Ski: 2020-2021 Blizzard Rustler 10, 188 cm
Days Skied: 7
Available Lengths: 164, 172, 180, 188 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 186.2 cm
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2120 & 2134 grams
Stated Dimensions: 135.5-104-125.5 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 135.3-103.5-125.3 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (188 cm): 19 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 73 mm / 41 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 3 mm
Core: ISO/poplar/beech/paulownia/balsa + partial titanal layer + carbon tips / tails + fiberglass laminate
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -7.2 cm from center; 85.9 cm from tail
[Note: our review was conducted on the 19/20 Rustler 10, which returns unchanged for 20/21, apart from graphics.]
The Rustler 10 has served as Blizzard’s mid-fat, playful all-mountain ski for the past two seasons, and they’re tweaking it for 19/20 (the Rustler 9, Rustler 11, and women’s Sheeva skis return unchanged, apart from graphics). The new Rustler 10 returns unchanged for 20/21, apart from graphics.
When we reviewed the previous version of the Rustler 10, several of us got along very well with it, but we also thought there was room for improvement. Particularly, the Rustler 10 didn’t feel all that stable at speed, which we thought limited its versatility for inbounds use.
Well, Blizzard says that the new version of the ski is supposed to be more stable at speed, while still retaining much of the playfulness and accessibility of the previous version. Let’s take a closer look at the new ski’s design to see what this actually translates to in reality.
Shape / Rocker Profile
The Rustler 10’s shape and rocker profile remain the same in the 19/20 version. It’s still got a pretty minimal amount of taper — especially for a ski in the “more playful” end of the spectrum. Skis like the Moment Wildcat 108, ON3P Woodsman 108, and Line Sick Day 104 all have notably more tip and tail taper.
The Rustler 10’s rocker profile isn’t quite as traditional, with pretty deep rocker lines at both the tips and tails. Its tail isn’t quite a true twin, but at 41 mm, its tail splay is still pretty high. Compared to the Blizzard Cochise and Bonafide (Blizzard’s more directional options in this category), the Rustler 10 has deeper rocker lines and a lot more tail splay. Compared to more freestyle-oriented skis like the ON3P Jeffrey 108 and Prior Northwest 110, the Rustler 10’s rocker profile is a bit mellower (shallower lines and less splay). But, again, the Rustler 10’s rocker profile is more similar to more playful skis than it is to more traditional, directional ones.
Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Rustler 10:
In Front of Toe Piece: 9-9.5
Behind the Heel Piece: 9.5-9
The flex pattern of the 19/20 Rustler 10 does not feel very different compared to the 17/18–18/19 Rustler 10. The new ski is a tiny bit stiffer around the bindings and a bit softer at the very end of the tail (only the last ~6 cm). Other than that, they’re basically the same in terms of flex pattern.
Overall, the Rustler 10 is a pretty strong ski, given that it’s designed to be a pretty playful and easy ski. It’s definitely not super burly — its tips and tails are still quite accessible, and it’s significantly softer at the end of the ski compared to more directional skis like the Cochise. But there are plenty of skis in this class that are notably softer than the Rustler 10.
No real change here, except that Blizzard is now listing stated dimensions for the 188 cm version that are more in line with our measured dimensions. For our pairs, the old and new 188 cm Rustler 10 have nearly the exact same measured dimensions (within a tenth of a millimeter).
Since the dimensions didn’t change, neither did the sidecut radius. One of our primary issues with the Rustler 10 was that it often felt “hooky” when making big, fast turns, so we’re curious to see if the change that Blizzard did make will still be able to address this without a change to the sidecut.
This is the biggest change for 19/20.
The previous version of the Rustler 10 was quite light for its size, coming in around 1964 grams per ski for the 188 cm version.
The new version is heavier, coming in at an average weight of 2127 grams per ski for the 188 cm version.
Looking at the current market, the 19/20 Rustler 10 now sits around the middle of the spectrum when it comes to weight, rather than being on the lighter end like the previous version. There are still many skis that are heavier than the Rustler 10, but the new skis’ weight puts it more in line with dedicated inbounds skis, whereas the previous version’s low weight grouped it in more with 50/50 skis that you’d use inside the resort and in the backcountry.
It’s also interesting to see that the new Rustler 10 now comes in heavier than the wider Rustler 11.
