Late afternoon, legs are tired, powder is gone, beer sounds good. But come August, you’re going to be wishing you could go skiing, no matter the conditions. So you might as well take advantage. If you have the Salomon QST 99 underfoot, that beer can wait till after last chair.
This ski will surprise you with its strength and agility, as it did me. At first impression, I had pegged the QST 99 (as well as the 106) as a forgiving waif built for mellow cruising. My bad, because the QST is anything but. With a single layer of Titanal, the QST has a 3D milled wood core to reduce weight without compromising stability, with reinforcement and pop provided by a carbon flax blend. A lightweight koroyd tip keeps swing weight low and minimizes tip flap, resulting in an extremely fun ski that’s right at home ripping shady couloirs, bump lines, and hot laps off your favorite chair. The edgehold is excellent even at high speeds, and the rebound out of a turn will keep you relishing every second down the hill.
At Big Sky, I took the QST 99 into the steep, north-facing couloirs of the Headwaters, where the snow had the velvety feel of a pool table, with low vis and plenty of pepper to keep me on my toes. With such a powerful, nimble ski underfoot, I was thrilled with how fast I could drive it, without fear of washing out. In successive turns, I could load the ski to spray a giant rooster tail without experiencing any chatter, then easily hop over a jagged rock before driving a narrow line between bumps and trees. The ski never felt like a burden, and we continued to party ski long after the sun had dipped below Lone Peak.
Though I would personally choose something wider for powder days, I’d certainly want the QST 99 available during spells of high pressure to keep things light, fun, and fast. --Matt Hansen