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Salomon QLab initial impressions

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Annabuzzy, Jun 24, 2017.

  1. Annabuzzy

    Annabuzzy Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    I'm down for my first weekend skiing and brought all my (new) skis to stick in my locker. So I've taken the opportunity today to swap over skis during the day. I skied my Brahmas this morning (best skis ever) and my Salomon QLabs this afternoon.

    I just did a few runs down High Noon at Thredbo as it's pretty much all that's open. It was classic later afternoon sh#%. Crowded. Skied off in places. Bumps developing in a few other places. And in between patches of snow which had a top layer of slushy groomed.

    The skis themselves are 176cm. I know they have a 20.5m turn radius and are 103mm underfoot but I couldn't say much else. They're reputed to have Salomon's race core on a free ride shape. I quite like the Salomon free ride shape, so how goes with a stiffer core?

    I like them.

    It's really too early to say too much as the conditions were so far off those that are optimal for this ski. I can say though that it slithered through small bumps fine. I was worried with all the "kick butt" reputation I'd find them hard to manage, but far from it. It's even a little hard to judge their carving prowess given the conditions but they initiated well and held the turn. That's pretty much all I can say right now.

    The profile of this ski makes it really forgiving and manoeverable. The core just gives it more oomph.

    I suspect I could have gone to a 183cm in this ski, But I'm satisfied with what I have.

    I'll update this as I ski it more. This ski may well replace the Salomon QST 99 as my travel ski, just because it is that touch more substantial but (hard to tell completely as yet) as forgiving off piste
     
  2. Annabuzzy

    Annabuzzy Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Just an update on this.

    I've now had 2 days on these skis in the conditions for which they were designed. While not deep powder, I have had them through boot top to shin deep powder, cut up crud, a nice buffed kind of surface, and groomed runs. I even took them through a racecourse (maybe not the best choice for that!!).

    All the above impressions are validated. It's a stable ski with some oomph on groomed/packed snow, but is forgiving in soft snow. It does tend to scribe an arc once you put it on edge (as opposed to a more drifty style ski) but contrary to some reports I did find I could drift the tail as well in softer snow as well as hard. It is capable of making a pretty small turn at 176cm but can make big turns as well. Provided the snow is forgiving enough to get an edge in it carves a nice turn.

    Essentially this is just a more beefy version of the super fun and more forgiving QST 99, which in turn is a more beefy version of the super forgiving Q98.

    Salomon off piste oriented skis are really so flexible off piste - they've got something special going with these shapes.

    Edit to add: I love these skis. Second best skis I have owned after the Blizzard Brahma. They're both amazing, versatile skis
     
    #2 Annabuzzy, Aug 6, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
    elSpike and Undies like this.
  3. Annabuzzy

    Annabuzzy Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    I'll round this out. I had these skis on early season man made, and I n the snow event 1.0 and 2.0. I also skied them in the early morning firm and slush of October long weekend. Essentially I had them in pretty much every condition you will encounter in an Oz winter, on every type of run.

    I absolutely love these skis.

    They come with a reputation as being an arse kicking ski - 'experts only need apply' and all that palava. And maybe that's true of the 190cm version. But for the 176cm version I have, it's a stout but completely workable ski. On super firm mornings I can ski it with a bit of nursing. By way of contrast the Salomon Q98 in particular developed a disconcerting shudder when being skied on particularly firm snow. That just doesn't exist for these babies. As soon as there is a touch of give to the snow I can ski it like a normal carve ski. I can work it just that touch more agggressively that say the QST99, perhaps because it's just more robust to stand on. It works great in bumps (I take a wider, slower line in bumps), and kills it in powder. in some skis I've owned in the past I've felt the need to lift the tips in powder. Not so these, which are intuitive and pretty easy to ski in fresh snow. As it gets more cut up they easily adapt to a wider arc, relying more on power.

    In one sense there's little point to this ongoing review as it's a discontinued ski. But it will be available from time to time second hand and no doubt there's some run off stock, so this may help people contemplating a purchase in those circumstances.

    It probably is a ski for advanced and up skiers as it wouldn't suit someone sliding their turns. But I don't think you need to be a type A skier to enjoy them in the shorter lengths. A solid technically sound skier will enjoy them fine.

    For me, this is the best wide all mountain ski I have owned. Between this and my Blizzard Brahma I have a quiver which covers virtually anything.
     
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  4. timbat

    timbat Hard Yards

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    Have the 183 cm most impressed with mine ... your review is spot on
     
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  5. Annabuzzy

    Annabuzzy Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    You know sometimes when familiarity with your gear breeds contempt? Or how you may not drag out some gear for some time, you forget quite how good it is, and feel that you may need to replace said gear with something new and shiny?

    I pulled out these Qlabs over the weekend, more by necessity than anything else. The snow wasn’t quite deep enough I’d normally pull them out. But...wow. I was reminded...

    I love these skis.

    Great off piste, great on the groomers, forgiving enough in bumps at my shorter 176cm length. These things kill it.

    Their Kryptonite is ice. As I stood in them in the morning lift line on hard packed ice I was thinking “oh this is going to be a long day” but conditions were magical and those thoughts didn’t enter my head again.

    I was contemplating being unfaithful QLabs, but no. You still have my affections. Bring on Niseko 2020
     
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