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Gear Of The Year - 2017

The new QST 99 knows what it wants to be, which is not one of those stiff, edgy midfats that thinks it’s a race ski. It’s a lover, not a fighter, more interested in creativity than speed, more interested soft snow than hard. The best floater in the category, it’s a smeary, easy-to-pivot slasher at heart. Bumps? Bring ’em (long as they’re soft). But can Pats fans abide the Bronco colors? Casey: “A versatile explorer for soft days in the East.” 

Notes: The new Salomon QST 99 hits the waist-width sweet spot that so many skiers find appealing-wide enough for soft stuff, narrow enough to contentedly rip up the hardpack on days between storms. 

It's part of the new QST series of men's freeride skis, which replaces both the Quest and Rocker2 collections of years past in a single broad series. The QSTs are a showcase for Salomon's Spaceframe construction. There are five models, ranging from a big-mountain-surfing 118 mm down to an affordable 85-mm frontsider. Salomon builds in plenty of power: All models are wood-core, and a layer of CFX Superfiber (twitchy carbon mellowed by flax) adds energy. But the Spaceframe layup can be tuned to different needs at different widths. In the wider skis (118 and 106), the core is shortened and narrowed to allow some surf-friendly flex both longitudinally and laterally (Bi-Directional Spaceframe). Where the core ends, airy koroyd honeycomb inserts take over tip and tail, reducing swing weight. In frontside skis (99 and 92), the core is full-sized for maximum edge support and energy transmission (Directional Spaceframe). The two widest models are rockered tip and tail, for maximum float and drift; the frontsiders are tip-rockered for shock-absorption and occasional deep-snow encounters. The top three models (99 and up) get a layer of metal in the binding area for both durability and a little extra power. Hook Free Taper (the widest points of the ski are moved closer to the foot) promotes a loose quickness in all models. All models are sold flat (no binding).
Salomon has been headquartered in Annecy, France, since its founding there in 1947. Along with sister brands Atomic and ArcTeryx, it is a division of Amer Sports of Finland, which acquired it in 2005. Its U.S. headquarters are in Ogden, Utah.
November 14, 2016 by William Elles