Expert Review: Salomon MTN Explore 95 Skis · 2022

This review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I purchased with my own money in October of 2022.

The front of the skis with my bindings and boots.

All photos courtesy of Alex Doyle

Published on

About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I purchased with my own money in October of 2022.

My take

The Salomon MTN Explore 95 is my favorite backcountry ski I have ever used. It is very light, but not too light for charging more challenging descents. I find that this ski has the perfect balance of lightweight for climbing and stability for hard-charging descents.

A skier on the Salomon MTN Explore skis.

Sking the MTN Explore 95 off of Berthoud Pass in Colorado's Front Range

About the skis I own

  • Model: 2022 Salomon MTN Explore 95
  • Size: 177cm

About me

  • Height: 6’0”
  • Weight: 230lbs
  • Experience: 24 years of skiing, 10 years of backcountry skiing

Test conditions

  • When I bought these: October 2022
  • Days tested: 20-25
  • Mount position: Factory recommended
  • Boots: 2019 Scarpa Maestrale RS
  • Boot Size: 26.5
  • Bindings: 2020 Dynaftit Radical FT
  • Where I’ve used it: Colorado Front Range
  • Terrain: Mellow open slopes, trees, steeper powdery slopes, and ice

How they perform

High Speed Stability
Turn Ease

What I was looking for

I was looking for a lighter backcountry ski that performed well on descents. I wanted a ski that would allow me to ski steep couloirs in the spring and mellow tours when the snowpack is worse and avalanche danger is greater. This ski gives me the versatility I was looking for in a backcountry ski.

Why I chose this gear

After researching and looking at skis, I chose the Salomon MTN Explore 95 because it is light, easy to ski, and stiffer than lighter skis, so charging steeper slopes is easier. I looked primarily at lightweight skis but was unwilling to sacrifice on downhill performance. This ski was the best of both worlds for me. The other skis I was looking into were the Blizzard ZeroG and the Black Crows Camox Freebird, both in 178 lengths. The Black Crows were similar in weight, and the Blizzards were lighter, which caused a decrease in downhill performance for me.

Top down view of the Salomon MTN skis.

Getting ready to ski Caribou Ranch

What I love about them

  • Speed: This ski allows me to ski fast when I want to, but it is still in control while at slower speeds.
  • Edge hold: The Salomon MTN Explore 95 holds an edge really well for being a slightly wider ski. While it is not the widest ski I have used, the balance of underfoot width and edge control is very good.
  • Turns: In soft snow that is not deep powder or ice, this ski turns very well at both high and low speeds. It is sometimes a little more difficult to turn rapidly in deeper snow.
  • Groomers: This is an excellent ski for skiing groomed runs, as it holds an edge well and is not too wide underfoot.
  • Trees: In trees, the ski rides well and turns easily if one can keep speed up. It is a bit more difficult to make quick turns in trees at lower speeds with more powder, but it is doable.
  • Moguls: Just as in the trees, these skis turn quickly, but it is easier to ski with a touch more speed.
  • Backcountry: These skis are lightweight but stiff enough to really charge any snow conditions. They ski a bit shorter, but they are excellent for quick turns to keep me out of trouble.
  • Durability: These skis are durable and have not sustained much damage during my testing—aside from normal wear and tear from hitting hidden rocks or tree branches.
  • Weight: The weight of these skis is just over 1,500g for the size I tested (177 cm), which is average for a ski of this type. I find that this is the lightest ski I want to ski for the big objectives I have. It is light enough not to feel too bogged down on the ascent, but it descends really well at the same time.
  • Stability: At higher speeds, these skis excel and show stability. They are poppy, initiate turns when I need them to, and can hold an edge very well. They are also stable at low speeds in soft or hard icy snow. They are not chattery underfoot on harder snow and perform well in all conditions I’ve tested.
A skier on the Salomon MTN explore skis.

Berthoud Pass

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Park: This is definitely not a park ski. While taking it on some terrain features is fine, landing switch or doing any rails will not be easy on this ski.
  • Switch riding: This ski does not have a shape conducive to skiing switch, as it has a flat tail.
  • Any workarounds: If I really want to ski switch, there is a fairly large shovel at the tip that will allow me to ride the tip a bit more to get the tails off the ground.
  • Powder: The ski generally floats well and can get me above the snow in some deeper powder. Though in very deep powder or choppy, mixed snow conditions, it is a little more difficult to get the ski above the snow. It is a bit narrow for deeper snow.
Sking the MTN Explore 95 off of Berthoud Pass in Colorado's Front Range.

Sking the MTN Explore 95 off of Berthoud Pass in Colorado's Front Range

Favorite moment with this gear

In mid-January 2022, some friends and I encountered some great snow in Colorado. The snowpack was more stable than it had been at this time in years, so we ventured out from East Portal in the Front Range and went towards Crater Lakes. We saw some tracks in the bowl above (Frosty’s Bowl) and dug a pit. We assessed the snowpack and decided to give it a rip. It was an absolutely beautiful bowl, and the sun was shining. We made it to the top, and each took turns skiing mostly fresh tracks down the face of the bowl. It was my highest vertical day, and longest tour to date, and these skis made it so much more fun.

Value for the money vs. other options

This ski is absolutely worth the money. While it is not the lightest weight ski on the market, the value to the performance is well worth the price. Compared to similarly weighted skis, like the Black Crows Camox Freebird, this ski is cheaper and performs as well in similar snow conditions.

Final verdict

These skis let me venture further (and higher) into the backcountry without sacrificing downhill performance. Whether strolling through the woods or crushing bigger lines, this ski will let me do whatever I want to do in the backcountry.

Selling Salomon on
Salomon MTN Explore 95 Skis · 2022
7% off
Meet the author
Ski Expert Alex Doyle
Alex Doyle
Ski Expert
Alex here! How can I help?
Like this article?
Share it with your network

Written By
I grew up in the foothills of the majestic Rocky Mountains, in Boulder, CO. It was here that I developed a lifelong passion and love for skiing and the outdoors. I started skiing at Eldora Mountain Resort when I wsa 5 years old. Now, 24 years later, I still have the same passion for the sport as I u...

Curated experts can help

Have a question about the article you just read or want personal recommendations? Connect with a Curated expert and get free recommendations for whatever you’re looking for!

Read Next

New and Noteworthy