2017-2018 Blizzard Rustler 10

Update 1.10.18

I’ve got a few more days on the Rustler 10, and I can now address a few of the questions we had after using the ski in warm, soft, spring conditions at A-Basin last year.

The one characteristic of the Rustler 10 that continues to stand out is how much it prefers to be turning / on edge. I’ll talk about the Rustler 10’s performance in different conditions, but the ski’s eagerness to turn was what I noticed most across all conditions.

Smooth, Firm Conditions

On fairly smooth and firm snow (e.g. off-piste chalk or good groomers), the Rustler 10 felt poppy, energetic, and provided good edgehold — as long as I was making shorter turns (a caveat that applies to pretty much everything I’ll say about the Rustler 10).

The front of the ski feels very accessible, and at ~155 lbs, I can easily bend the ski into turns, even at slower speeds. Despite being fairly soft, I didn’t feel like the tips / shovels of the Rustler 10 were holding the ski back in terms of high-speed stability (I never felt like the ski was folding up in smooth conditions).

Luke Koppa reviews the Blizzard Rustler 10 for Blister

Luke Koppa on the Blizzard Rustler 10, Lake Louise Ski Resort. (photo by Chris Fuller).

The ski just prefers to turn, so when attempting to ski the Rustler 10 fairly straight at high speeds, it feels twitchy / hooky. However, when making shorter turns (and therefore skiing at slower speeds), I was perfectly happy with the Rustler 10’s stability on fairly smooth snow.

The Rustler 10’s tails are noticeably stiffer than the shovels, and the tails feel very supportive and provide a lot of energy out of each turn. I don’t ski many skis designed specifically to rip groomers, but I can say that I had an absolute blast on the Rustler 10 carving deep, tight turns on clean groomers. As long as you are ok with making shorter turns and aren’t skiing a lot of sheer ice (the one type of snow where (unsurprisingly) I have found the Rustler 10 lacking in edgehold), I think a lot of people will be very happy with the Rustler 10’s performance on smooth, firm snow.

Variable Conditions

When making shorter turns on the Rustler 10 on smooth snow, I never really found myself wishing for more stability. However, when the snow got a bit more bumped up or the conditions were more variable, I noticed the fairly low weight of the ski, and could feel it getting knocked around. This is yet another area where the ski felt much more comfortable so long as I was putting it on edge and skiing with a more active style.

Moguls

In lower-angle and more spaced-out bumps, the Rustler 10 is a lot of fun, since it is quite maneuverable and the ski allows you to easily pop from one mogul to another.

But in steep, tall, and firm moguls, I felt like the sidecut of the Rustler 10 was fighting me. Despite the playful rocker profile, I had trouble pivoting / slarving through the trenches (my preferred technique in moguls) and the ski felt a bit hooky.

However, if you prefer to carve through moguls, this will likely be less of an issue, though the softer shovels might not provide all the support you might want if you really like to drive / stuff the tips of your skis hard into troughs.

It’s also worth noting that Kara Williard really likes the 180 cm Rustler 10 in moguls, and she describes her approach to moguls as “a bit deliberate and slowed down, with a lot of emphasis on carvy and fluid turns.” Additionally, she said “the majority of the bumps I’ve skied it on so far have been spaced out and on a steep pitch, so keeping to that type of shorter turns on the 180 cm length translated to a really energetic and playful experience.”

Moguls are the main area that has made me think more about the question of length with the Rustler 10. Though it’s pretty light and maneuverable, the 188 cm version of the ski still feels a bit long in bumps, and those big, not-very-tapered tips are noticeable when swinging the ski around. And since the 188 cm version doesn’t provide a ton of high-speed stability (mostly due to its preference for shorter turns), I’d personally probably opt for the 180 cm Rustler 10. I haven’t skied the 180 cm, but Kara’s notes about the ski make me think that the 180 cm version would provide a similar level of stability while being more manageable in moguls. (Longer skis don’t always equate to more stable skis — see our recent review of the 193 cm Line Mordecai vs. the 186 cm Mordecai.)

Powder

I haven’t skied the Rustler 10 in really deep snow, but in 8” of clean, fairly dense powder, the ski basically performed as expected — it preferred shorter turns, and its softer tips seemed to plane well. It was easy to break the tails free and slash, but it didn’t really hold a slarved turn / powerslide — after slashing it sideways, the ski felt like it wanted to lock back into a turn.

Luke Koppa on the Blizzard Rustler 10, Sunshine Village Ski Resort. (photo by Chris Fuller).

Chop

In the fairly shallow chop I’ve skied it in, the Rustler 10 exhibited more hookiness than it did on smoother snow, and I again noticed the ski’s low weight when trying to ski through chop at speed. This can be slightly mitigated by putting the ski on edge (which is very easy to do and feels intuitive), but then the ski’s fairly soft shovels and low weight come into play, and it does not plow through chop with ease. So, while the ski does fairly well in clean powder, it’s performance in chop makes it less ideal for resorts where “powder days” turn to “chop days” quite quickly.

