Expert Review: Salomon QST 98 SkisPublished on 06/24/2022 · 6 min readThis review is my own honest opinion of the skis, which I bought with my own money in November 2021.
Curated Expert, Evan Kore, skiing the 2022 Salomon QST 98 at Loveland Ski Area, Colorado. All photos courtesy of Evan Korte
About this Review: This review is my own honest opinion of the skis, which I bought with my own money in November 2021.
The Salomon QST 98 Skis are a great daily driver for the progressing intermediate or playful expert skier who truly wants skis that can handle any snow condition. Light and lively, I found the QST 98 to be at home in all types of terrain, from steep bumps to about 8 inches of powder.
About the gear
- Model: 2022 Salomon QST 98
- Size: 189cm
- Height: 6’5”
- Weight: 225 lbs
- Experience: 18 years of skiing
- When I bought these: November 2021
- Days tested: 52 days
- Mount position: +2
- Boots: 2021 Tecnica Cochise 130 DYN GW
- Boot size: 29.5
- Bindings: Salomon Shift MNC 13 100mm
- Where I’ve used them: Snowbird, Utah, and Colorado: Loveland Ski Area, Copper Mountain, Arapahoe Basin, and backcountry
- Terrain: Groomers, bumps, trees, steeps, powder, ice, spring slush, dirt
How they perform
What I was looking for
I was looking for a freeride-oriented ski that could operate as my daily driver at Colorado ski resorts and also work for some days in the backcountry. I wanted a ski with plenty of tip and tail rocker and a lighter construction, which would be both playful in good snow and maneuverable in variable conditions. The skis also needed to be light enough to skin uphill or carry on a pack.
Why I chose this gear
The QST 98 is really a no-compromises all-mountain ski with a weight profile that doesn’t make it too bad for backcountry day missions. I like that it has plenty of tip and tail rocker and a really smooth taper on both ends, keeping the skis from feeling “hooky” in tight bumps, trees, and powder.
The 98mm waist is an amazing width for 95% of days in Colorado. Many people go for a 100+ waisted all-mountain ski as their daily driver, but I found that the 98 waist was extra fun for laying over or noodling through bumps on days without fresh snow. Because my short backcountry missions aren’t terribly weight-sensitive, it was cool to have an out-of-bounds ski that really had full downhill chops.
What I love about them
- Turns: The QST 98 loves to make all shapes of turns. I loved making playful, hoppy short turns, surfy park-inspired turns, and deep carves.
- Groomers: At 98mm waist, the QST 98 is a bit less laborious to lay over than its larger counterpart in the QST 106 (and other all-mountain skis in the 100-110mm range).
- Powder: This ski floats! The 98mm waist is narrow for a dedicated powder ski in the US West, but I found the QST 98 to be fun in up to 8 inches of fresh snow. I was bringing this ski on days where I previously would have brought something wider.
- Trees:** **This ski is great for trees. Agile and not heavy, these go where I need them to go.
- Moguls: The soft taper on the tips and tails made these great bump skis for me (an advanced but not expert bump skier). For a floaty, all-mountain ski, the 98 waist and low swing weight made ugly bumps easily navigable.
- Backcountry: This ski was light enough for day tours, making it a really great ski to pack when out-of-bounds missions aren’t out of the question. However, I don’t think the weight was low enough to justify a true uphill binding (as opposed to my Salomon Shifts), as those looking to prioritize backcountry performance are probably looking for a lighter ski.
- Durability: This skis show almost no damage in 50+ days (including spring skiing). I was really impressed with the topsheet durability.
- Weight: This ski provides a surprisingly high amount of skiing performance when compared with heavier all-mountain options and didn’t kill me to take uphill. That being said, the narrower waist and metal-free construction made the ski a little light for me as a larger, expert skier. I found that I could push the ski past its limit and that it could get bucked around in heavier chop. The QST 106 is a common daily driver out here, and I think the overall weight of that ski would be a bit more supportive of expert skiers who are looking to the QST line as their resort daily driver. I was more than satisfied with the weight for my goals, but found that I wanted some metal under my feet when really pushing it on the resort.
- Switch riding: This ski will ride switch pretty comfortably (partial twin tip). I mounted my bindings +2 because I like a more center-mounted feel.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Stability: For a ski that I feel leans toward resort riding, the QST 98 shows its lack of weight at high speeds. There are other playful skis with a little more weight that deliver better stability for dedicated resort riding. That being said, I am a very large skier, and for intermediate, advanced, or lighter expert skiers, the QST 98 is going to provide confidence in all types of snow conditions.
Favorite moment with this gear
The versatility of this ski really showed on a surprise spring powder day here in CO. Six inches of fresh blanketed our April crust, and the QST 98 was the perfect companion for the day to come. My brother and I spent hours in steep bumps in the morning, the QST 98 bounding through fresh and navigating tight sections with ease. We then took our packs and skied some laps on Loveland Pass for sunset, where the QST didn’t punish me for bringing a ski that was still fun on the ride down. There we slashed the remnants of that day’s storm and navigated 40-degree trees. The QST 98 really got to show off its Swiss-army-knife-like abilities.
Value for the money vs. other options
The QST 98 is a great value. Not only does it come in on the lower-end of the price range for all-mountain skis, but the true value comes from being able to let this ski do the job of two (or more) skis.
Another ski that comes to mind is the Head Kore 99 (which retails for about $75 more). The Kore 99 is lighter and less playful than the QST 98. Both are really looking to play the same role (resort-performance skis that you can ride in the backcountry), but the construction and durability of the QST 98 combined with its playfulness make it the better ski for most resort skiers. However, the lower weight and stiffer construction of the Kore 99 make it a better backcountry ski than the QST 98 (and perhaps a better expert ski).
The Salomon QST 98 is a true one-ski quiver for the rider that doesn’t lie about their powder-day snow totals. Many brands are starting to put out approximately 100mm width versions of their freeride skis (Head Kore 99, Liberty Origin 101, Dynastar M-Free 99, Atomic Bent, Vantage, AND Maverick) because, ego aside, these skis are made for the snow we ski.
I think the QST 98 would be fun for the vast majority of advanced to expert skiers who are looking for one ski to do it all. They are amazing in just about every resort condition. The only caveat would be that as a dedicated resort ski, larger expert skiers might demand a bit more weight and stability.