2022 Blizzard Rustler 10 Ski Review: Lead Image

Ski Reviews

2022 Blizzard Rustler 10 Ski Review

Believe it or not, the last time we did a full review of the Blizzard Rustler 10 was way back in 2017. Remember 2017? That was fun. Anyways, we’re in a perfect storm cycle for a ski like the Rustler 10 at Stowe right now, and it also happens to be Blizzard’s month in our SkiHappy Photo Contest, so we thought it was a perfect time to take another more in-depth look at it. Speaking of SkiHappy, there’s only a handful of days left in February, so head on over to the contest page and enter some photos! You can also do so through social media, and who knows, you might walk away with a pair of 2021 Bonafide 97 skis!

2022 will mark the 4th season for the Rustler 10 from Blizzard. Aside from some very subtle tweaks, it’s basically unchanged since its introduction. And to be honest, that’s not at all surprising given how well is complements Blizzard’s other skis. In fact, in my opinion, the Rustler collection has been a big success in general. As much as I kinda miss the Gunsmoke, Peacemaker, etc, the Rustler 9, 10, and 11 are much more valuable skis for most skiers. Skis like the Brahma, Bonafide, and Cochise have basically reached icon status in the ski world, but as we’ve discussed before, they can be demanding and downright challenging to ski for less aggressive skiers. The Rustler line is not just intended to be a more playful, more soft-snow-oriented option, it’s also more forgiving, less fatiguing, and easier to ski, which is great. The Rustler 10 in particular is arguably the most well-rounded of the bunch, especially if we’re still thinking playfulness, soft snow, and more of a freeride mentality.

AT A GLANCE


2022 Blizzard Rustler 10 Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

CORE

STRENGTHS

164, 172, 180, 188 cm

17.5 m at 180 cm

133 / 102 / 122.5 mm

Maneuverability, Versatility, Playfulness

Wood and DRT Metal


So, what makes up this ski? Let’s start with construction. The core of the ski is made from a blend of a bunch of different materials. In general, it’s less dense and a little lighter than the cores uses on the Brahma and Bonafide. We get ISO, poplar, beech, paulownia, and balsa. Blizzard calls the construction of the Rustler skis Carbon Flipcore DRT, with DRT being an acronym for Dynamic Release Technology. A big part of this DRT construction is a partial metal laminate that’s full width underfoot then tapers and ends as it reaches the tips and tails of the ski. Where the metal ends is just about exactly where the rocker starts, and the length of the metal and rocker is proportional to each Rustler ski. The 9 has the most metal, the 11 the least, and the reverse is true in reference to the amount of rocker. There’s also bi-directional carbon fiber in the tips and tails to help reduce vibrations and unnecessary tip flap.

Then there’s the shape. As we mentioned, tip and tail rocker starts about where the metal ends, and simply put, there’s a good amount of it. The Rustler 10 is a directional ski, so there’s longer tip rocker than tail rocker, but even in the tail, it’s quite noticeable. There’s some early taper in the Rustler’s shape too, although it’s not as pronounced and not as long as the rocker profile, which I think is important. Giving this ski more taper would change its personality quite a bit. There’s moderate camber underfoot too, which corresponds to the length of the metal laminate almost perfectly. All in all, it’s a very freeride, soft-snow-inspired shape. When you put it next to a ski like the Bonafide 97, there is drastically more rocker.

2022 Blizzard Rustler 10 Ski Review: Camber Profile Image

So, how does it perform? I’ve spoken highly of the Rustler 10 many times before. Every time I get on a pair of Rustler 10s, I’m really tired. Sorry Blizzard. It’s really not the best physical state for testing skis, but it always seems to happen that way. Last year, I skied them on my very last run after 2 consecutive days of bell-to-bell testing at an on snow demo. This year, my legs are absolutely shot after trying to keep up with a bunch of 14-year-old park skiers all weekend. Someday, I’ll take out the Rustler 10 when I’m feeling strong and energetic, I promise. Now, all that said, I actually think it’s helped me analyze the ski. Sometimes I feel like I can ski anything, but when I’m tired, I don’t feel like I’m very good at skiing.

