Pugski Test Team

Testing skis so you don't have to.
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19 S:Max 12 TC.png
Salomon S/Max 12
Dimensions: 121-70-106
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 160, 165, 170, 175, 180
Size tested: 175
Design: All New

Ron: For 2019, we are seeing an influx of hard-snow carvers. Salomon has revised its X-Max line, and the new S/Max ski is a welcome addition. At 72 underfoot, this ski likes to be on edge. The 12 is a lighter version of the Blast but still delivers a high level of carving prowess. This version is very quick edge to edge with a lot of snap, pop, and energy. It has a lighter and more spirited feel. I was surprised as to how much energy this ski has. It's a lot of fun. It's not overly demanding or overly stiff but please bring your skills to the snow; it's not for those who can't railroad a turn. It came up to speed quickly but didn't demand eye-watering speeds to come alive.
  • Who is it for? Those looking for precise, quick, and fun carver.
  • Who is it not for? Hard chargers, those who aren't looking for a ski that lives on its edges.
  • Insider tip: Demo this back to back with the Blast.

Philpug: As I said with the all-new Blast, Salomon makes some great hard-snow skis, and the S/Max 12 is another one in that long line. This ski really surprised us with its precision. It is a great option for someone who is looking not for an ultimate charger but for a ski that they can relax on and not have to give 100 percent of their attention 100 percent of the time, yet want the power there when they need it.
  • Who is it for? You don’t have your A-game all the time, no worries, these will be bring it back.
  • Who is it not for? Nth-degree chargers, no worries, get the Blast.
  • Insider tip: The 12 is GripWalk compatible where the Blast is not.

10 S:Max Blast W TC.png
Salomon S/Max Blast
Dimensions: 121-72-106
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 160, 165, 170, 175, 180
Design: All New

Philpug (175): Salomon has a knack for making hard-snow skis, and it's just a shame that we don’t always see them in the United States -- definitely not as much as we would like. The Blast is the halo of the S/Max collection with its race-derived X12 binding, one of the more solid 12DIN options offered; it is the only binding in this class that is not GripWalk-compatible, because Salomon (and Atomic) believes it is a compromise on a ski like this. Back to the ski: Salomon went with a new beefed-up sidewall design that can be felt; put the ski over on its edge and there is a connection to the snow like only a few other skis have.
  • Who is it for? Chargers; this ski likes to run.
  • Who is it not for? Mortals, don't worry: Salomon has the S/Max 12 for us.
  • Insider tip: GripWalk wearers need not apply.

Ron (175): The Blast is the flagship version of Salomon's S/Max line, and it shows.This ski is almost identical to the S/Max 12 but has a decidedly damper, more glued to the snow feel. I prefer this version and unless you don't particularly care for the feel of this ski, the Blast is my choice of the two. The Blast has a higher speed limit but was compliant at slower speeds.
  • Who is it for? Skiers looking for quick and fun carver with more dampness and a more connected to the snow feel. This ski is more fun than the typical carver. Compare to more serious carvers to see what you think.
  • Who is it not for? Those who aren't looking for a ski that lives on its edges.
  • Insider tip: Demo this back to back against the S/Max 12.

Tricia (165): This is one more of the unisex skis that I had the pleasure of skiing. The key to this review is the word "Blast." In a year that many manufacturers are introducing some amazing sub-80mm frontside skis, Salomon is in it to win it with the SMax Blast. With the Edge Amplifier binding system, this ski gives you immediate edge-to-edge transitions for some amazing fun on early-morning groomers and power turns through mid-day crud. New words in technology sometimes seem like gimmicks, and other times they do what they promise. This time it's a promise that Salomon delivers.
  • Who is it for? Anyone who wants a responsive frontside ski with the power to ski bell to bell.
  • Who is it not for? The timid skier, or someone looking for a bump ski or off-piste performer.
  • Inside tip: Don't be afraid to get on it.

19 XRD 80 PR.png
Salomon XDR 80 Ti
Dimensions: 126-80-109
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 155, 162, 169, 176, 183
Size tested: 176
Design: Carryover

FairToMiddlin: (from last year) 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.

19 XRD 84 Pr.png
Salomon XDR 84 Ti
Dimensions: 131-84-113
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 165, 172, 179, 186
Design: Carryover

Drahtguy Kevin (186): (from last year) 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 (179): (from last year) 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 (172): (from last year) 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.

19 XRD 88 TC.png
Salomon XDR 88 Ti
Dimensions: 131-88-114
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 165, 172, 179, 186
Size tested: 179
Design: All New

UGASkiDawg: (from last year) 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.

