Ski Reviews

2020 Salomon QST 99 Ski Review

2020 Salomon QST 99 Ski Review: // Ski Reviews

It's hard to decide if you want to fit in or stand out. Just like the first day of school, you have to decide if you're going to go along with the crowd or make a statement. It's a tough choice, and one that should not be taken lightly, as it can affect the entire year. Salomon has edged toward the bolder side for 2020, with an updated QST 99 that's built and designed to stick out from a crowded field of +/- 100mm underfoot popular kids. Salomon certainly has the capability to slap a couple of Titanal laminates around a stout wood core and call it a day, but they chose to go another route. The results are fantastic, as this versatile all-mountain ski has a similar overall shape and profile as its predecessor and competitors, but the build sets it apart. And for a large number of skiers, that's a good thing.

For 2020, the Salomon QST 99 is built using a full-length Poplar wood core. This is the starting point for a relatively complex recipe of ingredients that add up to make a unique and creative ski. Underfoot and extending slightly towards the tips and tails is the Ti Power Platform which adds strength and stability underfoot. The third, a very important ingredient, is the tip-to-tail laminate comprised of carbon fiber, flax, and basalt. This is where the QST distances itself from its rivals. Instead of metal laminates, this C/FX blend of materials does the heavy lifting in terms of overall ski power. The basalt is super-damp while the carbon is light and stiff. A new twist for 2020 is the addition of a cork "damplifier" in the tips. Whereas the older version had Koroyd in this area, the new ski has cork, which is a bit heavier, but also a lot more energy-absorbent. If you felt like the tips of the previous QST 99 were a bit light and twitchy, this new design will alleviate those concerns.

2020 Salomon QST 99 Ski Review: Ski Spec Image

In terms of shape, the 2020 QST 99 is a bit less tapered than the previous 99, giving the ski a more precise feel in terms of turn initiation. Also, the cork plus the more squared-off tips make it more stable at speed, aligning the 2020 QST 99 more closely to some of the burlier skis in the category like a Blizzard Bonafide or a Nordica Enforcer 100. But overall, the ski is narrower in the tips and tails, slightly lengthening the turn radius, making it more of a directional ski. As always, it's one thing to talk about how it's made, it's completely another to get on it and feel the differences.

2020 Salomon QST 99 Ski Review: Full Camber Image

First off, I personally love how this thing skis. I tested the 181, but at 6'2" and 220 lbs, would most likely opt for the 188. Even so, the 181 had a ton of stability and strength. I started on the groomers, and the 99 is perfectly at ease and at home ripping the corduroy. You can definitely tell that the decreased taper and the longer turn radius make a difference at speed. The cork actually works, and the skis are super-silent, even on the firm snow. Without a full (or two) sheet of metal, Salomon skis have sounded sort of plasticky in the past, but those days are over. This is a solid ski with tons of power. At 2090 grams per ski at the 181 length, they're not feathers by any stretch, so if you're thinking that this is "less" of a ski because it doesn't have those full-metal laminates, think again-this thing rips.

Off-piste, the QST 99 really comes to life. As a 99 mm underfoot ski, it's going to get caught in the middle in some areas, but soft snow is not one of them. In the woods, the skis are very intuitive and have a natural feel to them that is very calming and confidence-inspiring. Even in our tighter trees here at Stowe, the QST 99 danced easily through the woods, and I appreciated the longer turn radius and its ability to be manipulated and coerced when the turns got tight. You could take a direct line and not feel like your tails were getting hooked or caught up in the snow. It plowed through the crud and chop with no problems whatsoever, as the flex of the ski is best suited for variable snow. The tips are flexible, not soft, so they're happy to take on anything in their path. The ski stiffens in the underfoot area and mellows out in the tail, making it ideal for a wide range of snow conditions.

2020 Salomon QST 99 Ski Review: Wide Action Image2020 Salomon QST 99 Ski Review: Wide Action Image 2

It's a bit wide to be considered a bump ski, but that shovel and the straighter turn radius make it easy to zip out on some lines and really let them fly. They're supple but strong, and still quick edge to edge, so making those swivel turns in the moguls is a ton of fun. Again, not a straight-line bump ski, but totally manageable and better than most in this category.

