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  1. #1
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    Salomon QST Blank

    I spent my first day on the QST Blank today and wanted to share my initial impressions. I know that this ski has been talked about in a few places, but wanted to start a dedicated thread in hopes of centralizing skier reviews and related content and questions.

    Days skied - 1
    Location - Stevens Pass, WA
    Conditions Ė 10-20Ē of light powder, soft groomers, soft chop/soft variable

    Ski Length Ė 186-cm
    Bindings Ė Salomon Warden 13 Demo, adjusted to ski ďon the lineĒ
    Boots Ė Tecnica Cochise 130

    Skier Data Ė 48-yo (43-years of skiing); 5í8Ē; 200-lbs
    Skis I like Ė Katana K108, Mantra M102, MFree108, Enforcer 104, Rustler 11, Mindbender 108Ti, Billy Goat, Shiro, OG Cochise


    Summary Ė Playful soft-snow oriented ski that really does blend the best traits of the QST 106 and QST 118 into a single ski. Could be a strong contender for 50/50 duties when paired with something like a Shift. Capable on groomers but wants to be off-trail in the soft stuff. The 186 felt a little short at times, when I was really pushing the ski, but likely not an issue for skiers that weigh 180-lbs or less. Just enough backbone to give it a measure of stability while never killing the playful, spirited side of the ski. This isn't the kind of ski that I normally gravitate to, but it turned out to be the perfect tool for the deep conditions and technical/tight terrain available today.

    Powder Ė The Blank wants to be in soft conditions and it feels at home in deep pow. The tip rocker profile allows the Blank to plane quickly and the ample tail rocker keeps it loose. Itís only 112-mm in the waist, so I wasnít always above the snow in such deep conditions, but the float was above average for a ski in this width. In some deeper spots on lower angle stuff, I did wish for either a wider ski or a longer shovel to help get the ski to plane more quickly. The tail was loose and never felt hooky. It broke loose whenever I needed it to.
    The tip and tail are softer than the middle of the ski, which allows the ski to be tossed around easily. There is a nice bit of stability that comes from the stiff mid-section and some playfulness that comes from the softer extremities. This is a fun powder ski that can be pushed fairly hard as opposed to something like an MFree108 which is much stronger but has a hint of looseness and playfulness. The Blank is great in tight technical terrain and begs you to take creative, playful lines.

    I owned the red/plum colored 188 QST 106 for a short period of time. I feel like the 106 could be pushed a little harder than the Blank in pow, but didnít plane/float as well and didnít ski as loose. I might feel different on the 194 Blank regarding stability.

    Groomers Ė For a ski that is 112-mm in the waist, the Blank is quite capable on groomers. Not sure if it is the ďdouble sidewallĒ tech or 17-mm radius, but it was a much more natural carver than the QST 106. Mind you, the groomers were really soft today and it was easy to set an edge. I wouldnít want to run firm groomers all day on the Blank, but it works well for getting back to the lifts on an in-bounds pow day. Iíd rate them 7.5/8 out of 10 for groomer performance as long as the snow is soft. For firmer or icy conditions, I suspect that rating would decrease.
    I want to mention the 17-m turn radius. I was worried that ski would feel too turny. It didnít. The radius felt a bit larger than 17-m based on some other skis that I own. Also, the ample tail rocker prevented the ski from ever feeling hooky. Iím relieved that this piece of ski design data was not the negative that I had anticipated at first glance.

    Steeps Ė The Blank is very comfortable and capable on steeps and in technical terrain. They are easy to toss around and allow the skier to navigate tight spots with confidence. Edge hold under foot was great any time I encountered firmer snow under the pow in the steeps. I could push them quite hard down steeper fall lines with minimal deflection of the softer shovel. For PNW skiers, the Blank would be a ton of fun at Alpental or Baker. Now I understand why KC is so fond of them at Blackcomb where everything is steep and technical and you need a ski that is agile but you can count on not to wash out or fall apart when being pushed.

    (KC and Skibrd - I know you two own the Blank as well. Would you mind adding some of your impressions to this thread?)
    In constant pursuit of the perfect slarve...

  2. #2
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    Salomon QST Blank

    Thanks for the write up! Been eying up this ski, but canít figure how it makes sense in my quiver.
    focus.

  3. #3
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    You make me want this ski. How do you think it would be in the heavier snow we get? It's been nice and light the last couple weeks.

  4. #4
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    Salomon QST Blank

    Quote Originally Posted by Mustonen View Post
    Thanks for the write up! Been eying up this ski, but can’t figure how it makes sense in my quiver.
    I actually bought these since I thought it would be the kind of ski that my 17-yo would enjoy on a powder day…quick and loose. They are very different than what I typically ski. If I were on a bigger mountain, the 186 would be too small for me.