For reference, here are a number of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for some notable skis. Keep in mind the length differences to try to keep things apples-to-apples.
1642 & 1651 Renoun Citadel 106, 185 cm, (18/19)
1806 & 1862 Armada Tracer 108, 180 cm (19/20)
1828 & 1842 Elan Ripstick 106 Black Edition, 188 cm (19/20)
1848 & 1903 Line Sick Day 104, 186 cm (17/18–19/20)
1849 & 1922 Elan Ripstick 106, 188 cm (17/18–19/20)
1913 & 1943 Sego Condor Ti, 187 cm (18/19)
1923 & 1956 DPS Alchemist Wailer 106, 189 cm (17/18–18/19)
1950 & 1977 Blizzard Rustler 10, 188 cm (17/18–18/19)
1996 & 2012 Dynastar Legend X106, 188 cm (17/18–19/20)
2005 & 2035 Liberty Origin 106, 187 cm (19/20)
2010 & 2018 J Skis Vacation, 186 cm (18/19–19/20)
2011 & 2028 Moment Wildcat 108, 184 cm (19/20)
2013 & 2013 Moment Commander 108, 188 cm (18/19)
2018 & 2045 RMU North Shore 108, 185 cm (18/19–19/20)
2022 & 2047 Faction Dictator 3.0, 186 cm (17/18–18/19)
2026 & 2056 Black Diamond Boundary Pro 107, 184 cm (17/18–18/19)
2030 & 2039 Rossignol Soul 7 HD, 188 cm (17/18–19/20)
2034 & 2052 Blizzard Rustler 11, 188 cm (17/18–19/20)
2046 & 2120 Black Crows Corvus, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
2096 & 2100 Salomon QST 106, 181 cm (19/20)
2101 & 2104 Fischer Ranger 102 FR, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
2110 & 2119 Moment Wildcat 108, 190 cm (19/20)
2112 & 2125 4FRNT MSP 107, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
2120 & 2134 Blizzard Rustler 10, 188 cm (19/20)
2143 & 2194 ON3P Wrenegade 108, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
2165 & 2211 K2 Mindbender 108Ti, 186 cm (19/20)
2165 & 2219 Icelantic Nomad 105, 191 cm (19/20)
2182 & 2218 Nordica Enforcer 110, 185 cm (17/18–19/20)
2188 & 2190 Prior Northwest 110, 190 cm (19/20)
2190 & 2268 Armada ARV 106Ti LTD, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
2202 & 2209 Shaggy’s Ahmeek 105, 186 cm (19/20)
2218 & 2244 Volkl Mantra 102, 184 cm (19/20)
2232 & 2244 ON3P Woodsman 108, 187 cm (19/20)
2233 & 2255 Nordica Enforcer 104 Free, 186 cm (19/20)
2241 & 2295 4FRNT Devastator, 184 cm (14/15–18/19)
2250 & 2307 Argent Badger, 184 cm (19/20)
2283 & 2290 ON3P Wrenegade 108, 189 cm (18/19–19/20)
2312 & 2386 Prior Husume, 188 cm (17/18–19/20)
2318 & 2341 J Skis The Metal, 186 cm (16/17–18/19)
2321 & 2335 Fischer Ranger 107 Ti, 189 cm (19/20)
2376 & 2393 Blizzard Cochise, 185 cm (15/16–19/20)
Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About
(1) Our biggest question is just how much more stable the new Rustler 10 will feel compared to the previous version? Should we still think of it as a quick, lively, and easy ski? Or is it now some sort of charger?
(3) With its heavier weight, will the new Rustler 10 feel notably more demanding or difficult to ski?
Bottom Line (For Now)
The updated Blizzard Rustler 10 takes an easy, playful ski and looks to give it an upgrade in stability. We’re eager to see exactly how big that difference is, and will be getting the new Rustler 10 on snow as soon as possible during this upcoming season.
While re-reading our review of the original Rustler 10 in preparation for this review of the updated version, I was reminded of some very good days on that ski. I actually really liked it, though it definitely had its shortcomings, particularly when it came to skiing hard in rough inbounds conditions. The new 19/20 Rustler 10 seemed like it might address some of our complaints with the first version of it, and after spending several days on the new Rustler 10 in a pretty wide range of conditions at Crested Butte, I think that’s true. (But with some caveats.)
