It’s unusual for any brand to overhaul a product family’s design two years in a row, and the various modifications Salomon made to its QST series this year I would classify as major. For starters, it jiggered the deployment of carbon, flax and basalt as introduced in 18/19, separating out the flax into its own layer and braiding the carbon and basalt into cross-hatched strands. Another core component on which the design had depended since its inception, a synthetic honeycomb structure called Koroyd, was replaced in the tip and tail with bits of cork that Salomon assesses to be 16 times more shock absorbent than Koroyd.
And the changes don’t stop there. Salomon also changed the shape and sidecut radius of every QST model, reducing the width at tip and tail. The prior generation’s deep sidecuts had a tendency to over-steer and didn’t slice as evenly through broken snow as the new editions do. The net effect is the new QST’s are more directionally stable, give the pilot more control over trajectory and are calmer and quieter on edge.
It bears mention that the degree to which each model in the QST series was affected by these improvements plays out in descending order. That is, the QST 118 changed its shape but not its construction, so it skis very much the same; the QST 106 ran the gamut of alterations but didn’t change behavior too much as it was already excellent; the QST 99 became a much better ski, particularly for the expert it had always hoped to attract; and the QST 92 achieved arguably the biggest performance boost of any ski that received an upgrade this year.
Since Salomon doesn’t differentiate its men’s and women’s constructions in the QST series, the same enhancements just recited apply equally to the women’s Stella, Lumen and Lux.
Salomon revived its venerable Force brand to tout the debut of a new Frontside series dubbed S/Force. The flagship, the S/Force Bold, is less reminiscent of the 1990’s Force than it is of the 00’s Enduro, with which it shares a double dose of Titanal. At 2325g in a 177cm, the Bold is more than 50% heavier than the returning XDR 84 Ti (1460g @ 179cm). You couldn’t ask for a clearer sign that the S/Force Bold is meant for Power skiers who wouldn’t design to ride the Finesse-flavored XDR.
I’d love to report that our Salomon ski coverage is comprehensive, but there are two gaping holes in said coverage. We still haven’t gotten on Salomon’s Non-FIS Race models, which, given their provenance at Atomic, are bound to be supremely good. And, as is all too often the case, we didn’t get enough data from our women testers to do much more than speculate that the new QST women’s models ought to be as well received as their fraternal twins on the men’s side.