    What I didn’t say in the review above is that I swapped out for my 192 MFrees at lunch and traded playful for stable yet loose. I much prefer the increased power and improved stability of the MFree. It demands more than the Blank but also rewards with an incredibly high top end which the Blank doesn’t have, at least not in the 186 length I skied.
    Last edited by Bandit Man; 01-05-2022 at 08:56 AM.
    In constant pursuit of the perfect slarve...

  5. #5
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    Iím on the 194cm Blank, picked them up last March and mounted them with P18s on the suggested line.

    Bandit is 100% spot on with his initial points. They do want to be in soft snow off groomers, thatís their happy place. Iíll try to expand the best I can below.

    Groomers: I detuned the tips and tails a lot, and do find them to want to pull into a turn on groomers, but please remember I tend towards skis that have >25m turn radius. They donít want to just hop up on edge and go straight, like the the Black Ops Sender Squad or MX98 do. Both of those skis are planted when going fast, the tips and tails stat on the snow, that is not how the Blanks will ski. You will feel and see the tips and tails vibrating when skiing fast enough on groomers. The tendency of the Blank is to turn, and they do that easily. They do require an active style to ski straight and fast over rough terrain. You are going to bash through spring slush. They would be just the right amount of fun to goof around on groomers after skiing slush. Iíd say 7.5 out of 10 on groomers is about right.

    Steeps: The last few weekends I have been skiing them in Kirkwood, mostly the Wall area (lookers right of the comp zone), and in steeps Iím not sure Iíve been on a ski that has felt better/easier to ski. The Blanks come around in a turn and feel confident under foot in a way I havenít really felt before. Itís like Iím skiing a much narrower, shorter ski, just easy. Truly just easy, I donít have a better way to say it. I havenít had them in steep pow yet, but in chalky pow, they do what I want and nothing else. I wouldnít want to take them on a spring steep skiing mountaineering mission, mostly due to their weight, but Iíd have no issue if I did being able to ski anything I came across.

    Powder: I have only gotten one run in pow in them and they were absolutely perfect. Just easy as can be to wiggle around in pow. I want to get them out in more pow, and hopefully soon I can. I did notice a bit of feedback when

    I have a fairly large fat ski quiver and can easily see these sliding between my MX98s and Pon2oons as the only ski between those two. Iíd be fine grabbing these for a Japan (with a Pon2oon) or Alps (MX98) trip as part of a two ski quiver. If I get back to Jackson, I donít see myself grabbing something else very often on anything but the deepest of days.

    Overall: Iíve been searching for a Blizzard Gunsmoke replacement for a few years. A big twin thatís easy to ski, can handle spring groomers, powder, steep big mountain terrain, or a short resort tour to something fun, and these are perfect. They check the boxes Iím looking to check in a ~115mm wide ski. I do need more time on them but so far Iím impressed.

    Side note: These make me really wish the QST 106 came in a 194. Iíd like that ski a lot I think.



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  6. #6
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    I ski my QST 106 as an every day ski, and have an Atomic Automatic 117 (w P18s) and an Atomic Backland 117 (w Shifts) as a bigger soft snow ski day.
    Do I need to try this ski or can I be talked out of it?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by skibrd View Post
    Side note: These make me really wish the QST 106 came in a 194. Iíd like that ski a lot I think.
    My bet is that 194 QST Blank = 188 QST 106. The Blanks look to have longer tip and tail taper and rocker than the 106s.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by thejongiest View Post
    You make me want this ski. How do you think it would be in the heavier snow we get? It's been nice and light the last couple weeks.
    It's hard not to love a ski that was used in the optimal conditions it was intended for. I think that heavier/denser snow is going to affect how fast the Blank can be skied, similar to a ski like the Rustler 11, which is stiff in the middle and softens up at the extremities. That stiff mid-section certainly is key to the Blank not being a total noodle. I won't be maching through heavy crud on these. They just aren't stiff enough in the shovel. I suspect they would require a more active style in those conditions. They want to be skied from a more centered-stance anyhow.
    In constant pursuit of the perfect slarve...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by D(C) View Post
    My bet is that 194 QST Blank = 188 QST 106. The Blanks look to have longer tip and tail taper and rocker than the 106s.
    My bet as well. There is a lot of taper in those rockered sections.