For a ~104mm-wide ski, I loved the 1st gen Rustler 10 on groomers. It was very energetic, easy to bend into tight turns, and held an edge very well for how wide and rockered it was.
All in all, I’d say all of that translates to the new Rustler 10. It’s still really energetic, easy to initiate and hold turns on firm snow, and it’s an absolute riot for carving Slalom and GS turns on piste (again, for how wide it is).
The main difference is in the new ski’s suspension (which I’ll be talking a lot about here). Blizzard didn’t magically turn the new Rustler 10 into some ultra-damp charger by adding a bit of weight (~160 grams per ski for the 188 cm ski we’ve been testing). But the difference in the damping and suspension of the new, heavier Rustler 10 is noticeable. When skiing very fast on roughed-up groomers, the new Rustler 10 is notably less prone to getting knocked around, and it feels a bit smoother.
Now, this ski still only weighs ~2127 grams per ski for the 188 cm length, so there are plenty of heavier, smoother, more “plush” skis that stay more planted. But while the 1st gen Rustler 10 was never near the top of my list for skis I’d pick for skiing fast on firm snow, the new one warrants much stronger consideration. If the groomers don’t have really big piles of pushed-around snow (say, smaller than 6” tall), I had very few complaints with how stable the new Rustler 10 felt on piste.
By combining what I loved about the 1st Rustler 10 (super energetic, good turn initiation, good edge hold) with a more damp construction, the new Rustler 10 is now one of my personal favorite carvers in the ~104mm-wide class. It’s definitely not a wide, super-damp carving ski like, say, the old Head Monster 98 or current Kastle MX99, but the new Rustler 10’s combination of decent suspension and lots of energy can be really fun for skiing aggressively on piste.
But if you’ve read our review of the 1st gen Rustler 10, you’re probably wondering about the elephant in the room: is the new Rustler 10 still hooky and very biased toward smaller turns?
My answer: kind of.
The updated Rustler 10 feels a bit less prone to pulling you across the fall line once you start making turns larger than GS size, but it still feels like a ski that (1) likes to be on edge and (2) doesn’t encourage you to make Super-G turns (or larger) at extremely high speeds. I heavily detuned the tips and tails of the old Rustler 10, and it still felt very eager to turn. I have only very lightly detuned the tips and tails of the new Rustler 10, and the new version still feels a bit more composed and less hooky when making big turns at speed. But for those who were curious whether the new Rustler 10 is now a Super-G / Downhill missile, it’s not.
Fortunately, I don’t have much interest in making DH-sized turns around Crested Butte, so this hasn’t really been an issue for me on groomers. Mostly, I just really like how the Rustler 10 carves, especially for how wide it is and how deep its rocker lines are.
Crested Butte got a really nice storm this past weekend that dropped around 20” of snow over the course of a few days. While I didn’t get the new Rustler 10 into any super deep, untracked pow, new terrain openings over the past few days have allowed me to ski a lot of soft chop on the Rustler 10.
In soft, fairly dry / low-density chop, the Rustler 10 is great. Its wide, rockered tips plane well and its strong midsection lets me blast through light, tracked-out pow. The ski’s pretty deep rocker lines also make it easy to throw sideways, though, like the old version, the new Rustler 10 doesn’t want to stay in an extended drift. You can throw its tails out, but afterward, the ski wants to straighten out pretty quickly.
I could ski basically as fast as I wanted to on the new Rustler 10 in soft, light chop. Now, when things got firmer…
Firm Chop / Crud
Like the 1st gen Rustler 10, the new version caters more to an active style in firm, choppy, cruddy, rough snow.
The new Rustler 10 is, again, notably more damp than the old version, but it feels to me like most of the added weight in the new ski is around the middle. The new Rustler 10’s tips still feel light and tend to get deflected pretty easily at high speeds in rough, inconsistent snow.
The Smith Hill drop at Crested Butte (pictured below) involves a blind takeoff where you need enough speed to clear a small bush, then you land in a very steep, often quite firm runout with a big compression and lots of bumps. On the new Rustler 10, my approach was to basically just hang on after the landing and hope that I didn’t explode catastrophically. To the disappointment of my friends and probably some of you, I managed to avoid a nuclear-level yard sale on the new Rustler 10. But there are many skis I’ve been on that would’ve stayed much more composed, and that would’ve actually let me lean into them and shut down speed through the fast, bumpy runout, rather than leaning back and straight-lining until I got to a fairly smooth spot where I could then scrub speed without worrying about my skis chattering a bunch and having the tips get knocked around.
