It’s hard to talk about the Salomon Q BC Lab Skis without mentioning the Salomon Q98 Skis and the Salomon Q105 Skis which we’ve reviewed over the past few years. I say this because these skis all share similar features and attributes, with the Salomon Q BC Lab Skis being the much bigger brother to the other two. The Q BC’s have a full 9mm more underfoot over the Q105 skis and 16mm over the Q98 skis. All three have Utility Rocker, 5 Point Side Cut and Honeycomb & ABS tip and tails. Before we move onto the Salomon Q BC Lab Skis specifically lets start with a refresher on these innovative Salomon features.
Salomon’s “Utility Rocker” is the combination of an early rise tip, camber under foot and a subtle tail rise. The tip rise is fairly generous and keeps the tip floating in powder and chop while the traditional camber underfoot allows the ski to carve on groomers and hard pack. The tail rise is minimal so it finishes the turn nicely and provides more control than a twin-rocker ski. This more traditional shape provides a solid platform with the early rise giving you the flotation you need for powder days in the backcountry.
Salomon’s 5 point sidecut is used not only on the entire Q line of skis but also the Rocker 2 line up. It is named for the 5 points along the ski’s shape: narrow at the tip, wide towards the middle, narrow under foot, wide again towards the back and then finally narrow at the tail. Count them all up and you get the five points. The real magic with the 5 point side cut happens because the widest point of the ski is pulled back from the tip and tail more than other skis of similar shape. This design eliminates any chance of “hooking” the ski in chop and on groomers, which we have experienced with other skis of similar design.
Honeycomb & ABS tip and tails – Any time you have an early rise tip or tail you inevitably get ski chatter. When you lift the ski extremities off the snow and vibrations take over, you get chatter – makes sense, right? Chatter reduces control and vibrations can be amplified. To reduce vibrations and chatter, Salomon uses a honeycomb structure (called Koroyd) and ABS in the tip and tail of the ski. This design also reduces the weight and, therefore the inertia, making the Salomon Q-98s more maneuverable and giving the skier more control than skis without this technology. The Solomon Koroyd structure is touted as being superior to traditional honeycomb structures. Rather than being glued together, the Koroyd cores (think thousands of small extruded tubes or cylinders) are thermally welded. This eliminates weak points found in traditional hexagon core structures. Koroyd is very lightweight and provides dampening to the tip and tail of the Q-98 skis which you will notice on groomers and hard pack snow conditions.
In addition to the features mentioned above there is a full feature set listed below, but let’s talk about the specific design of the Q BC Lab Skis first. The Salomon Q BC Lab Skis have dimensions of 140mm in the tip, 114mm under foot and 128mm at the tail, so this is a big ski. Given all this, the Q BC Lab is surprisingly light at just 3600g per pair at 184cm. CFX Laminates, a poplar woodcore, and honeycomb in the tip and tail are what enable Salomon to keep the Q BC Lab even lighter than the much thinner Q105 skis. This lightweight construction allows the Q BC Lab Ski to perform well in the backcountry; it’s fat for powder turns but light for the uptrack…