I went to the Salomon tent at a recent local demo looking for a versatile all mountain resort ski. They didn’t have the one I was looking for at the moment, and suggested I grab a pair of the Salomon MTN Explore 95. This is a backcountry oriented ski, but the rep assured me it doesn’t ski like it. Man was he right. Often touring versions of skis are good at going up, or good at coming down, but usually not great at both. At 1400g these skis are super light. They would be great for skinning uphill, but these were also some of the best performing skis I’ve skied in this weight class. At first, they felt and skied very similar to the Volkl 90Eight, but they had better edge grip and power. They have some serious edge hold, and were energetic and lively carvers. They weren’t super damp, but far more stable than most skis this light. The Salomon MTN Explore 95 has the versatility of the 90Eight, but are probably one of the best carving skis at this weight.
Salomon MTN Explore 95 Review
Conditions: Soft Groomers, Soft Chop, Hard Packed Groomers
Boots: Rossignol Alias Sensor 120
On the Snow Feel: The Salomon MTN Explore 95 is a very light-weight and easy to maneuver ski, that actually feels pretty locked in once on edge. It has a relatively playful feel in softer snow, and is really easy to pivot at slower speeds. It wasn’t overly stable when flat, but definitely better than most skis in this weight class.
Powder: I didn’t have the chance to test out the Salmon MTN Explore 95 in deep snow, but could actually see this being pretty fun in moderately deep powder. At 95 underfoot, it’s not going to have the float of a powder specialist, but in 5-10” of soft fresh snow this ski would be quite fun. It has an all-terrain rocker profile with a hook free taper. This will help give the skis directional stability while still being able to maneuver with ease in deeper snow. The light-weight inly helps to increase maneuverability and give the ski a slightly more playful feel. The ski definitely wouldn’t be my go-to for deep days, but if this was all you had in your quiver, it’s perfectly capable of skiing deeper snow when you need to.
Turn Initiation and Carving: The Salomon MTN Explore 95 is a light-weight ski with an even lighter honeycomb tip, and tapered tip and tail. It’s a super easy ski to maneuver and pivot, even at slow speeds. I did find that when on a lower edge angle the ski was forgiving and easy to skid and slide into turns. However, when you put the ski on a high edge angle it can really rail. The ski has a “Carve Zone” camber underfoot for power, grip, and energy. The Karuba wood core adds liveliness, and the spaceframe construction and CFX Superfiber add stiffness, strength, and power while remaining light-weight. Underfoot are full ABS sidewalls that help to increase edge hold. The end result is a ski that feels very energetic. I found the ski quite lively, and transitions from edge to edge were quick and exciting. I was actually pretty blown away at how well the ski could carve turns. Of course it doesn’t have the same power as a ski like the Volkl RTM 84, but this was one of the most energetic and lively skis in this weight class.
Speed: The Salomon MTN Explore 95 actually holds up pretty well at speed. Again, it reminds me a lot of the Volkl 90Eight. Like the 90Eight, the ski has a very good strength to weight ratio thanks in part to the Spaceframe Construction. A CFX Superfiber (Carbon and Flax) strip helps to increase torsional rigidity and strength, while a full wood core keeps things nice and lively while retaining a bit of dampness. When tipped on edge, the ski feels strong and stable, allowing you to increase speed with confidence. The low profile rocker and light-weight honeycomb tip ensures the tip doesn’t chatter at speed. Of course it’s not going to feel like an ultra-damp metal laminated ski, but for its weight, I found the MTN Explore 95 to hold up pretty well.
Uneven/Variable Terrain: The Salomon MTN Explore 95 is surprising capable in the chop and uneven terrain. Like the 90Eight, the MTN Explore 95 requires a bit more of a light and nimble approach. You don’t want to try and just blast through heavy chop and crud, but rather find a way to float and maneuver above and around rough snow.
Edge Hold: A healthy dose of camber, and full abs sidewalls help to increase edge hold and stability on hard snow. The Salomon MTN Explore 95 is also torsionally stiff and won’t fold on you when carving high speed turns on harder snow. It probably wouldn’t be my go-to ski for hard days, but it’s nice to know the edge will hold when you do come across hard packed patched of snow.
Bottom Line: The Salomon MTN Explore 95 is a really fun and versatile touring ski, that is capable enough for every day. It worked just fine as a resort ski, and could be a daily driver for some skiers. It is very light-weight, but was one of the best performing skis in its light-weight class. It’s easy to maneuver and can be playful at times, but is also a very capable carver. I found it lively and energetic, and surprisingly powerful given its light weight. It handles the speed well, although better on smooth groomers than roughed up terrain. In those conditions it’s best to take a light-weight and nimble approach, but even then the ski was surprisingly capable. The Salomon MTN Explore 95 a versatile and light-weight ski that would be just as good for skinning up the mountain as it is skiing down. I wouldn’t necessarily push it as an all-mountain resort ski, but it is definitely capable enough if someone were to use it at the resort.