2018-2019 Blizzard Rustler 9

Blister reviews the Blizzard Rustler 9

Blizzard Rustler 9

Ski: 2018-2019 Blizzard Rustler 9, 180 cm

Available Lengths: 164, 172, 180, 188 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 178.3 cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1863 & 1894

Stated Dimensions: 127.5-94-117 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 127.2-93.4-116.5 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius: 17 meters

Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 76 mm / 30 mm

Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~2 mm

Core: Poplar/Balsa/Beech/Paulownia/ISO (Synthetic) + Partial Titanal Layer + Carbon Tips / Tails + Fiberglass Laminate

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -7.7 cm from center; 81.4 cm from tail

Intro

For the 18/19 season, Blizzard is expanding their men’s and women’s freeride lines, adding the narrower Rustler 9 and Sheeva 9 to complement the current Rustler 10 & 11 and Sheeva 10 & 11.

We’ve really enjoyed our time on both the Rustler 10 and 11, though for slightly different reasons. The Rustler 10 is a playful, poppy all-mountain ski that excelled at more moderate speeds and while making smaller turns. Meanwhile, the Rustler 11 feels like more of a big-mountain ski that we could push quite hard given its fairly low weight.

So, how does the Rustler 9 compare to its wider siblings, and where does it fit in to the category of ~95mm-underfoot all-mountain skis?

Rocker Profile

All of the Rustler’s have similar-looking rocker profiles, with the widest Rustler 11 having the deepest rocker lines and the most tip and tail splay.

On the other end, the Rustler 9 has considerably shallower rocker lines and a bit less tip and tail splay, which makes sense given that it is a narrower ski and needs to be a bit more firm-snow oriented.

Compared to other skis in this class, however, the Rustler 9 has pretty deep tip and tail rocker lines, and a lot of tip splay. The tail of the Rustler 9 is less splayed out than the Rustler 10 (30 mm vs. 40 mm), but the Rustler 9 still has significantly more tail rocker and tail splay compared to more traditional all-mountain skis like the Blizzard Bonafide or Nordica Enforcer 93.

Flex Pattern

Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Rustler 9:

Tips: 7
Shovels: 7-8
In Front of Toe Piece: 9
Underfoot: 10
Behind Heel Piece: 9-8
Tails: 8-7.5

The flex pattern of the 180 cm Rustler 9 feels extremely similar to that of the 188 cm Rustler 10. Both skis have pretty round flex patterns that smoothly transition from fairly soft tips and tails (though they aren’t noodly) to a strong midsection.

Compared to the Blizzard Brahma and Bonafide, the Rustler 9 is slightly softer in the tips / shovels, and more noticeably softer in the tails.

Sidecut Radius

While we don’t put much stock in stated sidecut radius numbers, it’s worth touching on the Rustler 9’s sidecut radius (17 m for the 180 cm) because of our experience with the Rustler 10.

Even after a detune, the Rustler 10 (19 m radius for the 188 cm) felt pretty limited to small- and medium-radius turns, and felt fairly hooky when trying to make big turns at high speeds. Interestingly, we did not feel like the Rustler 11 (21 m radius for the 188 cm) exhibited any of the same behavior, and we found it to be comfortable making all sorts of turn shapes.

So we’ll be experimenting with the Rustler 9 as we put together our full review to see how it handles a variety of turn shapes and speeds.

Weight

Like the Rustler 10 and 11, the Rustler 9 is fairly light for its size.

But compared to other skis in its class, the Rustler 9 isn’t as comparatively light as the Rustler 10 & 11. This is likely due to the construction differences between the skis. The Rustlers all incorporate a partial sheet of titanal, and the wider the ski, the less titanal is used. (If you look at the skis, you can see that the titanal extends farthest down the ski on the Rustler 9, and is a bit shorter on the Rustler 10 & 11.)

For reference, below are some of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for a few notable skis. Keep in mind the length differences of these skis to keep things more apples-to-apples.

