Ski: 2017-2018 Blizzard Rustler 11, 188 cm
Available Lengths: 164, 172, 180, 188, 192 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 186.4 cm
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2034 & 2052 grams
Stated Dimensions: 142-114-132 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 141-113-131.5 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius: 21 meters
Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 75 mm / 37 mm
Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~2 mm
- Poplar/Beech/Paulownia/Balsa/ISO (synthetic)
- Titanal Metal
- Fiberglass Laminate
- Carbon Tips/Tails
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -7.8 cm from center; 85.4 cm from tail
Test Locations: Telluride Ski Resort & Arapahoe Basin, CO; Big Sky, MT
Days Skied (Total): 15[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 2017-2018 Rustler 11, which returns unchanged for 2018-2019]
For the 17/18 season, Blizzard is introducing the Rustler 10 and the Rustler 11, and these two skis have already generated a lot of curiosity, buzz, and attention, and for pretty good reason. These two skis effectively replace the Blizzard Peacemaker and Blizzard Gunsmoke, which were both good skis in their own right.
But when you take two skis out of a lineup and replace them with skis of a similar width, the question is inevitable: How similar or different is the Rustler 10 and 11 from the Peacemaker and Gunsmoke (respectively)?
We’ll get to the Rustler 10 later, but here’s what Blizzard has to say about the Rustler 11:
“Blizzard skiers all over the world, from freeride world tour champion Leo Slemett to everyday fun seekers, are now reaching for the all-new Rustler 11 as their go to ski of choice. Carbon Flipcore D.R.T. construction gives them something that is hard to find these days – a playful and forgiving ski that still allows them to shred with confidence and power. Founded on an innovative waist concept: the longer the ski, the wider the waist the Rustler 11 is specifically designed for the individual’s needs. More float, more fun on any terrain, in any conditions. Free to Fun.”
Pretty interesting description, no?
On the one hand, dude won the FWT on this ski. On the other hand, Blizzard uses the word “fun” three times in a single paragraph, along with “forgiving” and “playful.” By contrast — and this probably already jumped out to devotees of the Blizzard Brahma, Bonafide, and Cochise — the word “power” only shows up once.
(Quick aside: a number of companies are — and have been — making their longer skis wider, so no bonus points for Blizzard’s “innovative waist concept.” Furthermore, Blizzard’s website currently shows the exact same tip-waist-tail dimensions for all lengths of the Rustler 11, which sort of undermines all that innovation. But I digress…)
So just how playful vs powerful is this Rustler 11?
Shape / Rocker Profile
Interestingly, I’d say the dimensions of the Rustler 11 make it look pretty mean. I may have complained once or twice on Blister over the years about skis that have too much tip taper. Well, that is definitely not the case with the Rustler 11; those tips and shovels are wide, and sure look like a shape that would encourage you to get all over the shovels and drive the ski hard. (The same could have been said of the Gunsmoke, BTW, and these two skis look quite similar in terms of their tip & shovel shape.)
The tails of the Rustler 11, however, have a bit more taper to them (and more taper than the tails of the Gunsmoke), and mostly just look like a solid shape that should provide adequate support while still being easy to release in deeper snow.
Turning to the rocker profile of the Rustler 11, things quickly start to look less “mean,” and start to look more floaty and fun. Like the Gunsmoke, the Rustler 11 has quite a bit of tip splay (their respective rocker lines are quite deep, and our measurements showed the 186 cm Gunsmoke and 188 cm Rustler 11 to have an identical amount of tip splay (75 mm).
As for their tails, the Rustler 11 has quite a bit less tail splay than the Gunsmoke (37 mm vs. 65 mm), and for more directional skiers, this will probably be a welcome thing — we found that it was pretty easy to wheelie out on landings on the 186 cm Gunsmoke, and the reduced tail rocker of the Rustler 11 should help that cause a bit.
