Blister reviewers Luke Koppa (LK), Sam Shaheen (SS), Noah Bodman (NB) and I (JE) have now all spent time on the 188 cm Blizzard Rustler 11, so in what follows, we’re each going to share our thoughts on the ski.
(LK): At 114 mm underfoot, the Rustler 11 isn’t a ski that ought to necessarily excel on groomers, but I’ve still had plenty of fun carving it on softer groomed runs and smooth, off-piste slopes. Despite the ski’s tip and tail rocker, I still found it easy to get the ski on edge and carve medium to large turns. The Rustler 11 doesn’t provide a ton of energy out of the turn (unlike the Rustler 10, which feels very energetic), but it doesn’t feel totally dead, either.
The Rustler 11 definitely rewards a forward stance, but you can still ski it from the center — it’s pretty forgiving in this regard, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to intermediate skiers.
On more variable / bumped-up groomers, I noticed the Rustler 11’s lack of weight. It does get knocked around a bit, but I thought it performed pretty well for its weight in these conditions based on my experience on similar skis.
(SS): I agree with everything that Luke says here. The Rustler 11 just doesn’t have a lot of energy out of a turn. However, it’s easy to initiate turns on the Rustler 11 and it has decent edge hold (especially for a ski of its width). It isn’t demanding on groomers at all, and doesn’t require much speed to bend the ski into medium radius turns.
(JE): I think the 188 cm Rustler 11 is a really nice carver. I don’t disagree with Luke or Sam’s assessment that the Rustler 11 doesn’t provide a lot of rebound out of a carved turn, but it’s a really nice, smooth, intuitive carver, and if you generally prefer to make more sustained, longer-radius turns (which I do) as opposed to shorter, snappier turns … then I think you’ll enjoy the ride of this ski on good groomers.
(LK): As someone who typically prefers skis in the 180-185 cm range, the 188 cm Rustler 11 unsurprisingly felt like more ski than I’d normally want in moguls. The ski’s wide tips and tails felt like they got caught up a bit in deeper / steeper bumps (I didn’t notice this in more spaced out moguls). However, the ski’s fairly light weight did help here, and as you’ll see below, Sam and Jonathan didn’t have any problem with the Rustler 11 in bumps. So, if you’re concerned about the Rustler 11’s performance in moguls, keep reading.
Though I could feel them getting caught up in tight moguls, the Rustler 11’s tails felt like they offered a nice blend of support and forgiveness. They definitely don’t encourage backseat skiing, but the Rustler 11’s tails weren’t extremely punishing.
(SS): For me, the Rustler 11 is a fun bump ski. I don’t mean steep, tight, zipper-line mogul skiing per se, but I thought the ski was quite fun in late-day soft bumps. It likes to pop off the tops, plow through the troughs and burn speeds in the soft spots. It is forgiving enough to where I can push the limits of what I’m comfortable with, yet do so without fear of exploding spectacularly.
As I pushed the Rustler 11 harder, I got more and more out of it — more responsiveness, more stability, and more precision. And that is a great trait for variable conditions or moguls.
(JE): My opinion here is much more in line with Sam’s than with Luke’s (which is kind of a bummer, since I’d love to witness Sam “exploding spectacularly.”) The 188 cm Rustler 11 feels really predictable and intuitive to me, and I’ve yet to have it in terrain or conditions where the ski just feels terrible and out of place. In really short, compact bumps, yes, a shorter, narrower ski is going to make more sense and be easier to maneuver. But the Rustler 11 is also quite easy to pivot and slide through moguls in a pretty lazy way. So as Sam said, it responds well to strong input. But when your legs are shot, this ski isn’t going to insist that you suck it up and start skiing strong again, or you’re screwed.
(LK): I’ve had the chance to get the Rustler 11 into about a foot of powder, ranging from very light, dry snow to more consolidated, windblown pow.
Overall, the ski’s flotation seemed to be pretty good for its width. The fat, fairly soft tips plane well, and I didn’t have any issues with tip dive in the foot of pow I got the ski in.
While the Rustler 11 was easy to break free into slashes, it did not feel like it wanted to stay in extended slides — the ski wants to get back into the turn after a slash.
Chop (and the Stability of the Rustler 11)
(LK): In tracked-up powder, the Rustler 11 again felt intuitive, and I didn’t notice it getting hung up. It didn’t plow through piles of snow like a heavier ski, but I was still able to push the Rustler 11 pretty hard in chop.
If you want maximum stability in chop / crud, there are better (mostly heavier) options, but if you are ok with skiing with a bit more precision, the Rustler 11 does just fine.
And this is where some people might understandably say, “But there are FWT riders competing on this ski, it has to be super stable if they’re riding it!?” And here’s where it’s good for all of us to remember that those FWT skiers are ridiculously talented athletes that could put all of us normal skiers to shame as far as what they can do on snow — even on skis that aren’t the burliest of chargers. So no, the Rustler 11 isn’t a ski that will eat up anything in its path, but under the feet of a strong skier, it can be pushed pretty hard. Just don’t expect this ski to do all of the hard charging for you.
(JE): Yep, I agree with the above. The way I’d say it is that the 188 Rustler 11 can be pushed pretty hard — especially given how well it works at low speeds. It’s a pretty impressive top end for how easy, intuitive, and able it is to work at low speeds.
(SS): I agree, it punches a touch above its weight class in chop, perhaps due to the modest amount of tip taper. The deeper and more variable the chop, the more you need to be pushing the ski to keep it going straight.