In terms of touring and backcountry possibilities, the slightly heavier and narrower 2020 QST 99 is still a great option for getting your skin on, but the new design is more resort-oriented than not, probably bordering on a 60/40 in-bounds ratio. It seems like most skiers who are looking for a touring setup are going lighter these days anyways, and Salomon makes that stuff, too. We'd peg these as more lift-oriented than not, but certainly not out of the realm for backcountry use.

Salomon has come up with a pretty rich recipe when it comes to the 2020 QST 99. We're huge fans of how these ingredients come together in perfect harmony, as they really make the skis feel seamless and poised. More stable, damp, and fun than the older QST 99, this new concoction has a lot of positives going for it. For the most part, if you're not looking for a ridiculously stiff and burly ski for top speed and super-aggressive skiing, the QST 99 stands out as a primary option. There are always stiffer and heavier skis out there, but we're more impressed with the ones that separate themselves from the group and start their own clique. The coolest kid is usually the one that doesn't follow the crowd, and the 2020 QST 99 is a perfect example of the successful non-conformist.

2020 Salomon QST 99 Ski Review: Buy Now Image


Written by Jeff Neagle on 07/11/19

14 thoughts on “2020 Salomon QST 99 Ski Review

  1. Great review as always. I'm currently skiing Blizzard The One,which I love, and want to replace it for next season. I'm trying to decide between the QST 99 and the Bent Cheater 100. How different or similar are those two skis?
    Thanks, Randy Verdieck

  2. Is there anything all that different between the 99 and the 106 for 2020? I've had my eye on the 106 since ski expo. Would be curious to hear comparisons between the qst 106 and the new rustler 10. I'm an advanced, west coast skier, 185 pounds, looking for a one ski for everything including slack but not longer backcountry.

    1. Hi Randy!
      You'll get a lot more power and stability from the QST. The BC 100 I found to be quite soft in the tips and tails, which is great for lighter skiers and softer snow, but the overall performance of the QST is more stout than the BC 100. That said, the Atomic is just a ton of fun, oozing playfulness. Hope that helps!

      1. Hi Tim!
        I noticed that the 2020 version of the 99 had a much more damp feeling than the 2019. The extra material and the Cork versus Koroyd in the tips actually does make a difference, especially in how the ski sounds. It's a lot quieter. The 106 follows suit in this regard, and in terms of shape, the straighter cut makes more sense in the softer snow. I'd put it right up there with the Rustler 10, with a stable underfoot area and lighter and more maneuverable tips and tails. The Rustler has a lighter overall feeling, but in the powder that helps with flotation. As it's a bit narrower, that makes it have a more versatile character, whereas the QST 106 I'd peg as more of a powder day-specific ski versus a versatile all-mountain Rustler 10. Hope that helps!

    1. Hi Scott!
      Definitely a lot less than the 2019. They have a higher speed limit, thanks to the longer turn radius and the decreased amount of taper. The longer the effective edge, the more stable at speed and less twitchy. That said, the QST 99 certainly doesn't have the dampness of the Enforcer 100 or a similarly built ski with two sheets of metal. I skied the 180, but would have preferred the 188 for more stability. Hope that helps!

    1. Hi Jacob!
      For drill mounting, if you put a boot sole length in millimeters in the appropriate field when ordering, we'll mount the skis for you. For track/system bindings, we put the bindings on the skis for shipping purposes without a BSL. You still have to take them to a shop to get a final adjustment by a certified technician. We do not touch the DIN. Have fun!

  3. Trying to decide between the Salomon QST 92 or 99. I want the one ski quiver, ski almost exclusively in Colorado both a mix of on-off piste. I like the idea of the fatter ski, how much edge-to-edge quickness on groomers am I giving up for the sake of better float and power in uneven snow? I'm 49, int/adv skier, 5'9" 185lbs. I don't rip like I used to but still don't mind opening them up to keep up with my kids.

    I demo'd the 92's last year in a 169cm, probably would step up to a 174 in the 99 this year.

    1. Hi Miles!
      Sounds like you're a 99 skier to me. Here in the east, I'd go with the 92, but for a western one-ski quiver, I'd say the 99 is the way to go. They're very fun, surfy, and stable. I think the 174 is the right length as well. I think you'll notice the biggest difference in tight turns off-piste rather than on groomers, where the performance is fairly similar. In the bumps and trees, if you have to make a series of quick turns in more packed snow, the 92 is going to do a better job, but not by a huge amount. Have fun!