Stance — Forward vs. Centered

In general, I found the Rustler 10 to be pretty versatile when it comes to skiing with a more centered stance as opposed to a more forward stance. At higher speeds, driving the front of the ski feels more natural and helps keep it a bit more composed. But at lower speeds, I found that it didn’t matter all that much if I was really concentrating on skiing with a ton of pressure on my shins. Though I haven’t felt like I folded the tips, I think heavier skiers (especially those who really like to get forward) may be left wishing for more support out of the shovels, especially considering that I’m around 155 lbs and have been skiing the Rustler 10 in its longest length.

Luke Koppa on the Blizzard Rustler 10, Sunshine Village Ski Resort. (photo by Chris Fuller).

The Rustler 10’s tails are supportive without being punishing, and they’ll help you out when you get backseat. The supportive-yet-forgiving tails are one of the main characteristics that I think makes the Rustler 10 well suited for beginner and intermediate skiers that want a ski they can grow into.

Mount Point

I like the Rustler 10 at its recommended mount of -7.25 cm, and after experimenting with the bindings +1 cm and -1 cm of the recommended line, I haven’t noticed a major difference. I can’t say that I found the ski to be more stable with the bindings 1 cm behind recommended since the ski’s stability at speed is limited more by its eagerness to turn, rather than the dampness of the front of the ski. At +1 cm from recommended, the ski felt a touch more playful, but this was very minor.

Is It a 50/50 Ski?

At ~1950 g in the 188 cm, the Rustler 10 is fairly light, and it’s therefore worth commenting on it as a 50/50 or backcountry ski. Though I’m happy to tour on skis in this weight range, the Rustler 10 wouldn’t be my first choice as a backcountry ski because of its hooky nature in variable conditions. For a backcountry ski, I prefer something that remains predictable in variable snow (e.g. rain crusts, wind slabs, etc.) that one often encounters outside the resort.

However, if you’re only going to be touring for fresh powder or spring corn, then the Rustler 10 could be a good option.

Who’s It For?

If you enjoy making shorter turns and are looking for an energetic, playful ski that handles most conditions pretty well, I think you will like the Rustler 10. On the other hand, if you prefer bulldozers — skis that offer maximum stability, prefer to make long turns, and excel at plowing through variable snow, then the Rustler 10 probably isn’t the ski for you. But ski with a lighter touch and a more active, dynamic style, however, and the Rustler 10 could be a match — and this is one time where we wouldn’t necessarily be quick to recommend bumping up in size; keeping things light and quick seem to play to the tendencies of the Rustler 10.

Bottom Line

We think Blizzard’s description of the Rustler 10 as a “ski of choice for those looking to have fun while pushing themselves to ski better” is pretty accurate. It’s forgiving and playful while remaining pretty stable at moderate speeds, and it welcomes strong technique, but doesn’t demand it.

NEXT: Rocker Profile Pics

17 Comments

  1. Blister Member
    JohnnyG December 13, 2017 Reply

    Apart from being lighter than the Enforcer 100, how else would you compare these two skis? I like big, fast, carvy turns, and am about Jonathan’s size, albeit an inch taller. I ski in the east, and am looking for something for days when we get 4-12+ inches.

    My current 97mm skis are some G3 Infidels which are quite damp, I’d like something livelier with a bit of dampness.

    • I mean, as I note in my review, I personally didn’t find this ski’s strength to be “big, fast, carvy turns” — certainly not while skiing off-piste terrain. So to be honest, at no point did I think of the Enforcer 100 at all, and I don’t think the Rustler 10 could be described as a similar to the Enforcer 100, just lighter. As I note in my Enforcer 100 review, that ski is pretty comfortable making both shorter turns at moderate speeds as well as big, fast turns. (It isn’t the best at either, but few skis do both so well.) Again, you should certainly take into account Luke, Kara’s, and Sam’s takes on this ski, but I’m not sure that Sam or I would say that the Rustler 10 is obviously the ski you’re looking for?

  2. Ola December 15, 2017 Reply

    Given the (unexpected and somewhat disappointing) experience you had on these, my first thought probably should have been to move the bindings back a bit, say 1-2 cm. Did you ever try them with different binding positions, and if so, what were your findings?

    • Luke Koppa Author
      Luke Koppa December 17, 2017 Reply

      Hi Ola,

      We did not get a chance to try them with different binding positions, but that’s something we’ll definitely be experimenting with this season, and will report back when we can comment on how the Rustler 10 feels at different mount points.

      – Luke

      • Ola December 18, 2017 Reply

        Thanks Luke, I’d appreciate that!

  3. Jeff December 18, 2017 Reply

    Dear Blister team,

    I’d like to know your opinion about two different skis I’m looking at.There’s the Blizzard Rustler 10 in 172cm and the Salomon QST 99 in 174cm.
    I’m skiing in Quebec, than will start to go ski at Jay Peak this year and we are planning a trip out west in a year or 2.
    My main ski actually is a Atomic Redster Double Deck 3.0 SL in 159cm. I have to say that I’m not good in the woods (glades) and in moguls.
    I want to have a ski that will bring a lot of pleasure and that will help me grow into what I’m not good. It’s sure I would like one that can hold on hard surface too.
    You can give me your own suggestion.