1585 & 1586 Head Kore 93, 180 cm (17/18, 18/19)
1680 & 1707 Line Sick Day 94, 186 cm (17/18, 18/19)
1839 & 1842 Black Crows Orb, 178.3 cm (17/18, 18/19)
1863 & 1894 Blizzard Rustler 9, 180 cm (18/19)
1864 & 1882 Armada Invictus 89Ti, 187 cm (18/19)
1869 & 1894 Atomic Vantage 90 Ti, 184 cm (18/19)
1896 & 1919 Dynastar Legend X96, 186 cm (17/18-18/19)
1920 & 1940 Volkl Kendo, 177 cm (17/18, 18/19)
1931 & 1932 DPS Foundation Cassiar 94, 185 cm (18/19)
1943 & 1968 Liberty VMT 92, 186 cm (18/19)
1950 & 1977 Blizzard Rustler 10, 188 cm (17/18, 18/19)
1966 & 1973 Liberty Origin 96, 187 cm (18/19)
1997 & 2001 Blizzard Brahma, 180 cm (17/18, 18/19)
2049 & 2065 Volkl Mantra M5, 177 cm (18/19)
2053 & 2057 Atomic Vantage 97 Ti, 188 cm (18/19)
2062 & 2063 Rossignol Experience 94 Ti, 187 cm (18/19)
2114 & 2133 Nordica Enforcer 93, 185 cm (17/18, 18/19)
2115 & 2149 J Skis Masterblaster, 181 cm (17/18, 18/19)
2124 & 2137 Blizzard Bonafide, 180 cm (17/18, 18/19)
2171 & 2176 Head Monster 88, 184 cm (18/19)

This list is pretty wild, mostly because of the huge number of skis that are coming in well under 2000 g per ski. The times they are a changin’.

One other thing to note is that the 180 cm, 98mm-wide Blizzard Bonafide — which is the direct counterpart to the 180 cm, 94mm-wide Rustler 9 — is more than half-a-pound heavier per ski. And since we suspect that quite a few people will be wondering whether they ought to go Bonafide or go Rustler 9, now would be a good time for you to decide whether you’re more in the “I like weight” camp or the “I prefer light” camp.

Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About

(1) Blizzard makes a few all-mountain skis in the 88-100mm range, so we’re curious to see how different or similar the 88mm-wide Brahma, the 94mm-wide Rustler 9, and the 98mm-wide Bonafide all feel, and which skiers will get along best with each of them.

(2) As we noted above, the Rustler 10 felt most comfortable when making small- or medium-radius turns, so how will the Rustler 9 feel when it comes to making different turn shapes?

(3) The Rustler line is designed to be a bit more playful than Blizzard’s “all-mountain freeride” line (e.g., Brahma, Bonafide, Cochise, & Bodacious), so just how playful will the Rustler 9 feel? And how much will that playfulness come at the cost of some stability on firm snow?

Bottom Line (For Now)

The Blizzard Rustler 9 looks to bring more firm-snow performance to the Rustler lineup. By the specs, it seems like the Rustler 9 should share the same playful feel of the other Rustler skis while doing a bit better on days when it hasn’t snowed in a while.

We’ve now spent some initial time on the Rustler 9, and Blister Members can check out our Flash Review using the link below. As we prepare our full review, let us know about any questions you’d like to see us address in our full review.

Flash Review: Blizzard Rustler 9

Blister members can now read our initial on-snow impressions in our Flash Review of the Rustler 9.

(Learn more about Blister member benefits, and become a Blister member)

Deep Dive Comparisons: Blizzard Rustler 9

Become a Blister Member or Deep Dive subscriber and check out our Deep Dive of the Rustler 9 to see how it stacks up against the Blizzard Bonafide & Brahma, Volkl Mantra M5, Black Crows Orb, Atomic Bent Chetler 100, K2 Pinnacle 95, and more…

NEXT: ROCKER PROFILE PICS

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