The Rustler 11 is the widest of the three Rustler skis in Blizzard’s Freeride line. At 112-116 mm underfoot, depending on length, it’s distinctly intended to be used in softer snow conditions. The Rustler 10 and 9 are designed for a little more versatility, but the Rustler 11 is more of a soft snow freeride ski than anything else. The Rustler 11 uses the longest rocker out of all three skis, as well as the most pronounced early taper. Correspondingly, it uses the least amount of metal, giving the tips and tails lighter swing weight and a slightly softer flex compared to the 10 and 9. Uni-directional carbon fiber in the tips and tails helps keeps the ski smooth and reduces vibration and chatter, without it feeling overly responsive or too stiff. Over the past few seasons, it’s proven to be a serious contender in the powder/freeride category and we were excited to put it to the test once again.
Mike Thomas skied the 180 cm, which he enjoyed, but did mention that it felt a little bit too short for him. At Mike’s size, the 188 cm would likely be more appropriate, but there’s even a 192 cm length available in the Rustler 11 for those that want to go even longer. High scores from Mike, including 5 out of 5 for flotation, stability, playfulness, and overall impression, and we also saw 4 out of 5 for quickness/maneuverability and torsional stiffness/edge grip. The only scores that were on the lower side of things were for forgiveness and versatility, which makes sense. A ski this big is typically pretty unforgiving, just due to its mass, and a ski this wide starts to lose versatility, especially for firm snow use. “Easy to steer, but strong on edge when following the sidecut radius. A nice blend of easy and powerful. Really nice ski.”
Parker Herlihy also tested the 180 cm length and had a blast. His feedback was pretty similar to Mike’s, and similar scores too. All 4’s and 5’s for flotation, stability, quickness/maneuverability, torsional stiffness/edge grip, versatility, and overall impression. Parker is more of a freeride-style skier than Mike, and we see him spending a lot of time on wider skis, so we’re not surprised he felt it was a little more versatile than Mike did. Again, forgiveness dropped down to 3 out of 5. “Holds turns really well, quick and quiet, hard charging.” That’s an impressive description from Parker. Considering he mentioned he would’ve liked to ski a longer length and he still found that level of performance, the Rustler 11 is proving to be more than just a playful, smeary ski, it can rip too.
Phil McGrory also got to test the 180 cm length in our ski test. Phil had a really nice written response to the Rustler 11. “Ski excels on soft snow, but still very stable at speed on groomed terrain. Versatile for its width, at 112ish. Very easy to steer, but can still lock into a carve once rolled over.” All three of our testers on the Rustler 11 all experienced the same blend of being able to smear and maneuver, but also carve. That’s the reason why some of Blizzard’s big mountain athletes choose the Rustler 11 for their competition ski; it can handle speed, but you can also shut it down and maneuver it quickly and relatively easily.”
If you’re looking for a freeride ski that can slash turns in deep snow, maneuver through tight trees, and even handle high speeds in open terrain, the Rustler 11 is great. While versatility wasn’t one of its highest numerical scores, for a ski in this width range, you can do a lot on it and it can work for a wide variety of skiers. Overall, however, you should be focused on off-piste terrain, soft snow, and a freeride mentality if you’re thinking of choosing this ski.