We had heard a lot about the Salomon Q-lab before we were able to ride it ourselves. It seemed like a lot of people were torn. Some had a lot of praise for it, while others thought it was too much ski for most people. It all seemed to come down to what size ski you rode. Neither Brian nor I are very big guys, and so we opted for the 183 Salomon Q-lab. The 183 is 104 underfoot, with a stiff flex, while the 190 is 109 underfoot, and very stiff. What we found in the 183 was a ski that was a lively, all mountain charger that was still easy to handle. Although we can’t say for sure since we haven’t tested it ourselves, it seems safe to say that that the 190 would feel like a lot more ski. If you’re light weight or less aggressive, you may be better off opting for the 183cm. It seems like a beast of a ski, but one that is easy to tame.
2016 Salomon Q-Lab On Mountain Video Ski Review
Riders: Matt and Brian
Conditions: Soft Chop(5”), Groomers, Hard Pack, Bumps
Boots: Rossignol Alias Sensor 120
On the Snow Feel: The Salomon Q-Lab is built to provide a damp and stable ride, without being a chore to ski. It’s light-weight tip and tapered design aid in maneuverability and turn initiation. At the same time the directional shape and camber underfoot give it a bit more of a charger feel.
Powder: Although we didn’t get to test the Salomon Q-lab in anything deeper than 5”, we we feel it would be capable in deeper snow. The Q-Lab is designed with Salomon’s Utility Rocker profile which places rocker in the tip and tail, and camber underfoot. The rise in the tip is pretty long, but not too high profile. This gradual rise helps to increase float, and when combined with a tapered honeycomb tip, we suspect the ski would plane pretty well. Even with a relatively stiff flex, the ski would float decently well. The Rocker in the tail, however, is much less pronounced, and although it will help turning in the variable snow, it won’t be nearly as playful as something with more significant rocker.
Turn Initiation and Carving: The Salomon Q-Lab is a damp and heavy ski with a relatively burly construction. However, we didn’t find it a chore to initiate turns. It was also very willing to make relatively lively turns down the mountain. The Q-Lab utilizes a Utility Rocker, Hook Free Taper, and Honeycomb tip, all of which aid in maneuverability and turn initiation. We found that even at lower edge angles the ski was quite responsive and willing to turn. The ski does take a bit of work to bend into the turn at slow speeds, but on steeper pistes and at higher edge angles we found it to bend rather well, and the stiff tails provided a significant amount of power out of the turn. I wouldn’t call the ski snappy, but rather smooth and intuitive. It turns when you want it to without a ton of input. This is relatively surprising for a ski with burly construction. I often find the hard charging skis (think Cochise) to be a bit of a chore to turn, and often they feel a bit lifeless. The Q-Lab still felt a bit heavy at times, but it was for livelier than we expected, and edge to edge transitions were relatively energetic. It’s not the quickest ski, but it still had some life to it. We found it most capable making medium to large radius turns.
Speed: The Salomon Q-Lab has a stiff core of ash and poplar combined with two layers of titanal and vibration reducing rubber, helping to keep things damp and stable. Traditional camber underfoot and a full sandwich construction also help to increase stability, and inspire confidence at speed. Even with a mid to high profile rocker the tips don’t bounce or chatter, thanks in large part to the honeycomb construction.
Uneven Terrain: This is one of the most powerful skis in Salomon’s line-up, and it does a decent job eating up the chop. The overall flex is stiff with the shovels being just a touch softer. This flex pattern allows the front of the ski to absorb the terrain and reduce vibrations, while the stiffness underfoot helps to blast through it. Although it doesn’t have the same crud bashing capabilities of the Cochise, it feels relatively stable and damp and we were willing to push it pretty fast in the chop and crud. It’s quick enough to make turns around the piles of snow, but also damp and stable enough to blast through.
Moguls: Although the Salomon Q-lab seemed quick for a heavy ski, it wouldn’t be my go to for a mogul ski. They were not bad, but there are better skis for moguls.
Edge Hold: The elongated rocker profile decreases the overall edge of the Salomon Q-Lab, but it also has a traditionally shaped tail that is pretty stiff. This helps to create better edge grip and stability when on edge. Even on firm steep runs we felt confident the edge would hold. It’s definitely not a hard snow specialist, but does a good job for its size and width.
Flex: The Salomon Q-Lab has a medium/stiff tip with a stiff construction through the rest of the ski. This makes a little bit more forgiving, but still a hard charging ski capable of high speeds and crud busting.
Switch: The Salomon Q-Lab is quite directional
Jumps and Park: The Q-lab doesn’t make the best park ski. It’s heavy and lacks a ton of pop.
The Salomon Q-Lab is a heavier more solid version of the Salomon Q-105. It skis with more power, and dampness, but is still maneuverable. It’s a great ski for those that like to charge, but don’t want a ski that is a chore to maneuver. It’s relatively easy to get on edge, and although not super snappy, it made smooth and relatively energetic turns. Sure it’s not as damp or stable as the Cochise, but it is also more maneuverable and slightly more playful in the soft snow (although, neither is very playful). It’s great for those slightly less aggressive skiers, or those who are a bit lighter, that still want to charge the mountain. It didn’t blow us away in any one area, but was solid in just about anywhere we went. Although we can’t say the for sure without testing the 190, everything we have heard about this ski suggests that it skis with more power, and a lot less life.