Salomon’s R&D department must be constantly fiddling with fibers, for every few years they re-arrange carbon, flax and basalt into different combinations that somehow out-perform the previous generation. In 2023, Salomon applied the same, end-to-end layer of C/FX’s latest incarnation that debuted two years ago in the QST 98. The 2022 Stella already had a Titanal mounting plate in its mid-section, a critical component in that its stabilizing influence extends beyond its borders. The fact that the skier has trouble defining the metal/non-metal border is a testament to just how substantial a weave of fabric can be, for the presence, or more accurately, the absence of Titanal is usually instantly detectable. In the Stella, the full-length C/FX factor is more dominant than the metal element, delivering a balanced flex stem to stern with a bite underfoot that won’t wilt in the face of boilerplate. Any Big Mountain ski is going to offer plenty of flotation for lighter weight women; the differentiator is how well it handles its business when the freshies are shot. Not to worry, the Stella has you covered. The same imperturbability it displays in tracked-up crud fields carries over to just about any condition you can encounter.