Aside from the difference in tail rocker, the other significant difference in the shape & camber profiles of the Gunsmoke and Rustler 11 is the difference in the amount of camber underfoot — at least when comparing side-by-side our pair of 186 cm Gunsmokes to the 188 Rustler 11; the Gunsmoke easily appears to have an additional 1-2 mm of camber — though we’ve been told that the Rustler 11’s that will be appearing in stores soon might have a touch more camber than the pair we’ve been testing. So we’ll report back on this when we know for sure.
What we can say is that the Gunsmoke was a beautiful carver — just stupid smooth and nice.
By the way, it’s worth noting that, while Blizzard is stressing just how fun and playful the Rustler 11 is, “fun” isn’t necessarily synonymous with “jibby,” and the Rustler 11’s recommended mount point of nearly 8 cm behind center should tip you off to that fact. As should the Rustler 11’s reduced tail rocker profile, and … see our next section…
In front of the Toe Piece: 9-10
Behind the Heel piece: 10-9
Long and short, this ski is stout underfoot and in the middle-third of the ski, while the tips and tails ease up quite a bit. There are no hinge points in the flex pattern, and to a hand flex, no overly-abrupt transitions. It’s a nice flex pattern, and given the context of Blizzard emphasizing how “fun” and “playful” the Rustler 11 is supposed to be, I’d actually call this flex pattern pretty solid.
And when hand flexed and A/B-ed against the Gunsmoke, the Gunsmoke feel equally stiff underfoot, but both its tips and tails are softer than the Rustler 11 — not wildly softer, but noticeably softer. And so for those who aren’t looking for soft, buttery tails — but rather, nice, supportive tails — the Rustler 11 will likely seem like the better fit and should produce less of a wheelie / trap-door effect on landings and / or when you get pushed into the backseat.
The 186 cm Gunsmoke weighed in at 2248 & 2273 grams.
The 188 cm Rustler 11 weighs in at 2034 & 2052 grams.
And so the big question: if you reduce the amount of tail rocker on the Gunsmoke and make the flex pattern a bit stiffer and more progressive … can you build a new ski that’s 200+ grams lighter than the old ski, without sacrificing stability in variable conditions?
To be clear, the Rustler 11 isn’t trying just to be a newer, lighter, Gunsmoke 2.0. But still, there are enough similarities between the two skis that it is a fair question (and probably a question that a bunch of people will have), and it’s a question that can be asked about any number of skis, such as these…
Some Comparisons / Food For Thought
We’ll be publishing our initial on-snow review of the Rustler 11 soon, but for now, here are a number of the skis that we’ve been thinking about w/r/t the Rustler 11:
* 190 cm Line Sick Day 114 – Similar width, similar intended purpose.
* Volkl V-Werks Katana – Granted, we’ve only skied the 184 V-Werks Katana, but the similarities in weight and look and (at least, roughly) construction make this an interesting comparison.
* 188 cm Rossignol Super 7 HD – This maybe isn’t the most obvious comparison, but it’s an interesting one.
* 186 cm ON3P Kartel 116 – Which is the better all-mountain performer, the Kartel or the Rustler?
* 188.4 cm Black Crows Anima – Is the old Gunsmoke the better comparison here, or is the new Rustler 11?
* 186 — or 193 (?) — cm Line Mordecai – This is another ski that puts a big emphasis on fun and playful and forgiving. So how does the Rustler 11 stack up, and which is the more apples-to-apples Mordecai length – the 186 or the 193 – compared to the 188 cm Rustler 11?
* 185 cm Blizzard Cochise – How similar or wildly different is the Rustler from the Cochise? How intrigued should someone that is interested in a slightly-dialed-back Cochise be in the Rustler 11? Very intrigued, or not at all?
Bottom Line (For Now)
Fun, playful, and forgiving, yet powerful enough to win the FWT.
Anyway you look at it, you have to admit that this Rustler 11 sounds quite intriguing.
And we’ll be weighing in soon with our on-snow assessments.
NEXT: The Full Review