The Salomon QST 98 is an amazing choice for advanced skiers looking for a well-rounded, highly-rockered, fun-loving ski that can quite literally do it all. Built with a Poplar wood core, double sidewalls, carbon/flax stringers, and cork damplifier, the QST 98 has a sophisticated construction that allows skiers to bend and flex the ski while having great grip to go along with playfulness and flotation. They’ve really thrown it all at this ski, and most of it sticks pretty well. The rocker is almost enough to put it in the twin-tip department, just with less splay and abruptness than a more freestyle-oriented twin. The shorter turn radius stands out for this ski as well, with the 176 producing a paltry 16-meter arc. This allows for super-high maneuverability and quickness, and we see that reflected in both scores and comments from our testers.
On the 176, David Hatoff noted that it was just right, and as we’d expect with a versatile ski like this, very consistent scores across the board—so much so in fact that we see a straight line of 4’s from flotation to overall impression. Dave notes that the QST 98 is “One of the most versatile skis of the test. Make any turn, anywhere at any speed. This ski oozes one-ski quiver for east or west. The Rocker profile and wide tip make it a very capable floater as well. A great daily driver for advanced to expert skiers.” That’s precisely what Salomon turned out to do with the QST 98, and in Dave’s mind, at least, success achieved. His officemate, Dave Carter, was on the 183, noting that it felt just right, but longer than his usual length. He also notes that the rocker of the ski does make it feel a bit shorter than advertised. Dave Carter scored top marks of 4’s out of 5 for flotation and forgiveness, with 3’s running the board the rest of the way. Perhaps it’s the longer length, but Dave states that “this ski felt a little bit sluggish in the soupy snow.” We did have some prevailing spring conditions for sure in our test days, perhaps contributing to those sensations.
Also on the 183, Steve McKenzie notes its trueness to size, scoring it top marks of 5 out of 5 for playfulness and overall impression. All other scores were 4’s. Steve’s a pretty strong and aggressive skier so it’s nice to hear that the 183 stood up to his power, and that he found it to be “super playful and decently responsive given the conditions of the day (day 3). This would be a classic all around daily driver in my quiver for sure. Edgeable enough to hammer down on the groomers and crud and nimble enough to swing them around tight tree lines with or without fresh powder.” Again, it’s like we’re reading from Salomon’s catalog when it comes to the QST 98’s overall prowess, which I feel is a compliment to their construction and application. Jeff Neagle found that while the 183 that he was on felt short, it’s the size he’d prefer for himself. The “QST 98 is an awesome ski and a great option for a lot of skiers. Is it the best tree ski on the market? It's gotta be up there. The amount of tail rocker gives the ski such easy edge release. It's not the quickest, most responsive ski, rather slithers through the trees with a surfy, smeary, and smooth feel. Where other skis bounce through trees, this surfs through them. The amount of rocker also boosts float compared to other skis in this width range. Actually, I'll raise another question... Is it the best powder ski under 100 underfoot? I don't know, but it's certainly in that conversation. In this moment, I can't think of anything else I'd rather ski in deep snow in that width range. Interestingly, it's pretty strong on a groomer too. It'll get left in the dust by a Stance 96 or other skis with metal and more camber, but considering its shape and its capabilities off-piste, it's pretty darn good. Good enough to be a daily driver for someone with a playful skiing style who's typically seeking out soft snow and un-groomed terrain. I also can't ignore the freestyle influence in its shape. Longer tail rocker compared to the previous QST designs, which gives the option for some switch skiing and even a little bit of park on the side.
To have this spread of skiers all have their respective experiences on these skis is pretty impressive. From more seasoned veterans using it as an all-mountain ski to hard-charging younger skiers eking out all of the performance and stability, the range of the QST 98 is incredible. We’re glad to see these skis back again for 2023.