2020-2021 Blizzard Rustler 11

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.

Groomers

(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.

Moguls

(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.

Sam Shahen, Jonathan Ellsworth, Luke Koppa, and Noah Bodman review the Blizzard Rustler 11 for Blister
Jonathan Ellsworth on the Blizzard Rustler 11, Telluride Ski Resort, CO.

Powder

(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.

Sam Shahen, Jonathan Ellsworth, Luke Koppa, and Noah Bodman review the Blizzard Rustler 11 for Blister
Luke Koppa on the Blizzard Rustler 11. (photo by Cole Rickard)

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.

Sam Shahen, Jonathan Ellsworth, Luke Koppa, and Noah Bodman review the Blizzard Rustler 11 for Blister
Sam Shaheen on the Blizzard Rustler 11, Telluride Ski Resort, CO.

(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.

Sam Shahen, Jonathan Ellsworth, Luke Koppa, and Noah Bodman review the Blizzard Rustler 11 for Blister
Jonathan Ellsworth on the Blizzard Rustler 11, Telluride Ski Resort, CO.

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.

Playfulness

(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.

Bottom Line

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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29 comments on “2020-2021 Blizzard Rustler 11”

  1. Really excited for this review. Ski looks fun. Is there going to be any tall about the lengths too? Like how the 193 gunsmoke was much more beastly than the 186.

  2. This one looks very interesting! I would love a Cochise with a smidge less power, particularly if the suspension feels more like the last generation of Cochise.

  3. Jonathan, I’m keeping the torches and pitchforks in check until I read your take. Still hoping the Rustler I tested last season was a prototype and “not finished” as you suspect. Looking forward to your review.

  4. Between this in the 180cm 112 waist or the Head Kore 117 in 180cm with 115mm waist? What was better all mountain performance to pair in between a 100mm enforcer and a 124mm moment nighttrain?

  5. I wouldn’t recommend the Rustler 11 as a touring ski, even 50-50. It’s fine on the way down off-piste, but the rounded tail doesn’t have a good skin attachment point. Also, due to the tip/tail rocker, the traction isn’t as good as a ski with less rocker and a flatter tail. (For reference, I own a pair and have ~10 days on them with a little touring. My main touring ski is a Salomon MTN Explore 95. Having taken then out separately on back-to-back days in the same terrain, the lower weight and better traction for the MTN Explore was a huge factor in how much fun I had.)

    • Good comments, Paul. Thanks. But seems extremely apples-to-oranges to be comparing a mountaineering ski (the extremely good MTN Explore 95), to what would be, in effect, a touring ski for deep snow — which is how we are recommending it?

      No question, the MTN Explore 95 will feel better on a skin track. And it will be way less fun in backcountry pow — particularly *deep* pow.

  6. I agree 100% with Sam’s assessment of the 11. I have a pair that has 4-5 mm of camber instead of the 2 mm of your test pair. I would say mine have a nice pop on groomers. I know this will sound like heresy to OG Bodacious owners and I’m one of them. My Rustlers are smoother through chop and cut up powder than my Bodacious. I feel many people who first ski the Rustler will misinterpret ease of use for lack of power as I initially did. The more you drive them the more you realize how powerful they are. They are the best ski I’ve ever used for attacking the unknown with regard to snow conditions and terrain. And for their width they are darn good on hard snow.

  7. I mounted my 188cm R11 +2 of recommended, and find them very playful. I can still push them hard, and i find them quite poppy on somewhat soft groomers, they need some angle, but i get lots of energy turn to turn. Not the best ski for chop, but handles it well, though i think i would prefer my 185 ZeroG 108 in crud and chop.

    Interested to hear your thoughts if you’re going for a remount.

  8. I skied the Rustler 11 in the 180 recently (I’m 5’8” 155lbs aggressive skier). I can appreciate and agree with your comments. I ski out of Aspen and as a result, one factor I tend to lean to as my deciding factor (at least for anything but a pure powder ski) is capability in chop and variable conditions. I think Noah’s comments were right on. With the Rustler 11, I felt a lightness or tinnieness in hard conditions that left me underwhelmed. I’m not sure I’m willing to ski the new (I.e. old) Bodacious in a 186 because we have so many tight areas (I skied to 2013 in a shorter length), but I wish they had a little more metal in this ski. I tried it because I thought my Black Crows Animas were more of a powder ski than a big mountain ski but I find my Animas to have a more
    substantial damp feel (and they are better in powder). Btw, I really liked
    the Rustler 11 overall.

    • Daryl, for what it’s worth, I was skiing a 186 new (old) Bodacious for a lot of this season (though I suffered a season-ending injury in February) and was really surprised at how comfortable they felt slashing tighter turns, given that they’re stiff-ish, damp, and don’t have very much rocker, tip or tail. Obviously it’s not what they’re strictly best at, but they’re hands down my favorite inbounds ski for the PNW, and I’m a not-huge guy (6′, 160lbs) who likes skiing trees.

  9. Hi Jonathan!

    Thank you for review.

    May be you can give me some advice regarding third ski in my quiver.

    After a season with Brahma 186 I decided to change my Icelantic Nomad 105 which I had as ski for big mountains. My friend (he is freeride coach) knowing my skiing recommended Cochise and I just bought brand new 13-14 version 185 with very great discount. I’m going to use it for shitty conditions on mounatains with steeps having in mind that this ski should be good at this.

