2018-2019 Blizzard Rustler 10

On-Snow Performance

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.

Luke Koppa, Sam Shaheen, and Jonathan Ellsworth review the Blizzard Rustler 10 for Blister
Sam Shaheen on the Blizzard Rustler 10.

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.

Luke Koppa, Sam Shaheen, and Jonathan Ellsworth review the Blizzard Rustler 10 for Blister
Luke Koppa on the Blizzard Rustler 10. (note: No Broncos fans were harmed during our review)

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

30 comments on “2018-2019 Blizzard Rustler 10”

  1. 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. 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?

    • 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

        • Hi, thanks for the great review I demoed this a few weeks ago in Crested Butte in the 188 length and there was a lot I liked about them, the swing weight made tight turns and jump turns super easy. For as light as they are, they felt stable and solid in poor conditions when making short turns as described. I liked how you could drive them off the tips. However, the tails felt sort of sluggish, excessive and seemed to get in the way, I found myself wishing the tails were somehow different. I’m a directional skier so I’m really curious also if moving the binding back on the ski would change things for the better.

          And, on paper at least, they have some similarities to the Atomic Vantage 100 CTI, have you done a comparison of these two skis?

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

    • 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

      • 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…

        • 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?

          • 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.

  6. 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 ;)

    • 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

  7. Hi friends,

    I’ve been skiing on Blizzard Peacemakers for a few years now. I like it, but I could use a little bit more power in cut up snow. I had heard the Rustler 10 was a bit stiffer than the Peacemaker.

    What would you recommend in the 100-110 for a more powerful ski than the Rustler without entering into “Full-On–Charger” territory.

  8. Hey guys,

    Very insightful and well done review, thanks!

    I’m looking for advice on whether I should get the 172 or 180 Rustler 10’s. I’m 171cm tall and weight 154 pounds.

    What I most enjoy about skiing is moguls, trees and hitting some steep chutes / terrain. Given this, I’m leaning towards the 172, but would love to hear your opinion.

    My current quiver is a 175 masterblaster, but I’m planning switching it for the Rustler 10. Any thoughts here? I ski on Colorado, Tahoe and Whistler.

    Best,
    Mario

    • Hi Mario,

      Are you happy with the 175 cm Masterblaster? If so, I think the 180 cm Rustler 10 might be the better choice. The Rustler 10 has significantly more tip and tail rocker compared to the Masterblaster (i.e. the Rustler 10 has less effective edge), and it’s also lighter and a more forgiving / easy ski overall, so I don’t think you’ll have much trouble with the extra 5 cm’s.

      That said, if what you’re really looking for is a more maneuverable / easier ski in tight spaces than the Masterblaster, than the 172 cm Rustler 10 would definitely fill that role. But I would not expect the same level of stability out of the Rustler 10, and I think you might find them a bit short if you tend to drive the shovels of your skis.

      Hope that helps.

      Cheers,

      Luke

      • Hey Luke! Thanks so much for the prompt reply! I’m actually quite happy with my 175 masterblasters, so I think the 180s would be the best choice then!

        I was doing some night thinking last night and decided that I want a 2 ski quiver. One for every day charging (I love bumps, trees and hitting steeps and cliffs) that may handle the occasional powder days, while the other one to be a more jibby and all around playful ski.

        For the every-day weapon I was thinking on the Masterblaster I currently own, or switch it to the Rustler 10, Bonafide or Cochise. Any thoughts here? Would love your recommendation!

        For the “playful” ski, I was considering the armada arv86.

        My skiing style is shorter and quicker turns rather than big long GS turns.

        Thanks Luke!!
        Mario

        • Hey Mario,

          If you want to “charge” I’d probably stick with the Masterblaster, or if you want a more traditional ski, check out the Bonafide / Cochise. I’d describe the Rustler 10 as “forgiving,” “playful,” and “energetic” before I’d call it “chargy.”

          So in your potential 2-ski quiver, I think it’d make sense to keep the Masterblaster for your charging ski, and then the ARV 86 sounds like a fun, playful ski for more relaxed days. And FWIW, I would put the Rustler 10 more in your second category of playful / fun skis.

          Cheers,

          Luke

          • Luke, you are the absolute best, thanks!! And besides, just saved me a ton of money, because now I’ll stick with my masterblasters instead of buying a new bonafides / cochise hahaha.

            Sorry for spamming, but I promise is the very last last question. For the more playful ski, I’m between the armada arv86 or the faction candide 1.0. Can you advice me on here?

            Again, thanks a lot for your help and super prompt support!!

            Best,
            Mario

            • Unfortunately I have not had the chance to use either of those skis, so I can’t offer any direct advice. But with their nearly symmetrical shapes, touch of tip / tail rocker, and twinned tails, I can only imagine that both would be very playful, and would offer a noticeably different ride compared to the Masterblaster. Sorry I can’t provide any first-person advice.

              Cheers,
              Luke

  9. I am looking for a replacement for my 2012 Rossi S7’s, 178mm. I really loved these skis in varied conditions and even found them fun on hard snow as long as I really got them on edge. They unexpectedly became my go to ski for everyday when skiing whistler/Blackcomb.
    When skiing in the east I have a pair of 160mm Atomic Redster D2 SL, which I also love for, obviously, different reasons.
    Last season I spent a few hours on two separate days on a pair of 180mm Rustler 10’s, thought they were great. Felt as versatile as my S7s, but with better stability. Carved well when on edge, but could easily slarve out my turns when needed. To me, they felt solid, and predictable in varied conditions, capable of handling the two seasons in one run that you get on the west coast.
    Any other recommendations to look at this season?
    I am 5’5” 130lb, aggressive expert skier.
    Thanks.
    Joe.

    • Hi, Joe

      If you liked the Rustler 10’s when you demo’d them, then I think they’d be a safe bet. The Rustler 10 comes back unchanged for 18/19 apart from graphics, so the 18/19 version is essentially the same ski.

      If you’re looking for other options, I’d check out the Line Sick Day 104, Salomon QST 106, and maybe the Rossignol Soul 7 HD. We’ve made some detailed comparisons between those skis and the Rustler 10 in the article linked below, which I’d recommend checking out. If you have any other questions, let me know.

      https://www.blistergearreview.com/deep-dive/deep-dive-blizzard-rustler-10

  10. Thanks Luke, much appreciated.
    I did try the Soul 7s out last year. Found them good, but unexciting. For me they lacked any pop at the end of my turns, and were perhaps too predictable. I was very happy to get my S7s back on my feet with their chattery tips.
    Your reviews of the Fischer Ranger 102 FR have also piqued my interest. I will also check out the Line’s.
    My feet are still recovering from my Salomon rear entry boots I got mid eighties, and I have not yet forgiven them.

  11. Sizing question: I’m debating between the 180 and 188.

    I’m 6’2”, 175lb, and I ski fairly aggressively in Colorado. I just need this ski to perform well in tight bumps/trees on steeps (Winter Park, West Ridge @ Eldora) and I’m wondering if the 188 might hold me back.

    I’d say maneuverability on technical terrain is slightly more important than stability at speed (and for that reason I’m leaning 180) but would I be foolish to downside from the 188?

    Thanks!

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