Advanced+ level all-mountain skier Heyman's rating of this ski:
Considering his skiers profile:
en-US - * - 4296
"A solid backside all-mountain ski is as strong on-piste as it is off-piste. It is made to perform well everywhere within the resort bounderies. Stiff enough to remain stable at top speed, flexible enough for comfort and floatation in powder snow."
The Salomon Q-85 has a very flexible tip, the widest point brought far back. That gives the ski an amazing amount of float considering its width. And because the long rocker makes turning easy, the Q-85 excels both in powder and chopped up snow. On-piste the Q-85 is playful and has lots of edge grip, but has its limitations as well. This is not a ski for mach 2 speed. Certainly not in poor circumstances as the shovel front gets hit hard by bumps and loose snow. Very tiring on the upper legs, I can tell you.
All-mountain, freeride, both?
Salomon has renamed the Q-series as "all-mountain backside", which must be something in between all-mountain and freeride. And that's exactly the kind of ski the Salomon Q-85 is. Narrow enough for a pretty quick edge switch, short radius for maneuverability and a flexible tip for floatation. So intermediate and advanced skiers who want a ski for the whole mountain and don't feel the constant need for extreme speed, will like the Salomon Q-85 very much.
Salomon about the Q-85
"On-piste confidence and access to new terrain. The Q-85 is a rock solid carver on the frontside of the mountain with the added maneuverability of Utility Rocker to access fresh snow and new terrain on the backside.", says Salomon. But this is not a "rock solid carver on the frontside". The flexible tip vibrates too much, which is not that disturbing but certainly not rock solid. But the Q-85 is very good on the backside of the mountain though.