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.