The Salomon Q-96 Lumen is a good contender in the women’s all mountain category. It has a versatile 96mm waist and lightweight construction that holds up well on groomers and off-piste. It didn’t blow us away in any one category, but rather was a solid performer in almost every category. It’s fun on the groomers, decent in the chop, and solid in the soft snow.
Conditions: Soft Chop, Freshly Groomed, Hard Pack, Icy steeps
Bindings: Salomon Z12
On the Snow Feel: The Salomon Q-96 is a semi stable ski most places on the mountain. It has a decent amount of rocker in the tip and a light-weight honeycomb tip to keep it maneuverable while still offering a solid ride when you want it.
Powder: The Salomon Q-96 Lumen does a decent job in the deeper snow despite it’s 96mm waist. Of course there are wider skis with better float (Armada VJJ), but with a decent amount of rocker in the tip the Salomon Q-96 Lumen we never felt we had to fight too hard to keep the tips up. The tail is only slightly raised but we found we were still capable of making some surfy turns in the deeper snow. It’s definitely not as dead easy as some wider powder skis, but the Salomon Q-96 Lumen is wide enough, flexible enough, and maneuverable enough to handle the powder.
Turn Initiation and Carving: The Salomon Q-96 Lumen is a solid ski on the front-side groomers, but again it didn’t necessarily blow us away. It’s light weight and rocker nose help to keep the ski maneuverable and easier to swing, but it wasn’t dead easy to get on edge. Once there the Salomon Q-96 Lumen seems to be most happy with medium to long radius turns, but any aggressive skier will be able to force the ski to make quick short radius turns as well. It wasn’t the most powerful or energetic rebound and although it was a capable carver, there are other skis that will be more fun. The ski is light, however, and wasn’t a chore to transition from edge to edge. The tail is only slightly upturned, but we were able to release it when needed. Bottom line is if you don’t mind driving the ski a bit more it’s a solid carver, but don’t expect it to have the same rebound energy as something a bit more lively.
Speed: This is an area where the Salomon Q-96 was just ok. They did become a bit more lively and energetic at speed, but they also didn’t feel quite as stable. Salomon does incorporate a pulse pad in the construction, helping to reduce negative vibrations. But the Salomon Q-96 Lumen is light-weight and not very beefy. As long as the groomers were smooth, the ski rode fine, but as things got bumped up we reached the speed limit pretty quickly.
Uneven Terrain: The Salomon Q-96 Lumen was capable in the variable terrain, but again it wasn’t dead easy. In the softer snow we found the Lumen was happiest when riding with a bit more finesse. We couldn’t really blast through the chop as much as we could pick our way around things. The light weight allowed us to maneuver through this type of terrain while the rocker tip helped keep our tips from diving into the piles of snow. As things got deeper it was more of a challenge to keep the skis stable, and the light weight made the ski feel a bit overwhelmed at times. Still we could pick our way through this terrain as long as we stayed on our game. As things fired up the Lumen was far less stable. The Salomon Q-96 Lumen was a capable off-piste ski, but in extremely variable terrain it took a lot of work.
Edge Hold: The Salomon Q-96 Lumen had decent hold on moderately firm snow, but wasn’t great on hardpack or ice. This was especially true on steeper runs, where the Lumen seemed to skid a bit more than we would have liked.
Flex: The Salomon Q-96 Lumen has a moderate to firm flex with a bit softer flex in the tip.
Switch: The Salomon Q-96 Lumen isn’t great at riding switch.
The Salomon Q-96 Lumen is versatile all mountain ski that was capable in most terrain and conditions. Again it didn’t necessarily blow us away in any one category, but was pretty well rounded overall. It was capable on the groomers, but not necessarily exciting. It’ maneuverable, but didn’t have a lot of rebound energy or liveliness. It does a decent job in the powder for a 96mm waisted ski, but it’s not nearly as effortless as wider powder oriented skis. It’s capable off piste, but can be overwhelmed in deeper variable terrain. It took a bit of effort to drive the ski in crud and chop. The Salomon Q-96 Lumen would be a great ski for advanced skiers that want to be able to take this ski anywhere. It’s not going to top any one category, but it’s capable just about anywhere you take it on the mountain.