Jonathan Ellsworth (5’10”, 175 lbs)
Before I clicked into the Rustler 10, I didn’t have too many notions about how it would perform on snow (I hadn’t seen any of the marketing copy from Blizzard on how they were positioning the 10). I mostly just thought that it was a pretty good-looking ski, and I liked the fact that neither the 10 nor the Rustler 11 seemed to be overly tapered at the tips and tails. And given that we were testing the 188 cm Rustler 10, I guess I did figure that this would be a pretty good option for skiing hard and fast in the open, mini-moguled terrain of A-Basin.
But after several head-scratching runs where this pretty-long Rustler 10 didn’t feel inclined to open things up in bigger, faster turns, I began to slow things down a bit and focus more on making quicker, shorter turns. And that proved to be the right call. And it makes me wonder whether the shorter lengths of this ski might feel like a bit of a better match — i.e., the more you are someone who loves the sound of a light, quick ski and you prefer to make more turns as opposed to fewer turns, then the better match I think you’ll be with the Rustler 10. As evidence, Luke Koppa’s and Kara Williard’s comments below.
(Potentially interesting side note: I love the 16/17 180 cm Blizzard Bonafide — it’s one of my all-time favorite skis. And the 188 cm Rustler 10 is definitely not for me. But Kara loves the 173 cm Bonafide … and also loves the 180 cm Rustler 10. So keep that in mind. But Kara describes her skiing style quite well in her ski-quiver selections, so if you’ve read those, I think it makes sense why she clicks better with the Rustler 10 than I do.)
Point is, if you are someone who loves the top end of the Bonafide and how stable it remains when making big, fast turns, and likes the thought that the Rustler 10 might basically just be a lighter-weight Bonafide … I’d say you’re out of luck. On back-to-back runs, I found that the 186 cm Line Sick Day 104 felt much more comfortable making large, fast turns than the Rustler 10 (which is saying something, given that the Sick Day 104 is also lighter than the Rustler 10). But the Rustler 10 has more sidecut, and while sidecut numbers can be pretty misleading, the Rustler 10 felt (to all of us) more comfortable being pulled into tighter turn shapes. That’s neither a good thing nor a bad thing, it just depends on your approach.
Sam Shaheen (5’10”, 140 lbs)
Sometimes you get on a new ski and a few turns in you’re thinking, “Let’s open it up and see what this thing can do.” That is not how I felt on the Rustler 10.
A few turns in, I was cranking out tight, quick carves; I was driving the ski, but not skiing overly hard. The Rustler 10 feels instantly lively, snappy, and intuitive. It’s easy to ski. It likes to be driven, but forgives mistakes, too.
At moderate speeds, this ski has a playful but directional feel. It has lots of energy and is quite light, which, coupled with its tighter sidecut, lends itself to short-radius turns. It doesn’t require a strong touch to initiate a turn, but it maintained decent edge-hold in the soft conditions given its softer flex and light weight.
For a beginner, intermediate, or lighter-weight advanced skier, I think the Rustler 10 is going to be a fun ski that you can grow your skills with. It rewards good skiing technique, but it doesn’t demand it. The Rustler 10 is just plain fun — easy, snappy, fun. It isn’t a charger with a huge top end, that’s for sure, but it is a ski that left a smile on my face at the end of each run.
If you’re a bigger or more aggressive skier, you’ll likely find the Rustler 10 easy to overpower. It isn’t stiff, heavy, or particularly damp.
That said, I think many skiers will find the Rustler 10 to be a great fit for them. Most of us aren’t ex-World-Cup racers who demand the stiffest, most precise ski. Instead, most of us want to keep improving our skiing and have a good time while doing it. And that’s what Blizzard seems to have built this ski for.
Kara Williard (5’9″, 145 lbs)
When we were doing our one-ski quiver selections, the 180 cm Rustler 10 was my top pick. As Jonathan noted, I prefer to make quick, fall-line turns, and tend to make quite a few more small turns than most of the guys I ski with. I have no opposition to the many long bump runs at Taos, and I often find myself lapping these when it hasn’t snowed in a while. The 180 cm Rustler 10 is a blast in the bumps, with a very responsive and forgiving feel.
