2020 Salomon QST 85

The narrowest ski in the QST collection, the 85 is a fantastic choice for intermediate to advanced level skiers who are looking for a competent, stable, and fun all-mountain ski that has no real weak point or soft spot. These skis simply perform—they can rise up to the level of expert skiing or they can be gentle and kind to mellower skiers. At any rate, the 85 is a special ski insofar as it’s not perfect or amazing at any one thing, but is just super-consistent across the board. Made with a poplar wood core, carbon and flax laminates, and a Ti power platform underfoot, the QST 85 is capable of holding a strong edge while being light and maneuverable in the forebody and tail. Moguls, groomers, steeps, trees—it’s all in a day’s work for the QST 85. The 2020 version is a bit heavier than the other updated QST skis because it has more wood and less carbon/flax. As the narrowest ski in the line, this is not a bad thing, as it makes the ski with the least amount of surface area and the strongest torsional stiffness a bit better suited to groomed and firmer snow. The 17-meter turn radius at 177 cm length is a nice and useful radius that can be used in a bunch of different applications. Amongst other skis in its category, the QST 85 stands out because of its dampness and carving ability. It’s not the lightest or quickest, but it certainly is the most stable. Our testers loved the all-mountain character and capabilities of these skis, as they received pretty consistent scores throughout the test.

Bob St.Pierre skied on the 177, and would have preferred the 185. Bob’s a big guy, so that makes sense for sure. Regardless, that length discrepancy didn’t stop Bob from scoring all 4’s across the board. This type of consistent scoring shows a consistent ski. This is in line with what Salomon sets out to do with this model, and it shows in the on-snow testing of the ski. He calls the QST 85 a “Fantastic ski! I loved the damp and stable feeling, even with no metal.” This is an important caveat that Bob makes, stating that the ski felt like it had metal, but actually does not. So we can infer that for all skis without metal, this one is very damp and stable. He continues on to state that the QST 85 is “totally confidence-inspiring and has a light and capable personality.” Adding to that praise, Bob remarks that the ski has a “very consistent flex and a high-performance ceiling.” This is all great info, as a ski that’s not really expected to do a whole lot, actually comes through in the clutch when it counts.

Dave Carter ripped a few runs on the 177 and loved the length. He also scored the QST 85 very high in most categories, with 4’s out of 5 for stability, edge hold, versatility, and overall impression. While many skiers would put this ski in the intermediate category, the fact that it’s stable and has strong torsional stiffness all speak to the high-performance ceiling of the QST 85. It’s well-roundedness really shows in Dave’s scores. He calls the QST 85 a “stable ski that you can put on its edge and trust.” Dave also points out something that we’ve previously discussed, that it’s not the quickest in the category, but has other strengths to compensate. “Not quite as agile as others, but they are great in trees.” You need some stability when you’re pushing the limits.

Overall, the 2020 Salomon QST 85 checks a lot of boxes for a huge majority of skiers. This ski slices right down the middle of pretty much all performance categories and positions itself as one of the most versatile and fun-loving skis on the planet.


Dave Carter

Age: 61Height: 5'9"Weight: 155 lbs.

Ski Style: They don't call me "carving" Dave Carter for nothin'

Bob St.Pierre

Age: 41Height: 6'2"Weight: 215 lbs.

Ski Style: Adaptable, versatile, ex-competitive mogul skier and coach

14 Comments on the “2020 Salomon QST 85”

    1. Hi Kenny!
      The QST has a more woody and quiet feel. The XDR’s are more metallic in nature, so are a bit pingy in sound. Higher speeds will go along better with the XDR 88, while mellower skiing is better suited for the 85. The slightly turned up tail of the 85 makes for a more playful feel while the XDR’s are more business-like. Have fun!

      1. Thanks, very helpful. Would you also be willing to provide your thoughts on how it might compare to the K2 Mindbender 85? I don’t think you all reviewed that ski but it seems comprable, with a slightly shorter radius. Do you think this QST has a higher ceiling than the Mindbender?

        1. Hi Kenny!
          I think the QST does have a higher ceiling than the K2. I was pretty impressed with the Salomon and its turning ability. I personally couldn’t quite get comfortable on the K2, but I’m 6/2 220, and that ski just isn’t made for me. But I did feel at home on the Salomon, which I found interesting. Have fun!

  1. Is it possible to do a view tricks with this ski. Not in the park but just at a couple of jumps next to the piste or something?

  2. Hello i have a question !
    Im getting more and more confifident on my skis but i have hard on soft snow cause my skis are pretty thin…

    Is this ski’s good for a begginer entering the intermidiare phase

    Im looking for a larger skis like 85 or up

    1. Hi Sam!
      Yup! That and the K2 Mindbender 85 we usually place in this category of emerging intermediates looking for something mid-80’s. Good value, and will allow for progression and improvement. Have fun!

    1. Hi Reese!
      Good pop, a bit of a turned up tail, and light, so yes, you can ski park on them, but they’re not as balanced or flexible as a true park ski. A good intro, but not quite the performance for competition or anything like that. Have fun!

    1. HI Yevgen!
      I’d say it’s on the long side, but if you prefer longer skis, there’s nothing wrong with it!

  3. What do you think about these for a beginner backcountry setup? Looking to get a backcountry setup and really thinking about these with the shift bindings.

    1. HI John!
      I’d say they’re a bit on the heavy and cambered side for backcountry. A really good ski for groomed and mixed terrain on the resort, but I do question the touring application. In the 85 mm range, I would look more at something like the Head Kore 87 or a Volkl Blaze 86. Have fun!

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