    It's been a few years since I have been on the 188 106, but the 186 Blank felt like a tad less ski/is easier to manage and I kept thinking that the 188 106/194 Blank would be a fairer comparison.
    In constant pursuit of the perfect slarve...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bandit Man View Post
    What I didn’t say in the review above is that I swapped out for my 192 MFrees at lunch and traded playful for stable yet loose. I much prefer the increased power and improved stability of the MFree. It demands more than the Blank but also rewards with an incredibly high top end which the Blank doesn’t have.
    I’d be interested to try the Blanks. I’m on 192 M-Free 108s now and had a few days on the current-version QST 106 last year. I also had a day on the 181 QST 99 (discontinued) at the start of this year.

    I thought the QST 106 had a ton of stability and edge grip, encouraging me to lay them over on groomers, but I didn’t get along with the tails in shorter turns - they just wanted to hold on and were hard to release. I mounted them at +2, and the length of tail could have contributed to the problem (which I didn’t expect since mounting forward had made other skis looser).

    The 181 QST 99s were uninspiring and I sold them immediately. I was expecting a 188 QST 106 with similar carving feel but less tail, but they were a lot less stable and felt vague in and out of turns at speed.

    The 192 M-Free 108s are both stable and easy and out of turns, which is I think what makes them so confidence-inspiring to charge on. They have enough heft to go fast, but knowing you can make quick direction changes or throw on the brakes makes going fast less scary. I don’t find they have the locked-in, stable feel on edge that the 188 QST 106s had, though. In that respect, the QST 106s felt like more ski.

    I know that the current version of the QST 106 has less taper than earlier versions, so it can expected to ski differently from the older version you were comparing to.

  11. #11
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    I've got a few days on the 194 Blanks so far, need more time. I agree with multiple points made above. I really like the gray (current version) 188cm QST106 as my daily driver, up to ~6-8" of fresh, which is what piqued my interest in the Blank. The 194s are 192.5cm straight pull and feel like the approx equivalent to the 188cm 106 length wise. I believe my 106's are mounted -1 or -2cm and Blanks on recommended line. The Blanks do like to be skied from a more centered stance than the 106's. They do like to turn and are very easy to ski, requiring less input than the 106's...and the 106's are easy to ski. D(C) I think you would have a completely different impression of the 106 if you went back ~1-2cm from line: can be skied with a forward athletic stance, balls of feet, can lock in with edge hold, yet can release tails at will. Can make any turn shape...

    I wish the Blanks had a few mm more width / less sidecut. I think they have plenty of taper to still break loose and would be slightly more stable skiing straight and flat. I will get more time on them before I do anything, but I might even consider going back 1-2cm on the Blanks to get a slightly more forward / driving stance. I also agree with Bandit Man that I haven't yet learned to trust the shovels 100% in heavier chop/crud. While I haven't skied Automatics in several years, they do kind of remind me of them, maybe slightly looser. Firm under foot but softer tips and tails. Good, but not mind blowing, in pow and are very acceptable to hold an edge on firmer stuff back to the lift. For a powder specific ski, there are other skis I would rather be on with more width that are more playful, that still provide 80-90% of the firm snow edge hold (like the Protest). With all of the tip/tail taper, they do have a little less 'suspension' than I had hoped for a 112mm, resort pow ski and a little more feedback underfoot than desired over bumpy firm snow.

    IMO they really do nothing spectacularly, but that is probably what makes them a good resort pow ski where you'll but skiing powder primarily, but will inevitably get a mixed bag of some packed pow, chop, and a groomer back to the lift....and you don't want to suffer too much on the latter.

  12. #12
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    I do agree 100% that they should be 114-116mm wide to lengthen the side cut up a bit.

    The tips/tails are fairly soft laterally, but underfoot is plenty stiff enough to hold a strong edges.

    To hop on Sierraskiers comment, there are skis that are better at a lot of things, but the Blanks do 80-90% of what I want those more specific skis to do, which is perfect for me.


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  13. #13
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    So am I hearing that these things might be shaping up to be a perfect western DD

  14. #14
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    Salomon QST Blank

    Will add more to this thread a bit later. Just drove 9 hrs back from Whitewater and now heading to Whistler tomorrow.

    Will get a few more days on them and report back with more feedback.

    All of the above comments spot on.

    They are slarvy, playful and can do just about anything. They love steep and tight and technical. Super predictable and so easy to ski. Iím as comfy on these in sketchy, tight spots as I am on my Nordica Enforcer Free 104s. You can finesse them, or rage on them.

    So ya Iím a Blank fan. Iím meeting a guy in Whistler this weekend who wants to buy my minty R11sÖ.and I may actually sell the R11s cause the Blanks are that good.

    They ski short. Iím on the 178cm Blanks (@ 5í7Ē, 165 lbs)Ö.which are short (I have 184 Rens, 181 Nomads, 180 Protos, 180 R11s, 179 E104sÖetc). But honestly the 178cm feels like Iím cheating. They turn that quick. But they still float me and can handle everything you encounter.