  4. Hi,
    I think I'm trying to decide which QST 99 size/model to buy, but I'm open to other options. I'm 6'3" and 245lbs and wouldn't consider myself aggressive. I'm probably 50/50 on/off piste. I've only been skiing 4 years, but have averaged 20-30 ski days per year so would consider myself legitimately intermediate. Skiing in the Rockies. I was able to demo a bunch of skis at the end of last season and almost everything was way better for me than my current Sky 7's (bought as demos just to get started). The Enforcer (185) and Bonafide were both awesome, but just too much ski for me and wore my legs out, particularly off piste. The Line Sick Day (104) and Ripstick 96 (180) weren't quite enough. I liked the Rustler 10 (181) a lot off piste, but not as much on piste as they just seemed to have a small turn radius that almost initiated itself. The QST 106 (181) was just too wide for my every day skiing, even though I'd love to have them on powder days. The QST 99's (181) seemed perfect, but by the time I was ready to buy, my season was winding down so I figured I'd wait and see what Salomon did with the QST's this season. I didn't get a chance to demo the 188 and I don't think my rental shop even had them as an option. I'm a one-ski quiver guy and this purchase will hopefully last for many seasons to come.

    A few questions. First, the 2020 seems to have added significant weight, so does this noticeably affect the free ride/surfy feel off piste to get more stability on piste? Some websites actually show it (188cm QST 99) being heavier than the Enforcer 100 (185cm). Is the 2020 QST 99 going to ski more like an Enforcer 100 than like the 2019 QST 99? Second, similarly, will the 188's significantly affect that free ride feel off piste compared to the 181? I know it isn't in your best interest to tell me to buy last season's ski, but am I better off going with the 2019 QST 99 in 188cm? or with the Enforcer 100?


    1. Hi Pat!
      While the 2020 version is heavier, it's also a slightly longer turner, but it doesn't feel heavy on your feet. The tapered shape of the ski reduces swing weight, as does the squared-off tip profile. It is damper at speed for sure, and I don't think either size will really inhibit you. I tested the 181 and found it fine (I'm 6/2 220) but I would purchase the 188 if I were to personally ski it. You're a bit taller and heavier, so I think you'd be fine on the 188. It's not terribly different from the 2019 version--if you find a deal on those, I'd take it.
      There's nothing wrong with that Enforcer 100 either! It's pretty nimble and agile for a ski with two sheets of metal, that's for sure. I'd recommend the 185 in that model. Hope that helps!

  5. Hi! Hoping you could help me out as I can't seem to make a decision on my next pair of skis.

    I'm 22 years old, 6ft 175 and an advanced skier. I'm an advanced skier based out of Stowe and spend probably 45% of my time in the glades, 35% in mogul runs, and 20% on groomers/generally cruising.

    Looking for a do it all, 1-ski-quiver. I demo'd a pair of Kore 93s last year and loved them when there was 2 inches of fresh but am concerned about their ability to float on powder on big Stowe days and when I go out west. I really enjoyed the ease at which the ski jumped into initiating a carve, really biting in as soon as I even started thinking about it which was refreshing. Am considering bumping up a step in width and am deciding between the Kore 99s and the QST 99s.

    I really value the playfulness of a ski and the ability to flick my ankles and have the ski respond instaneously as that's key for me in the moguls and the trees. Ideally I'd love to eliminate chatter when at high speed but if I had to pick between the two id take the precise turning and playfulness every time. Also worth noting I generally prefer to ski something a bit shorter than I should (173-175 rather 180)

    Any thoughts about where I should turn? Apologies for the essay!


    1. Hi Jeremy!
      I think the 99's are a better Stowe option for a one-ski setup. Between the Kore and the QST, I'm more of a fan of the Salomon due to the liveliness. I liked the Kore in GS style carving turns, but I like the QST for everything else. It's a lot damper for 2020, and I expect we'll see a bunch of them around Stowe this year. Also check out the Blizzard Rustler 9 (or 10 for more flotation) as well as the Volkl 90Eight for strong comparisons. Hope that helps and we'll see you soon at Stowe!

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