If Salomon’s brand identity over the past forty years could be summarized in a single word, it would be “innovation.” The driver behind its history of successful new product introductions is a corporate culture grounded in extensive Research and Development (R&D). Salomon’s Annecy Design Center continues to launch breakthrough products capable of disrupting a market, such as last season’s Backcountry/Alpine Shift binding. The same relentless devotion to R&D that made the Shift possible has spurred Salomon to re-design the QST 106 for the second season in a row. The list of the latest changes may sound like a handful of minor alterations, but together they turbo-boosted the QST 106’s Power score and its 20/20 Finesse score is even higher. I confess I’ve been maintaining a soft-snow-days only liaison with a QST 106 since we first met, so my bias in its favor is engrained. I’m now seeing a 181cm 106, which strikes me as the perfect blend of flotation for soft snow and grip on hard snow. Instead of dreading the latter, I find the new QST 106 to be so natural and imbued with fluid fortitude that I stop noticing its width and simply ski. Even as the rpm’s ascend it stays the course, laying down long turns as if to the manner born.
Full Review with test scores available on members’ site.