    And now I need a third ski. I see it as a ski for soft snow and powder. But still want it to be capable in variable conditions for the cases when I will not guess the conditions or for snowy spring all mounting skiing on big mountain, where you can ocassionaly encounter shitty conditions but overall you expect some powder after night snowfall. And I want it to be more fun than enything else I have (I have also SL non-fis race volkl whih is fun but in completely different sense). I like some jumps, I like feel of rebound in the end of the turn more than long turns. And I’m not very skilled in powder yet and need some support from a ski. And finally I prefer to carve wherever I can and it is reasonable.

    After reading almost all relavant reviews on Blister It looks to me that I need either QST 106 or Rustler 11. And I tend more to Salomon since it is lighter (also considering Kingpin for them to be able touring), should be more poppy and playfull in soft snow and powder). My friend who spent last season on them says they require to be more precise but overall very interesting in soft and he likes them. Not sure if it going to glide and slash turn capble in deeper snow.

    Another reason why only Rustler and QST, because I have acess to them for a good price. And preorde for next year Blizzard ends in 4 days and I still not 100% sure.

    Thank you in advance.

  10. Loved the new Gear Guide (18/19), but would have liked to have seen the Rustler being compared with the new (lighter) Wildcat (not the tour version). Trying to decide between the 190cm Wildcat or the Rustler 11 in the 188cm.

  11. Has anyone skied both the 188 and 192. I was looking at the specs on evo and the turning radius jumps from 19m for the 188 to 23 for the 192. It makes me think that the 192 is a little more chargy than the 188. Anyways I was thinking about either mounting the 188 at the recommended or bumping the 192 up to +1 or +2. This would be a resort pow ski for me. Let me know what ya think!

  12. For Bigbear42: just bought 180cm R11 (17/18) and turning radius on top sheet shows 19m – maybe evo had a mistake and for 188cm it should be 21 i.e. 2m jump in radius between different sizes of ski? So the difference between 188 and 192 might not be so bug after all.

    Keep up the good work on reviews!

  13. One ski shop told me I should ski the 180; another told me to ski 188. I’m 6’2 and 210 lbs. I’m 57 years old and aggressive – for my age. I ski 185 Enforcer 100. Any thoughts on the 180 or 188? thanks.

    • Hi, do you have bought these ski’s? If yes, which length have you chosen?
      I am quiet sure the rustler will be a good fit for me. I want to upgrade my first generation soul 7 180 which are fine but too short for me and I want to have some more float and stability, but still playful.
      I’m almost 6′ and 175 lbs and really doubting between the 180 and 188.
      The soul 7 has a noticeable bigger amount of taper.

  14. Try you absolute best to demo both sizes, but if you can’t, you’ll be fine with the 188s. I’m 5’8 195 and I ski the 180s

  15. I am looking to get a third quiver powder ski and was thinking of Rustler 11; I presently ski on a Brahma and a Nordica 100; I weigh 206 and would describe myself as advanced on on hard conditions and still improving in powder; not looking for touring setup but rather downhill. Let me know what you think: 1) is rustler sufficiently differentiated vs Nordica 100?; 2) other downhill/powder alternatives. Thanks, HCool

  16. Hi! Has anyone skied both these Rustler 11’s and the Rossi Super 7 HDs? I am 5’11” / 155 lbs advanced but mostly directional skier trying to figure out which would be best for a backcountry trip to japan. Cheers!

  17. Seems as if rustler 11 would go along well with for example Salomon shift binding. The “problem” in my case is that I really want to try the Tecton 12. Alltough pretty lightweight but would you guys say that Rustler 11 is a too beefy and demanding ski for Tecton 12?

    • For what it’s worth, I ski 192cm Rustler 11 with Kingpins and Scarpa Freedom SL boots. Have no problems driving the the ski, and regularly use it inbounds while skiing fast like and like an idiot.

      • Kevin. What’s your height and weight? I just picked up the 192s but am concerned that I should have gone with the 188s. I’m 6’3” and 210 lbs.

  18. Looking for my first 110+ 50/50 pow ski, with more backcountry skiing than resort. Mostly tight trees in my home area and for the occasional deeper days in Norway in more open alpine terrain.

    Coming from a Corvus FB 188, which felt good lengthwise but lost it’s snap due to too much resort skiing. Currently touring on 18/19 qst106 188, which feels more nimble than the Corvus. I’m planning on preserving the qst for only touring to not wear it out too fast.

    I’m wondering if the more rockered the 188 Rustler will feel much shorter than these two and therefore I might go for the 192? 6ft and 200lbs plus gear, so looking for something wider than the qst for 50/50 ski.

  19. I ride both 188 and 192 at -1.8 and -2mm from recomended (back). I am 1m85 / 83kl. For my size the 192 is very much better to pass over the pow and my monting is good for that, i can charge front… Its playfull, but still can be skied fast in long turns… You can change rythme very esasily, super smooth in narrow couloires and in forest but stable at high speed in large faces… work well in pow (light / heavy) in spring snow and pretty good in ice… In choppy i préfer straight tails.

  20. So I got a really good deal on some Rustler 11 188. I am 5’10” and 200. I want it to be a hard charging power day ski for my quiver and maybe a 50/50. I know it is a longer ski for me but nervous it may be too long. Any thoughts?

    • I’m exactly your height and weight and I have the Rustler 11 in 188. I put a pair of Shift bindings on them and I love it. Kickturns are a bit tricky sometimes but I wouldn’t size down.

  21. The Blizzard website gives the mass of the 188 as 2170g. That’s a fair bit more than ~2050g..
    Has it got heavier in subsequent years to your version?

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