    Best Regards

    • Jeff December 18, 2017 Reply

      I have forget to give you my height and weight: 5’8” and 155 lbs.

  4. Blister Member
    tjaard December 20, 2017 Reply

    Which length were you testing? Was Kara on the 180? Was everyone on the 188?

    • Luke Koppa Author
      Luke Koppa December 20, 2017 Reply

      Hi tjaard,

      Jonathan, Sam, and I skied the 188 cm (and we’ll continue to test that length). And Kara was on the 180 cm version.

  5. Eric K January 12, 2018 Reply

    I have about 25 days on this ski and I agree 100% with the review.

    These skis are fun, but they don’t make me feel very confident at long high speed turns. I find myself making quicker turns and changing my ski style to fit this ski.

    Great ski, but I wish I would have gone with the Enforcers as it fits my ski stlye a little bit more.

  6. Andreas Ulvær January 13, 2018 Reply

    Thanks for a great review! I am looking for a 100-105 mm underfoot touring ski in that weight range and was looking at the Rustler 10 at a shop today. I am fairly advanced, but my skiing style is still playful and I like a poppy tail. I ski a Liberty GPO 116 mm underfoot on deeper days (and the lighter G3 Synapse 101 for longer spring days), so I was a bit disappointed when you say the Rustler 10 is hooky in variable conditions. What ski would you recommend for me that is still playful and has a poppy tail, but also is more stable in variable out of bounds conditions and through backcountry wind slabs?

    • Luke Koppa Author
      Luke Koppa January 15, 2018 Reply

      Hi Andreas,

      That’s a good question, and it sounds like you and I are searching for a similar ski! Unfortunately, I have yet to ski something that really fits that description.

      That said, I’d recommend taking a look at Jonathan Ellsworth’s reviews of the Faction Candide 3.0 and Black Crows Atris. I haven’t spent much time on those skis, but from what Jonathan says, I think they’d be less hooky in variable, are quite poppy / playful, and are still reasonably light.

      I’m also just starting to get time on the 182 cm Atomic Backland FR 109, and have high hopes for that ski, so stay tuned for an update on that.

      Cheers,

      Luke

      • Andreas January 15, 2018 Reply

        Thanks for a quick reply. Yeah, I have been looking av the CT3.0, but would prefer something less wide, as I have the 116 for deeper days. I am also afraid it is “too much” a freeride ski, and not as playful as I prefer (i am only 5’9”/145 lbs). Same for Atris. I also looked at the CT2.0, but I am afraid it is too much a park ski and thus too weak on edge on hard pack bc. I have also looked at the Black Crows Navis, but think it is too stiff in the tail, and has a too long set back for my preference.
        It is of course difficult to find something with the perfect balance between stability and playfulness… I will try the Rustler 10 next weekend, and hope it suits me ok with my weight and skiing style. If not I have to continue the search…

        • Claus February 13, 2018 Reply

          Hey Andreas

          How was it?
          I was looking to buy the Rustler 10 and put Salomon Shift on it, and use it for touring aswell. Your skiing description sounds pretty similar to how I ski :) And can you recommend it for someone who wants to play all over the mountain, with touring as an option.

          Was it a nice fun ski?

          • Andreas February 13, 2018 Reply

            I didn’t like it at all. It was very soft and forgiving, so much that I felt it really didn’t “give me anything”. It felt like a very cheap ski. I went for Armada Tracer 98, a bit more demanding. I also tried the Salomon qst99, which I really liked.

  7. le fab January 15, 2018 Reply

    hi
    thanks for review
    I am looking for a ~100 mm underfoot one quiver telemark (to replace my scott venture 188, now not enouth powerfull for me anymore)
    I am 210 lbs and 6.2″

    bonafide 187 seem too much heavy (and stiff maybe), so i was thinking about rustler 10 188
    i prefere big turn but telemark turn are not big as alpine ski turns ;) (I am riding cochise 185 2014 when “locked heel”)
    rebound is also important
    and I am riding “french east coast” ;)

    is it a stupid idea ?

    Fabien@sorryformyenglish ;)

    • Luke Koppa Author
      Luke Koppa January 15, 2018 Reply

      Hi Fabien,

      Unfortunately I cannot offer much advice for telemark skis as I’m only experienced with “locked heel” skis, but compared to the Bonafide and Cochise, I think you’ll find the Rustler 10 pretty different (poppier, less damp, less stable at high speeds, and definitely more small-turn oriented).

      I don’t know much about the Scott Venture, but “powerful” isn’t the word I’d be inclined to use to describe the Rustler 10. I’d call it “playful”, “snappy”, and “energetic” before calling it “powerful”

      Hope that might help a bit.

      Cheers,

      Luke

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