(NB): More than anything, the Rustler 11 stood out to me as being an easy ski to get along with, but not one that’s the best option for pushing the boundaries of how fast a given line can be skied. It’s a relatively light ski — especially for its width — and extra especially considering there’s a bit of metal in it. And that lack of heft is apparent. The Rustler 11 turns easily, but it also deflects more easily than heavier skis in this class. (Duh.)
The Rustler 11 does, however, have a bit of dampness to it that makes for a smoother ride, and retains at least some semblance of the stability that Blizzard skis tend to be known for. If you’re looking for the burliest charger in the ~115mm width category, the Rustler 11 certainly isn’t it. But I would say that for anyone who prefers the easier turning and lower swing weight of a lighter ski, the Rustler 11 retains a respectable amount of dampness and stability for its weight.
Rustler 11 vs. Rustler 10
(LK): Apart from the name, I don’t think the Rustler 10 and Rustler 11 share all that much in common. The Rustler 11 feels much less energetic / poppy, much more comfortable making larger turns, and more stable overall. While both skis are pretty nice / easy to ski, I’d be more inclined to recommend the Rustler 11 to more advanced skiers than I would the Rustler 10 — the Rustler 11 handles bigger turns and higher speeds significantly better than the Rustler 10.
(JE): Yep, I really didn’t click at all with the 188 cm Rustler 10 (while reviewers Luke Koppa, Sam Shaheen, and Kara Wiliard all either liked it or loved it), while having just skied the 188 cm Rustler 11 again, I was very impressed with just how point-and-shoot that ski is — and I mean “point-and-shoot” in the best sense. There was zero learning curve. It carves well. I thought it was easy to smear around at low speeds, yet it holds up pretty well at higher speeds. And I know Sam Shaheen agrees with me on all of those characteristics of the 188 cm Rustler 11.
The Rustler 10 — even in the 188 cm length — felt much less comfortable making bigger turns at higher speeds than the Rustler 11. But those who prefer to make quicker turns at more moderate speeds will likely click with the Rustler 10.
(SS): Again, I’m in complete agreement with JE and Luke. The skis aren’t really that similar at all. I really enjoy them both, but for different reasons. The Rustler 10 is quick, snappy, and playful while the 11 is intuitive, and forgiving yet still powerful.
(NB): I agree that the 188 cm Rustler 11 doesn’t have the energy and pop of the 188 cm Rustler 10. I also agree that the Rustler 11 has the higher top end.
(LK): On one hand, the Rustler 11 has a lot of tip and tail rocker and is fairly light. On the other hand, it has pretty wide tips / tails and doesn’t feel very poppy. As a result, the Rustler 11 falls somewhere between heavier / more directional skis (like the Nordica Enforcer 110) and more freestyle skis like the ON3P Kartel 108 when it comes to the overall playfulness of the ski.
The Rustler 11 is willing to slash and offers a nice landing platform for jumps, but it still feels like a directional ski and has a noticeable swing weight in the air. I think it makes a lot of sense for directional skiers looking for a more playful option that still rewards a forward stance and can be driven fairly hard (for its weight), but I’d be less inclined to suggest it to more jibby / freestyle skiers that are looking for a ski to trick (at least when mounted at recommended, which is where I’ve skied it).
(JE): Agreed. When mounted on the line, at least, “playful” isn’t a word that I would use to describe the 188 cm Rustler 11. It’s by no means a handful, but it isn’t an especially poppy ski.
(SS): The Rustler 11 feels distinctly directional. It likes to point downhill and doesn’t inspire a lot of spinning or slashing around. That is certainly not a mark against this ski though. As a directional ski, it is a lot of fun.
50/50 and Backcountry Use
(LK): Based on my experience with the Rustler 11 in the resort and given the ski’s moderately low weight, I wouldn’t hesitate to use it as a 50/50 ski, especially if mounted with the Atomic / Salomon SHIFT binding. However, I’d personally size down to the 180 cm length if I was touring on the ski as I imagine it’d be more maneuverable in tight spots and for kick turns.
While skiing the 188 cm Rustler 11 in the resort, I never felt as though I was on a ski best reserved only for touring for perfect snow, so if you’re comfortable skinning on a ski of this weight, I think it’d make a great touring ski that would offer better performance in difficult snow compared to lighter options.
(JE): Agreed. Especially if I toured regularly in deep pow (and so was looking for a ski this wide to tour on), I could be very happy on a Rustler 11. And at its weight, I personally would stick with the 188.
(SS): This is just personal preference, but I don’t think I would choose this ski as a 50/50 option. The reason I like this ski so much is that I can both push it hard, and be lazy with it. In the backcountry, when I am trying to eek every bit of fun out of every turn (because I just walked hours for it), I am completely fine on a slightly less forgiving ski that requires a touch more input than the Rustler 11.
The Blizzard Rustler 11 is a fun, intuitive ski that should work for a pretty wide range of skiers.
Its most stand-out quality is that it can be pushed pretty hard yet it is not a demanding ski, and it didn’t feel particularly uncomfortable in any situation, making it an easy recommendation for a lot of intermediate to expert skiers looking for (1) a directional yet playful powder ski, or (2) a 50/50 ski for use in soft and / or deep conditions.
Deep Dive Comparisons: Blizzard Rustler 11
Become a Blister Member or Deep Dive subscriber and check out our Deep Dive of the Rustler 11 to see how it stacks up against 12 other similar skis including in the Line Sick Day 114, Nordica Enforcer 110, Scott Scrapper 115, and Moment Blister Pro.
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