GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR SKI TRIP TO
(open with MS Word if possible)
GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR SKI TRIP TO
(open with MS Word if possible)
Exciting new changes for the Q Series lineup
For 2016/17 it will be renamed the QST Series and some key changes have garnered glowing early reviews.
1. All models will be slightly wider with the QST-92, 99, 106, and 118
2. All models will have a beefed up carbon/flax core
3. All models will have a Ti metal power platform underfoot
4. All models have the same waist width throughout all lengths and it is the “titled” width. (turning radius will vary between lengths)
5. The QST-106 will have a tighter turn radius at 20m
6. The QST-118 will now have four lengths available
7. Clean new graphics
If there was one knock on the Q Series, it was that on the spectrum between quickness/playfulness on the left, and power/stabilityon the right, they were a bit too far left for some expert skiers. It looks like these latest design tweaks adding carbon/flax and just a little metal were meant to address this issue and move them a bit more to the right.
After using the QST-92, 99, and 106 for a full season, let me share some observations.
The addition of the carbon/flax layer and titanium power plate underfoot, really helped to address a Q Series weakness, which was lack of power and stability. But not too much! Unlike a full metal layered ski, they still totally retain their light and playful character. Also as a bonus, the new graphics are very classy and subdued compared to the Qs.
First the QST-106. My biggest takeaway with this ski is that I really don’t need the QST-118. The floatation is phenomenal for a ski this width and this fact has been noted on some other review sites as well. I had the opportunity to ski the 106 and my old Q-115s back to back in some knee deep untracked. The 106s seemed to float almost as well, felt much more surfy and maneuverable, and made the 115s seem kind of planky. For heli or snowcat trips I’d still go with a true powder board, but for resort pow I think the 106 is as much ski as I’ll ever need.
The QST-99 is a true everyday workhorse. Salomon finally nailed the binding mount point, and the factory recommended line is spot on. A very balanced feel and the ski is amazingly quick edge to edge for a ski this wide. Just the slightest forward pressure into the boot and the skis come alive. This ski is so versatile, it will take you from groomers to bumps to trees to crud to pow and do it all quite well.
The QST-92 is what I call my “Keystone Ski”. When I head over for a day of skiing at Keystone Resort, it’s because I’m yearning for some great long corduroy groomers and bump runs. The narrower waist and tighter turn radius make the 92 the perfect choice. It is a very fun and forgiving ski that’s sweet in the bumps, but still actually handles speed quite impressively for a lightweight non-race style layup. My only complaint is I don’t feel quite as balanced as I’d like and I think moving the bindings forward from the factory line between 1 or 2cm would do the trick. I’ll let you know.
As last season drew to a close, the DSJ Ski Assessment Dept. (SAD), had a chance to check out a lot of gear. One product line particularly impressed us and that would be the Salomon Q Series skis.
For a bit of history, the Q Series was launched for the 2013/14 season. It evolved from the continuing Rocker2 Series with two models being direct descendants. The Q-90 was formerly the Rocker2 92 with a slight tail modification and the Q-115 is he previous Rocker2 115 basically unchanged. The main design modification differentiating the Q Series from the Rocker Series are slightly flatter and stiffer tail profiles for increased directional stability and a more conventional and less surfy twin-tip style turn.
With the success of the Q Series in its first year, Salomon brings back last year’s entire lineup plus three new models for the 2014/15 season. In addition to last year’s Q-90, 98, 105, & 115 which remain unchanged except for new graphics, is the new Q-85 at the narrowest end of the spectrum, the Q-BC LAB, a new backcountry specific design, and the Q-LAB, a beefy new hard charger. All models have catchy new graphics which remain some of the classiest in the business. For 2015/16 all models remain the same except for graphics.
It’s been a long held belief by the entire SAD testing team that expert level skis had to have at least some metal for power and stability. Just like new materials and manufacturing techniques created the torsional stability that led to the wide ski revolution, we may now be witnessing another step forward where lighter materials can replace metal without sacrificing performance. To be sure, these high end skis are light, lively, nimble, responsive, and playful. Simply put, they just put a smile on your face. Get the idea? Not to mention the fact that they may also be some of the most affordable high performance skis on the market!
The Salomon Q or “Quest” Series consists of seven models for 2014/15: the Q-85, 90, 98, 105, 115, Lab, and BC Lab. The numbers coincide with the waist width in millimeters, but only for longest length in each model. To keep the sidecut shape and turning characteristics for each model consistent, the corresponding width is slightly less as the ski gets shorter.
Unless you’re planning to just cruise groomers all day, you may find that your skiing consists mostly of high output bursts punctuated with short rest intervals. To this end, interval training of any kind may have greater crossover benefits than straight strength or endurance sessions. Treadmill sprints, spinning classes, and jump rope work are some good options.