All that said, I think that, under the feet of an advanced or expert skier, you can ski the new Rustler 10 quite hard, you just have to be a bit more “light on your feet.” This is still a ski that encourages you to find smoother, more forgiving snow, it’s just that the new version now gives you slightly better suspension and confidence at higher speeds vs. the first version.
Now, on the note of “hookiness,” the new Rustler 10 is still notably more grabby / hooky in off-piste conditions than it is on piste. I noticed this most when I was trying to ski fast, bases-flat through firm sections where you could feel all the ski tracks cut in by other skiers, and where there were lots of undulations in the snow. The new Rustler 10 is by no means terrifying in these conditions, but it encourages me to slow down more than most other skis that are this heavy, or else its tips would get knocked around by the irregularities in the snow. And in most conditions, the Rustler 10 feels more composed and easy to control when you have it on edge, rather than going straight bases-flat.
Moguls, Trees, & Tight Terrain
The main change here is the swing weight of the new Rustler 10. I don’t think it’s a huge difference, but the new Rustler 10 does feel a bit more sluggish than the old version. No surprise there, given the weight change.
The new Rustler 10 is still a pretty nimble ski (especially compared to the heavier skis out there that are better for skiing fast on crappy snow), but it’s not quite as super-quick as the old Rustler 10. And after skiing the recently opened Crystal run at Crested Butte, I was reminded of one of my other minor complaints with the old Rustler 10 — its tails.
Crystal now has a lot of very tight, fairly big moguls, and the 188 cm Rustler 10’s tails felt like they were getting caught up behind me in some of the tighter bumps. While this ski has a pretty deep tail rocker line, I think its minimal taper makes it a bit more demanding in tight spots than more tapered skis. If you stay forward, you can slide out those tails quite easily. But when I tried to slither my way through tight moguls from a neutral / centered stance, the Rustler 10’s tails were notably more difficult to slarve around (i.e., they felt a bit “grabby”).
To be clear — the new Rustler 10 is not a very demanding ski. But given that it falls in line with a lot of the easier, more playful skis in this category, I think this is worth noting if you often find yourself in the backseat in bumps.
Apart from the tails occasionally getting hung-up in very tight terrain, I really like the new Rustler 10 for bumps, trees, and steeps. It’s still got a fairly low swing weight compared to the whole market, I like its round flex pattern and the big sweet spot it creates, and if you really aggressively bash your way through a bump line, this poppy ski is great for gapping troughs and doubling-up bumps.
Most of my time on the new Rustler 10 was spent skiing it on the recommended line (-7.2 cm from true center). Surprise! It feels great on the line. I could drive it as hard as I wanted, but also ski it fairly centered when needed. Some very directional skiers may want to mount it back a cm or two, but I think most people will get along with it on the recommended line.
But I like making ski designers angry, so I also skied the new Rustler 10 mounted +1 cm in front of the recommended line (around -6.2 cm from true center). I wanted a more balanced feel in the air, and moving the bindings +1 cm helped with that. I felt like I couldn’t leverage the ski quite as much when trying to carve super hard and bend the heck out of its shovels, but this ski is already very easy to get on edge and drive through turns, so this wasn’t an issue for me (still had no problem getting it high on edge). I don’t think I’d want to go much farther forward, but I suspect that it’d probably feel fine at +2 cm if you want an even more balanced, centered feel.
The Rustler 10 feels like a very playful, but still directional ski.
In terms of energy / pop, it’s awesome. When you bend it — whether in a turn or on the lip of a jump — the new Rustler 10 still produces plenty of rebound. I never found it difficult to get airborne between carved turns on the Rustler 10.
In terms of looseness / surfiness, it’s more complicated. I can easily release the Rustler 10’s tails from a turn, but it’s a ski that quickly returns to going downhill on edge, rather than easily sliding sideways for extended periods of time. Need to quickly scrub speed? The Rustler 10 can easily do that. Need to drift sideways down an entire run? Not so great for that. And in softer snow, I feel like the Rustler 10’s preference to be on edge is more noticeable than it is on shallow, smooth, firm snow (where it’s easier to slide).