19 QST 99 TC.png
Salomon QST 99
Dimensions*: 138-99-120
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 167, 174, 181,188
Size tested: 188
Design: New Construction
*scaled sizing

Drahtguy Kevin:
The QST 99 is a superb soft-snow ski that is playful and confidence-inspiring off piste. The flex is smooth and even, making bumps, light crud, and wind buff a joy. What this ski lacks is any sort of groomer performance. The tip is slow to initiate, and the rocker of this ski lends itself to lots of flopping and flapping.
  • Who is it for? Off-piste lovers will find fun with the QST 99.
  • Who is it not for? Those seeking a one-ski quiver.
  • Insider tip: This is a viable backcountry option.

Philpug: The QST was supposed to be a blend between the old Q-Lab and the old Quest, but in reality it was less of the former and more of the latter. Salomon is moving that needle by adding basalt to the construction to give it more Q-Lab-like power. The outgoing QST 99 (and 106) was a great shape in search of a construction; the construction had been good, but a fair number of skiers found its limit. Benefiting from the Tim “The Toolman” Taylor method of more power, the QST will be more ski for more people. Like a smart manufacturer, Salomon did not change what was working, though; it just added to the top end.
  • Who is it for? Finesse skiers who want to turn it up at times.
  • Who is it not for? There are still better options for 11/10 skiers.
  • Insider tip: Playfulness just got serious. The new QST 99 now requires more of your attention.

19 QST 106.png
Salomon QST 106
Dimensions: 142-106-127
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 167, 174, 181, 188
Size tested: 188
Design: New Construction

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.)

Women

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

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.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Cheizz

Craving camber
Skier
Posts
590
Location
The Netherlands
@Philpug and others. Quick question... The QST 99 and 106 have been slightly altered for 2019, Salomon told me. But the QST 92 is a carryover, right? That what's the rep said anyway. Friends of mine say different. In documentation I can't find any changes. Can you guys give a definitive answer?
 

Philpug

Notorious P.U.G.
Admin
Pugski Ski Tester
Posts
22,393
Location
Reno, eNVy
@Philpug and others. Quick question... The QST 99 and 106 have been slightly altered for 2019, Salomon told me. But the QST 92 is a carryover, right? That what's the rep said anyway. Friends of mine say different. In documentation I can't find any changes. Can you guys give a definitive answer?
99 & 106 updated with a new construction, 92 is a carryover.
 

Josh Matta

Making fresh tracks
Instructor
Posts
3,970
yeah my finding on the XDR 84 is that its a great groomer zoomer, and pretty dman good in powder and some crud, but falls apart in eastern bumps because it has to much damn sidecut! I like it, but it may have to go for some VMT 82.
 

ATLSkier

Booting up
Skier
Posts
59
My wife is looking at buying the Salomon Aira 84. Anyone have any experience with/thoughts about the ski? She is a frontside out-west skier. Intermediate to advanced-intermediate ski level.
 

GratefulSkiHead

At the base lodge
Skier
Posts
1
Location
Bayport, NY
Hi Guy's! This ski looks right up my alley but can use some advice. Me: 6' - 210 Pounds - ski 95% on piste and fast in primarily the East Coast (Vermont). My ideal day is getting on first chair to rip freshly groomed runs. Mainly enjoy GS type turns. I like stiff skis and tend to ski hard but I'm not 20 anymore (41 actually) and sometimes like/need to just cruise. My current ski is an old Atomic SX:11. Wondering if the Curv is suitable for me or if I'd be better suited on a Salomon Smax Blast or K2 Super Charger? Thks!
 

Philpug

Notorious P.U.G.
Admin
Pugski Ski Tester
Posts
22,393
Location
Reno, eNVy
Hi Guy's! This ski looks right up my alley but can use some advice. Me: 6' - 210 Pounds - ski 95% on piste and fast in primarily the East Coast (Vermont). My ideal day is getting on first chair to rip freshly groomed runs. Mainly enjoy GS type turns. I like stiff skis and tend to ski hard but I'm not 20 anymore (41 actually) and sometimes like/need to just cruise. My current ski is an old Atomic SX:11. Wondering if the Curv is suitable for me or if I'd be better suited on a Salomon Smax Blast or K2 Super Charger? Thks!
I love all three skis. Can't go wrong with any of them.
 

amlemus

Booting up
Skier
Posts
44
Location
Denver, CO
Just brought home a pair of still-in-the-shrinkwrap '19 QST 99s for $399. I can't wait to get these out on the mountain this season! I'm hoping they're a bit more responsive in trees and moguls than my '17 Bonafides.
 

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