Pugski Test Team

Testing skis so you don't have to.
Pugski Ski Tester
Mar 5, 2017
18 XDR80.png
Salomon XDR 80 Ti
Dimensions: 126-80-109
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 155, 162, 169, 176, 183
Size tested: 176
Design: All New

FairToMiddlin: I asked the Salomon rep what the radius was, and he replied, “16ish?” So when he explained to me that the metal that is only under the bindings is not a binding mat like other manufacturers use, but a sheet of metal in its own right, I felt free to be skeptical. He also told me that this ski is both lighter than last year’s X-Drive series (not surprising, the X-Drive was a strong ski with actual full sheets of Titanal), and more torsionally rigid.

Well, he was right about the latter. Once the tip engaged and the XDR was on edge, it held very well. In fact, it reminded me of the Völkl RTM 86 UVO in this regard. They both feel immune to increasing edge angle, they just hold, and hold, and hold. It’s a cool sensation.

Where it didn’t feel like the RTM 86 UVO was in dampness in choppy snow, or off piste. Here, the lack of metal makes itself felt, and it has a limited speed/comfort level when compared to skis that keep the sheets of Titanal in their construction. It is fine for low-speed off-trail exploration, but for motoring through crud and bumps, something with more grunt would be desired.
  • Who is it for? Folks who appreciate a carved turn but don’t want a heavy ski to do it with.
  • Who is it not for? The guy or gal that wants to rage through irregular snow at mach schnell.
  • Insider tip: Keep the XDR on edge to take advantage of its unique strengths.
18 XDR 84.png
Salomon XDR 84 Ti
Dimensions: 131-84-113
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 165, 172, 179, 186
Design: All New

Drahtguy Kevin (tested 186): An easygoing ski with a softer tip that improving skiers will find easy to turn, the XDR has enough torsional rigidity and stiffness to make groomers and cut-up snow entertaining. Its 16m radius (186cm) makes bumps and trees doable as well. It's a ski you can take all over the mountain.
  • Who is it for? Those wanting to keep their quiver small.
  • Who is it not for? Skiers looking to drive the tips.
  • Insider tip: A great candidate for a travel ski.

Philpug (tested 179): I was really intrigued when I heard Salomon was coming out with a counterpart to cousin Atomics’s Vantage X collection. Where the Vantage X skis have more of an on-piste bias, these are geared toward off piste and mixed conditions. If you want one ski that will work with you and not demand your attention all the time, take a look.
  • Who is it for? Skiers who want a versatile all-mountain toy at a great price.
  • Who is it not for? Carvaholics, buy the Vantage X 83 CTi.
  • Insider tip: You can get this with or without the very good Warden 13 MNC -- but don’t overthink it, just get the system.

Tricia (tested 172): Salomon’s new lineup brings us the XDR 84 Ti, which I ended up skiing in a little longer length than I normally would choose. The strength of this ski is its smoothness and stability, inspiring confidence on a variety of snow from scraped-off groomers to tracked-out crud.
  • Who is it for? Someone looking for a confidence-inspiring cruiser.
  • Who is it not for? Someone looking for an energetic daily driver
  • Insider tip: Don’t be afraid to go up a size; it seemed to work for me.
18 XDR 88.png
Salomon XDR 88 Ti
Dimensions: 131-88-114
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 165, 172, 179, 186
Size tested: 179
Design: All New

UGASkiDawg: I had a great time on this ski! Super fun and user-friendly with a light, quick feel in the bumps (despite the metal underfoot) that inspired confidence. Too much nervous tip chatter meant it wasn't a great groomer ski at speed, but I suspect it would be blast at slower speeds through the trees.
  • Who is it for? A finesse skier looking for a playful all-mountain partner.
  • Who is it not for? A hard charger looking to high-speed rail crud and open terrain.
  • Insider tip: Not sure there is one.
18 QST 106.png
Salomon QST 106
Dimensions: 142-106-127
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 167, 174, 181, 188
Size tested: 188
Design: Carryover

Drahtguy Kevin: (from last year) A kinder, gentler Q-Lab, this new offering will make getting off the groomed and into trees, bowls, and chutes more accessible to the masses. I found the QST 106 an easy and forgiving ski with enough spine to handle manky, cruddy snow. It also performed well on piste for a 106mm ski.
  • Who is it for? Skiers wanting to get off piste without getting beat up.
  • Who is it not for? Groomer zoomers or big mountain skiers.
  • Insider tip: Stay in the middle of your foot and let the ski work.

FairToMiddlin: (from last year) The guy at the Salomon tent told me a few things. He said that the QST can do everything the outgoing Q-Lab can do, and be lighter besides. He told me that this is the way the industry is going, that people are not buying heavier skis. He may be right: dozens of people love the Q-Lab, while thousands of people bought the Rossi Soul 7.

The QST line runs from 92 to 118 mm underfoot, no metal save the binding mat, which the guy at the tent told me isn't a binding mat, it is a short sheet of metal to make the area of the QST from the front of the toe piece to the back of the heel piece more damp. Decide for yourself if that sounds legit. The result is a ski that is very quick and very maneuverable. It deflects at higher speeds and in denser snow, more like a Soul 7, and less like the Cochise or Q-Lab. The shape feels similar to the Q-Lab, so it lays over and hooks up on groomers better than most One Oh Somethings, but doesn't start, or finish, a carved turn as powerfully as its predecessor. This ski is dead center in the trend toward accessibility, and it is easier to use, but also less exciting.
  • Who is it for? Folks who want float in soft snow, as well as a wide ski that can lay over and carve, but want it at an easier pace.
  • Who is it not for? That guy who straightlines under the chairlift through bumped-up crud.
  • Insider tip: The QST is made with flax as an ingredient, so if you are marooned in the backcountry, you can eat your ski to survive. Just kidding. (But not about the flax, it's really in there.)

18 LUMEN 99.png
Salomon QST Lumen 99
Dimensions: 134-99-116
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 159, 167, 174
Size tested: 174
Design: All New

Tricia: (from last year) The Lumen is just one of the skis that Salomon has changed by adding flax to maintain lightness while gaining strength. This construction is damp and powerful, which is just what you need when the conditions are challenging.
  • Who is it for? Someone looking for a calm charger.
  • Who is it not for? A skier looking for a lively option.
  • Insider tip: I might have liked this ski a little better in a longer length.