Review: 2024 Salomon QST Echo 106
Finally, a QST model specifically designed for backcountry adventures
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This article was first published by SkiMag.com.
At a Glance
- Brand: Salomon
- Model: QST Echo 106
- Strengths: Playfulness, Forgiveness
- Weaknesses: Flotation
- Gender: Unisex
- Level: Intermediate to Expert
- Tip/Waist/Tail (mm): 139-106-126
- Lengths (cm): 157, 165, 173, 181, 189
- Radius (m): 19 (181 cm)
- Waist Width (mm): 104
- Weight (per ski in grams): 1,760 (181)
- Flotation: 8.67/10
- Stability at Speed: 8.67/10
- Quickness/Maneuverability: 9.33/10
- Playfulness: 9/10
- Forgiveness: 9.33/10
- Crud Performance: 8.33/10
- Versatility: 10/10
- Responsiveness: 9.33/10
Salomon’s QST line has held the trust of skiers for years, encompassing the popular QST Blank and the QST 106, 98, and 92. Known for their energy, playfulness, and solid feel in variable conditions, the QST skis have an uncanny ability to please pros like Cody Townsend as well as us mere mortals.
While plenty of folks have been mounting touring bindings on the QST skis, what was missing from this evergreen lineup was a dedicated backcountry ski. That’s where the brand-new QST Echo 106 comes in. This model shares the shape and profile of the all-mountain QST 106, but with a lightened-up construction (200 grams per ski) that’s spry on the skintrack while maintaining an impressively quiet feel through variable snow in the backcountry. “This is your daily driver,” said Jackson Hole, Wyoming-based tester Max Ritter, a 6-foot-tall expert skier. “Floats in pow, nimble in tight trees and couloirs, but reliable and solid when it comes time to open up the throttle and ski fast through chunky snow.”
Salomon ditched the Titanal with the Echo, opting for a lightweight and responsive caruba-and-poplar wood core with basalt fibers that bump up stiffness. The 106-millimeter waist and wide 139-millimeter shovel floated effortlessly through deep snow, but were narrow enough to get on edge and navigate firm conditions as well. What testers found most striking about this ski was its ability to stay muted and composed in variable snow, thanks to Salomon’s signature cork damplifier in the tip and tail. “No chatter at all—it’s literally silent,” said 5-foot-8 expert skier Lily Krass after a long day of couloir hunting in Wyoming’s Tetons. “Really impressed with the fact that this ski is somehow damp and stable but also so energetic.”
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Testers agreed that the lightened-up construction made the QST Echo 106 feel significantly livelier than the QST 106, touting the benefits of the lower swing weight for confined couloirs where you need to get your skis around quickly. “If I were to choose one ski to have as a backcountry ski, this would be the one,” commented 5-foot-11 expert freeride skier Kyle Fowler, who took the QST Echo 106 out on early morning Teton Pass laps as well as long slogs in Grand Teton National Park. “Having ridden all the generations of the QSTs, this one is by far the best.”
A few testers noted that they found the mount point to be a little farther back than they preferred, which could be solved easily by a +1 or +2 mount. Some missed a mid 180-centimeter length, noting that sizing down to a 181 felt occasionally twitchy.
The medley of playfulness and forgiveness makes this ski approachable for intermediate skiers, as does the large size run that starts at a 157. It’s a ski that can handle the heat when you rip fast turns down big faces, but it’s happy to bounce around in the trees when you want to pump the brakes.
“Honestly, this is one of the most well-rounded touring skis I’ve ever been on,” added Ritter. “Jack of all trades.”