I can’t talk too much about buttering on the Rustler 10, but it definitely wouldn’t be my top pick for this. It’s not very easy to bend and get up on the Rustler 10’s tips or tails, and those tips and tails are also not that loose / forgiving if you screw up your rotation. Some bigger / more aggressive park skiers might appreciate the stiffer feel of the Rustler 10 (compared to dedicated freestyle skis), but if you want an all-mountain-freestyle ski that’s great in the park, there are lots of better options.
In the air, the new Rustler 10 is moderately light and moderately balanced (both when mounted on the line and at +1 cm). It’s not nearly as flickable and nimble as lighter freestyle skis like the Line Sir Francis Bacon and Prior Northwest 100, but the Rustler 10 feels much nicer in the air vs. more directional, heavier skis with more rearward mount points. And compared to many of the more rockered, softer, freestyle-oriented skis out there, the Rustler 10 feels more solid and supportive on landings (particularly if you land backseat).
If what you’re most concerned about is being able to easily throw all sorts of tricks, there are better options. But for those who want a playful ski that’s still strong, or those directional skiers looking for a more playful alternative to their more traditional skis, that’s where I think the Rustler 10 makes sense.
Jonathan Ellsworth mentioned in his review of the original Rustler 10 that he might prefer the 180 cm version, since the 188 cm version wasn’t very stable, so he thought he might as well just play to the strengths of this ski (shorter, quicker, faster turns), and go with the shorter length. While I still liked the old 188 cm Rustler 10, I think I might now opt for the 180 cm if given a choice.
This mostly comes down to where I ski and how I ski. Since the new 188 cm Rustler 10 still isn’t all that stable at super high speeds, I still feel like its tails can be a bit grabby in tight spots, and the new version is a bit more damp and stable, I think I’d prefer the 180 cm version for a place like Crested Butte. As someone who skis a lot of tight, steep terrain and who rarely gets to link more than a few Super G turns on any given run, I think the increased maneuverability I’d get from the 180 would outweigh the stability I’d lose vs. the 188 cm, and the new 180 cm Rustler 10 would probably still be more damp than the old 188 cm Rustler 10. I am by no means recommending that everyone downsize on this ski, but this is just something to consider if you ski a lot of tight terrain and / or don’t often get to really open up your turns and ski stupid fast.
Who’s It For?
Intermediate to expert skiers who ski with a fairly active style, appreciate an energetic, playful ski, and who like to carve more than slarve their way around the mountain.
I would not recommend the new Rustler 10 to people whose top priority is being able to absolutely destroy everything in their path. This is not your ski, but your ski might be in the “All-Mountain Chargers” section of our 19/20 Winter Buyer’s Guide.
And if you mostly just want to throw tricks, do butters, and have a super balanced ski that’s great for that, look at softer, less directional options in our “All-Mountain Freestyle” section of our Buyer’s Guide.
But apart from those two groups, the new Rustler 10 warrants strong consideration from a lot of people. It’s awesome on piste for what it is (a ~104mm-wide ski with a lot of rocker), it’s very maneuverable in tight spots if you stay fairly forward, it floats pretty well, and it’s much more playful than many of the more directional, traditional options on the market.
Overall, I think the new Blizzard Rustler 10 will be a better resort / inbounds ski for many skiers than the previous iteration. The new ski is more damp and composed on the rough conditions many of us ski within the confines of a resort, and it does that without losing much of the energy and playfulness that defined the first iteration. It slots in between a lot of the very light (more unstable) skis on the market, and the much heavier, more stable (and more sluggish) skis out there, which makes the Rustler 10 a ski that I think many people could get along with quite well.
Deep Dive Comparisons
Become a Blister Member or Deep Dive subscriber to check out our Deep Dive of the new Rustler 10 to see how it stacks up against the previous Rustler 10, ON3P Woodsman 108, Moment Wildcat 108, Salomon QST 106, K2 Mindbender 108Ti, Nordica Enforcer Free 104, Fischer Ranger 102 FR, Line Sick Day 104, Rossignol Soul 7 HD, J Skis Metal, Armada ARV 106Ti, Liberty Origin 106, 4FRNT MSP 107, Black Crows Corvus, Sego Big Horn 106, Faction Prodigy 3.0, Elan Ripstick 106, & Blizzard Cochise.