Along these same lines, any weight training should now involve some low weight / high rep sets. When you’re doing those squats, fifty reps with 80lb simulates that bump run much better than ten reps with 200lb. To further simulate skiing motions, use a wider stance (treating both legs as the outside turn leg) and do not allow your knees to lock out at the top affording a brief rest.
Focus on including explosive movements into your routine. Box jump variations (lateral or “Poor Man’s Skiers Edge”) are great ways to accomplish this. True “plyometric” jumps where you jump down off the box, land, and immediately rebound into an upward jump may have the strongest benefits for skiing.
This is non-intuitive, but the next time you are skiing hard such as aggressive GS turns, notice how much time you actually spend statically in the crouched position. As lactic acid builds, the thighs begin to burn and as you lose muscle power you naturally begin to straighten up. So while explosive training is good, static or “isometric” training is equally important. Target the quads by briefly holding the bottom position of a squat on each rep or do isometric wall squats by placing your back against a wall and lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor and your shins are parallel to the wall. Your knees should be bent at 90 degrees. Hold the position for 10-30 seconds and repeat.
Finally, if you have that traditional lifting routine you can’t give up, just spice it up. Between each set do 50 jump ropes instead of resting. You should have over a 1000 by the end of a good workout!
CLICK HERE to see a scientifically thought out approach to a skier specific workout
When it comes to cardio, running is certainly one of the most popular forms of training. While a long leisurely run is therapeutic, it may not help you as much for skiing as some interval sprints. For a great treadmill regimen, set the ramp angle at 1%, set the speed at a fast run (I like about 9 mph / 6.5 min. mile). Run for 35 sec, then jump off onto the sides for a 25 sec rest. Repeat this for 15 minutes. Try it, and then tweak any of the parameters to what works best for you.
DSJ has suggested some good preseason conditioning exercises to include the obvious like spinning, box jumping, and jump roping, but also some lesser known like walking backwards on a treadmill at full ramp angle. Again, we’d like to add something that may help us in the age 40 and over crowd.
Flexibility is actually a hotly debated topic. Some studies have indicated that it may actually lead to more injuries in action sports. Regardless, while being able to do the splits may not do a darn thing to help your skiing, having a full healthy range of motion certainly will.
We all know we get stiffer as we get older and that makes aggressive angulation ever more difficult. We mainly get angulation from our knees and hips. With healthy knee joints, articulation shouldn’t be too compromised as we age, but the hips, and more importantly the lower spine are another story altogether. This area of the body naturally tends to lose flexibility as we age. Any stretching regime for this area should yield noticeable benefits.
A good exercise is standing with a light to medium barbell across the shoulders behind the neck (or dumbells hanging at your sides) and then bending smoothly and deeply to either side. Involve the hip and lower spine weighting the outside leg. This is also a great stretch to include at the top of your first run of the day.
While none of this is likely to make any of us look like this young lady, the closer we can get, the better.
And why does all this really matter? The only reason she can carve such an aggressive turn with her skis at nearly a 90 degree angle is because of her ability to attain an exaggerated banana or “C” shape. If she dropped her upper body in line with her legs, she would collapse to the snow. If she raised her hips to be in line with her upper body she would dramatically decrease the angle of her skis on the snow. It’s all about “center of gravity”, and hers is actually somewhere close to her left hand.
So there yo have it. You don’t necessarily need to be a Gumby, but a banana might be nice. Stay loose my friends!
A note for you senior skiers (sorry, that means all of us 40+). Exercise recovery time increases noticeably as we age. The editorial staff here at DSJ has found that our own recovery time is now greater than 24 hours after a day of extreme exertion. Where this really becomes a problem is when we’re faced with numerous days of straight skiing early in the season and not yet in mid-season condition. Each day we lose a little more ground and tend to become increasingly sore, achy, and weak.
You certainly can’t cheat Mother Nature, but you can be a little sneaky! We’ve found two things help a lot. A good protein shake with glutamine at the end of each ski day and, here’s the kicker, a creatine drink in the morning. Yes, creatine has been around forever, and although known more as a strength and power increasing supplement (which can’t bad for your skiing BTW) it has also been proven to aid in muscle recovery. So much so, that many pro athletes use it to promote faster healing after a muscle injury. It is actually a concentrated form of what’s found in red meat protein.
Creatine has been shown to be safe when used in moderation, but you do have to start using it a couple weeks in advance to reap the full benefits. The latest conventional wisdom is that you shouldn’t bother with fancy mixes, but just straight creatine monohydrate powder which is tasteless and cheap. No pre-loading required, just 5 grams per day, which is the tiny scoop that comes with it. Mix it with anything, even just straight water since it’s tasteless. I wouldn’t suggest using it continually, but it could make a very noticeable early season difference and help keep you at peak levels after that.