 9 out of 10s in the playfulness metric - offering a fun ride.

Popping into pillowy snow on the QST 118.
Popping into pillowy snow on the QST 118.

Versatility


Overall, we didn't find the QST 118 to be a very versatile tool. It's worth mentioning again that we don't expect a powder ski to be a jack-of-all-trades, and in this case, the 118 scored a 5 out of 10. But the extreme preference for soft snow that we noted in this ski was enough for us to realize that it isn't a solid option for all-mountain performance. Contenders that offer a higher level of versatility include the Rossignol Soul 7 HD, Volkl Confession, Atomic Backland Bent Chetler, and Moment Bibby.

Outside of fresh  soft snow  the QST started to fall apart.
Outside of fresh, soft snow, the QST started to fall apart.

Best Applications


It seems to us that this could be a great option for a freeride backcountry skier who is looking for a lightweight powder tool that is fun and easy to drive. Lacking stiffness and weight, the QST 118 would have certain limitations in the big-mountain arena. But for someone that prefers a light, flexy ski, this could be your dedicated pow setup.

Value


With an average cost and below-average performance, we believe that the QST 118 has poor value; it's tough to recommend with better options at that price. Our Best Buy winner, the Rossignol Soul 7 HD, costs the same amount, but offers a higher level of performance overall.

Conclusion


The Salomon QST 118 was both fun and floaty, but we were underwhelmed by this skis big-mountain stability. Touted as a hard-charging line-destroyer, we were expecting more in the way of high speeds and stability through mixed snow. Lacking the grit to be reliable in sketchy situations, the QST 118 seems a bit undercooked to handle massive lines. That said, it is a perfectly wonderful powder ski. But that's about it.

Salomon QST 118
Salomon QST 118

Other Versions


For this review, we tested the QST 118 in its 178 cm length. It is also offered at 171 cm, 185 cm, and 192 cm. Salomon also has three other skinnier models in the QST series with respective 106 mm, 99 mm, and 92 mm waist widths.

Rob Woodworth

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Most recent review: May 2, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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