2019 Blizzard Rustler 11 Ski Review: // Ski Reviews
The Rustler 11s are a newer addition to Blizzard's freeride ski collection. They are 114mm underfoot (188cm length) and have a rocker-camber-rocker profile. The Rustler 11s use Blizzard's Carbon Flipcore DRT (dynamic release technology) combined with a multi-layer wood core and an underfoot positioned sheet of metal (Titanal). The difference between the normal flipcore design and the DRT is that the metal sheet is only partial length and doesn't go as far towards the tips or tails. The metal is primarily underfoot, which makes the ski more playful and less aggressive in softer snow while still maintaining a stable platform. They are at home in soft, loose, and big terrain. Their position in your ski quiver is shown best by how the Ruster 11s are increasingly popular amongst FWT (Freeride World Tour) athletes who require the best in control, stability, and playfulness.
The core is constructed from several different types of wood: poplar, beech, balsa, paulownia. Blizzards states this combination was used because it provides stiffness, dampness, and torsional rigidity. The Carbon Flipcore DRT can be found in the Blizzard Spur, Rustler lineup, and Sheeva. This technology combines carbon fiber tips and tails with a uniquely shaped Titanal sheet underfoot. The specifically positioned metal still allows for stable power transmission underfoot while the tip and tail don't have as much torsional stiffness, which allows for a softer feel. Lastly, talking about design, as the length of the ski increases the underfoot dimension also increases in size to provide taller or heavier individuals the extra surface area they need, so these skis can perform.
Tips and Tails:
These skis are specifically designed for soft snow and to be playful, while still allowing the skier to be somewhat aggressive and power through choppy snow. There is some deflection in the tips when charging at high speeds, but it is very well dampened by the core to keep consistent edge contact for great control. The tips have a wider shovel design that helps drive the ski hard when turning. Additionally, this design makes it effortless to turn in soft and deep snow. This combined with the tails having more taper and early rise allows the ski to easily release during a turn.
The Rustler 11s have a long rocker profile, which is designed to provide flotation in deep snow. The rocker profile isn't overly aggressive, so the ski still maintains the ability to perform on firmer snow. Additionally, this long, smooth rocker profile combined with camber underfoot makes the ski responsive and stable in most conditions. The camber underfoot allows the Rustler 11s to hold an edge and effectively grip firm snow.
Stability, Turning, and Weight:
They have solid stability at speed in soft conditions because of the metal underfoot and the width of the ski. In choppy conditions, they can blow through crud with ease and will still be forgiving if you hit a firm bump. On the other hand, in hardpack conditions, they aren't the preferred skis since they are a little soft, although they can still hold an edge. In terms of turnability, the Rustler 11s can make surprisingly quick turns because of the camber underfoot, soft tips and tails, and low swing weight. The swing weight is kept low because of the carbon fiber tip and tail and lightweight core materials. Even when you're on a groomer, they have relatively quick edge-to-edge performance versus other wide underfoot skis. In my opinion, for turning, the Ruster 11s fit in between carving skis and super smeary full rocker skis. Lastly, the rocker profile helps provide an aggressive turning radius of 21m in the 188cm length. If you aren't looking to turn, they have no problem tracking straight and remaining stable.
Regarding weight, the Rustler 11s are fairly light for their size which contributes to the turnability and quickness. Additionally, with weight in mind, you will find many backcountry skiers opting to use these over a dedicated backcountry ski. This shows the versatility of the ski and how it can perform in most conditions at the resort or in the backcountry.
It's just as important to see how a pair of skis performs in non-intentional, less than ideal conditions because these instances (e.g., rock hits, roots smashes) determine the longevity of our skis. If you're a skier and on a ski that thrives off-piste, you will certainly hit rocks and roots. Through my testing, I hit some [many] rocks and roots, but I'm happy to report that the skis withstood the abuse. The sidewall construction is solid, and the edge retention is excellent. A rock strike right across the base into the edge will leave a scar like any ski, but the edge and sidewall are strong to resist some damage.
Plain Old Fun:
Over my testing period, we received 88" of snow in 8 days in Utah. These skis were my go-to over this period because of their excellent performance in the deep snow, relative ease of turning in tight trees, and pure fun. The forgiveness and effortless turning ability of these skis made it easy to ski all day long without getting heavy powder legs. The Rustler 11s made a deep powder day even more enjoyable and fun. Of course, if none of this proves the ability of these skis, they have won many awards: Powder Magazine Skier's Choice, Freeskier Editor's Pick, Backcountry Magazine Editors' Choice.
In Comparison to Other Blizzard Skis:
Whether you want to drop cliffs, perfect your pow turn, or need a ski that is forgiving but has stability underfoot, the Ruster 11s might be for you. This ski is fully capable and you will find on the boots of advanced skiers across big mountain resorts. If you are looking for something stiffer, more aggressive, and speed oriented, you might want to check out the Cochise or Bodacious. These skis have metal throughout the whole ski which makes them more rigid especially in the tips and tails. If you are looking for something a little more oriented towards firm snow or a broader range of conditions but like everything else you hear, you might want to check out the Ruster 10s or Rustler 9s. Both of these skis have the same construction as the Ruster 11s but the dimensions are smaller.
To summarize, these skis are more dedicated towards soft or deep snow. They are designed to float, provide forgiveness, and to be playful. You'll find yourself not only taking these skis out in the deepest of days but also anytime soft snow is around. They are very versatile and extremely fun.