    One point on mount point. I saw the huge tail rocker on the Blanks, and read the Blister review (only info available) and went forward +1.8cm (to approx. 6.2cm) with STHsÖ.due to that massive tail rocker. But I was wrong. Iím re-mounting back a cm (-7.2cm) in a few weeks with Duke PTsÖ.. to be my sidecountry and inbounds ski. I think rec is -7.9cm.

    Had the same issue with Dynastar ProtosÖ.mounted 1st at +3cm (-6cm), based on Blister, but like them better back a bit further at +2cm (-7cm).

    KC
    Last edited by kc_7777; 01-06-2022 at 01:07 AM.
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  15. #15
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    These look fun and (only from reading about, comparing the specs, and fondling) seem very similar to the 2012 DPS Wailer 112 Foundation rock skis (still bashing rocks on regular basis at RED) that Iím enjoying at the moment. Playful and easy in all soft snow conditions, but with a speed limit.

  16. #16
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    My daily driver is the qst 118. Love this ski!! I use the 106 for long spring tours when I donít know if the face will be pow/crust or ice. Just mounted up the blanks with MTNís to fill the void inbetween The quiver Of what I want to ski ď blower pow on 118ísĒ and forced To ski ďcrust/crud on 106Ē

    Will report back in due time

  17. #17
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    Anyone know how these compare to the Head Kore 111? Looking for a new daily driver and considering either of these skis for Whistler.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by kootenayskier View Post
    These look fun and (only from reading about, comparing the specs, and fondling) seem very similar to the 2012 DPS Wailer 112 Foundation rock skis (still bashing rocks on regular basis at RED) that Iím enjoying at the moment. Playful and easy in all soft snow conditions, but with a speed limit.
    I havenít found a speed limit on the Blanks. Yeah they get a bit flappy in the tips, they fly just fine.


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  19. #19
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    Salomon QST Blank

    Quote Originally Posted by skibrd View Post
    I havenít found a speed limit on the Blanks. Yeah they get a bit flappy in the tips, they fly just fine.


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    Agreed.

    If you are in a wide open bowl then maybe you want a badass ski like the K108Ö..for speed, but everywhere else the Blank allows you to ski faster and better cause they are so damn easy to ski.
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  20. #20
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    Glad to hear you like the 178. I am waiting for tele bindings to throw on mine.

    I know no one cares, but this sounds like my new DD.


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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by kc_7777 View Post
    Agreed.

    If you are in a wide open bowl then maybe you want a badass ski like the K108Ö..for speed, but everywhere else the Blank allows you to ski faster and better cause they are so damn easy to ski.
    Possibly true, but Iíd give up some fun to be had in that wide open bowl that I could have on the Blank by grabbing the K108. Iím always amazed at how weird little bumps become fun things when I have a ski I can trust on my feet.


    Also, semi side note on skiing as a whole, not meant to be a hijack, do we really need to go mac 10 everywhere? Do we love going boarder line too fast, yes. Do I go mac 10 way too often, yes, but there is a lot of little fun things to ski off/around. Maybe slowing down a bit isnít a bad thing?


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  22. #22
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    My biggest complaint with the Blank is that Salomon totally missed the opportunity to make it a true unisex ski, and offer it in smaller sizes. I was thinking, on paper, that it'd be the perfect pow ski for my 5'4" girlfriend, but a 178cm smallest size, that ain't happening. What gives?

    I still would love to give it a go myself, but damn, they really missed an opportunity.

  23. #23
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    Damn, thanks for sharing all the info in this thread, incredibly helpful. At 5'11, I'm torn between the 186 and 194. Anyone have a similar experience when choosing between lengths? Would love some insight into the decision.

  24. #24
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    Salomon QST Blank

    Well, I was looking at this as a funky/tree ski, which had me looking at 186 or MAYBE 178. Given the thread discussion, I think 186 probably makes most sense. Iím just a bit shorter than you but every other ski in my quiver is longer.

    If I was looking for more of a wide open spaces go fast ski, this thread would have me looking elsewhere. Actually, given the thread, Iím not sure I completely understand the 194 length unless you are just a very large human who needs the float.

    Also, never felt the K108 was all that badass. I ditched it precisely because it felt a little too light/nervous in the funky stuff I wanted it for.
    Last edited by Mustonen; 01-07-2022 at 03:48 PM.
    focus.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by kc_7777 View Post
    So ya I’m a Blank fan. I’m meeting a guy in Whistler this weekend who wants to buy my minty R11s….and I may actually sell the R11s cause the Blanks are that good.
    Are there conditions when you would still prefer R11s over the Blanks?

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