So far, I’ve found the Rustler 10 to be an adaptable, versatile ski that gives me everything I’m looking for, and (given how I generally prefer to ski), I don’t find it to have a major weakness in any area. And while Jonathan would prefer to tour on the Line Sick Day 104, I personally wouldn’t hesitate to put a touring binding on the 10.
As for the Rustler 10’s firm-snow performance, I was just skiing it this past week, and no question, I would have taken the heavier Bonafide or the Nordica Enforcer 100 on the firm, early-season snow. When I really leaned the skis over and opened up higher edge angles, the Rustler 10 still didn’t hold like the Bonafide, but once on edge, I found the ski to feel fairly stable and smooth.
And re: the Bonafide vs. Rustler 10, there’s no doubt that the Bonafide is an entirely different ski — I’ve spent the last two seasons on the Bonafide and am definitely a fan. But it satisfies a different aspect of skiing. I love the Rustler 10 for making quick turns and skiing in moguls. The Rustler 10 is more playful than the Bonafide, and I’d definitely take the Rustler 10 over the Bonafide for a one-ski quiver.
I wasn’t really looking for or expecting the Rustler 10 to be the best on groomers, and on steeps, I tend to slow down and make a lot of smaller turns anyway, which plays to the strengths of the 10.
So put all of that together, and for me, the Rustler 10 really functions well as a 1-ski quiver to cover it all.
Luke Koppa (5’8″, 155 lbs)
I’ve only skied the Rustler 10 so far in very soft conditions, so my biggest remaining questions revolve around how the ski performs when things get firm. (Which I should be addressing soon, should winter ever decide to arrive…)
That said, in forgiving spring conditions, I got along very well with the Rustler 10. For reference, I tend to prefer more forgiving skis than Sam and Jonathan, and definitely prioritize playfulness over flat-out stability.
Like Sam, I found the Rustler 10 to be very snappy and energetic. At lower speeds, I was able to ski it with a more neutral stance, but once I got up to speed, I felt like I needed to drive the front of the ski a bit more to keep it composed (note: I’ll be playing around with the mount point this season to examine this further). Despite its significant tip and tail rocker, I wouldn’t say the Rustler 10 felt “surfy” — it seemed like it wanted to stay on edge rather than slash or straight-line.
Though it could certainly be a result of the soft conditions, I personally thought that the Rustler 10 actually did feel fairly damp around the middle of the ski. The softer tips definitely didn’t plow through choppy snow, but I remember thinking that the Rustler 10 had a pretty solid platform through the middle ~third of the ski. Interestingly enough, that’s pretty much where the partial sheet of titanal spans the whole width of the ski. I’m still very hesitant to make anything of this yet, but I’m interested to see if I have a similar experience on firmer snow.
Compared to the Faction Prodigy 2.0, the Rustler 10 felt more stable, more energetic, and its tips felt more supportive, all while being nearly as intuitive and easy as the Prodigy 2.0.
I also got a couple laps on the Faction Candide 3.0 at A-Basin, and thought it felt more comfortable making faster, longer turns than the Rustler 10. The Candide 3.0 also felt noticeably more like a “freestyle” ski compared to the Rustler 10 — though the Candide 3.0 is fairly stiff, its flex felt more symmetrical than the Rustler 10, and I noticed that when using the tails to pop off smaller features.
Though I haven’t been on the Line Sick Day 104, I have spent several days on the Sick Day 114, and that ski is noticeably more stable and less energetic than the 188 cm Rustler 10 — especially if you’re comparing it to the 190 cm Sick Day 114.
Bottom Line (For Now)
Blizzard says that the Rustler 10 is the “ski of choice for those looking to have fun while pushing themselves to ski better and explore all corners of the hill in any snow conditions.” While we would like to get more time on the ski to attest to the “all corners of the hill in any snow conditions” part of that statement, it looks like the rest of Blizzard’s description is pretty accurate.
If you’re looking for a ski to charge on at high speeds, this isn’t it. But if you instead like to make shorter, snappier turns and are looking for a playful, intuitive ski that you should be able to grow and learn with, the Rustler 10 could be a good option.
We’ll be updating this review as we get more time on the ski, and you can now check out our update on how the ski performs in a broader range of conditions.
NEXT: Update 1.10.18