The Rustler 10 won’t beat you up. It won’t make you feel bad for skipping leg day. It doesn’t feel like it needs to go 1,000 MPH before it comes alive, and in my opinion, that’s really, really valuable. Let’s start with un-groomed terrain, trees, soft snow, and all that good stuff, as that’s basically the intended terrain for the Rustler 10. It has such a good blend of feeling stable and confident while still being exceptionally agile, easy to ski, and quite forgiving. Remember, this is a 102 mm width ski with some metal in it. It’s not a noodle. There’s some power to it as well, which we’ll get to, but in demanding, technical terrain, I love how easy it is to ski. The rocker profile and flex pattern of the tips and tails allows for ultra-quick movements. Here in Vermont, that’s really important. If you miss your spot to make a turn, you’re either going to hook a tip on a sapling or end up going 3 times faster than you wanted to. In tight, steep trees, neither one of those is advantageous. The Rustler is such a quick ski, it makes me feel like a better skier when I take it into tight trees, and it doesn’t punish me for being tired. Sure, I was stopping more than I might normally to take a breather, and didn’t push my skiing even close to my limits, but I still skied it pretty fast through some challenging terrain and was reminded how quick and agile it is. It loves maneuvering through tight trees.

2022 Blizzard Rustler 10 Ski Review: Full Width Action Image 1 2022 Blizzard Rustler 10 Ski Review: Full Width Action Image 2

When you’re in more open terrain, a few characteristics shine through. One is float, which helps in the trees too, but here in Vermont we’re generally making a lot of high-edge-angle, kind of stabbing, abrupt turns in the woods. Out in open terrain, you can really play with the ski’s float. For a ski that’s 102 mm underfoot, I think it’s really good. The rockered tip always wants to come back up for air. It’s like a playful dolphin, bobbing through the snow with a playful, fun-loving attitude. In fact, it’s so good, that I think the Rustler 10 could be a good choice for a powder day ski for an eastern skier. Western skiers need more width, but here in Vermont, 102 is plenty for most days, and allows for more versatility later in the day when things get tracked out.

That’s another characteristic of the Rustler 10 that’s pretty darn good. It’s not the most stable ski when you’re charging through choppy snow, but it’s certainly not bad, and given how much lighter it feels on your feet than some skis, I think it does quite well. The rocker profile and taper shape in the tip helps it eat up variations in the snow surface, then the camber and metal underfoot give it a strong, stable feel. I do think when you start going REALLY fast it has its limitations, but that’s fine with me. There are plenty of heavier, stiffer, more-cambered skis out there. If you’re mobbing through choppy snow, you might find the tip gets deflected now and then, but again, there are plenty of other skis for those skiers… even Blizzard would tell you that if you want limitless speed through variable snow, the Rustler 10 isn’t the tool.

Groomers inevitably come into play regardless of how good the snow is, and a ski that’s 102 mm underfoot should be able to handle some firm snow. This is where Blizzard’s heritage really shines through. Although the metal and the camber are both relatively short, they still provide a strong, stable feel. There’s even some good energy when linking carving turns on a groomer. The 180 cm length has a 17.5 m turn radius, which feels responsive and comes across the fall line nicely. What I find on the Rustler 10, however, is I have to stay relatively centered and balanced. If you’re trying to drive and aggressive turn in the forebody of the ski, you’ll likely flex it a little too much. I ever went over the handlebars once just making some turns on groomers. I’ve clearly been spending too much time on directional carving skis. Part of it was the snow surface, which was really soft and let me push through it and really bend the tip, but realistically probably most of it was user error. If you’re staying centered and balanced and initiating turns more laterally, the Rustler can link some smooth carves. And the bonus is it still has that smooth, quiet, Austrian/Blizzard feel.

I think the Rustler 10 has a lot of different applications. It could be, and has been used as, a daily driver for an eastern skier who loves trees and technical terrain. It’s pretty much perfect for that, which is evident in the fact that multiple skiers on our staff use it as their daily driver, and they’re all skiers who like to seek out new lines and spend most of their time in the trees. It could also be a powder day ski for an eastern skier. It’s a versatile weapon for an expert, which would accurately describe those skiers on our staff, but I think one of the most valuable aspects of this ski is the fact that it’s approachable for an intermediate. An intermediate could use these as their “introduction to freeride” skis and not be overwhelmed. Out west, it could be a daily driver for just about anyone. In softer, western snow, the Rustler 10 wouldn’t have the same limitations as it does on boiler plate here in the east. All in all, it’s a very valuable ski.

2022 Blizzard Rustler 10 Ski Review: Buy Now Image

Written by Jeff Neagle on 02/24/21

4 thoughts on “2022 Blizzard Rustler 10 Ski Review

  1. Tahoe skier. 5'8" 170 lb. Trying to decide between the 172cm Rustler 10 or the Fischer 102fr 177cm. Which of these is best on each of 1) groomers at speed, 2) Bumps, 3) hard pack snow 4) powder 5) trees. I am semi aggressive but aging and want a more forgiving ski but a one ski quiver here in tahoe.

    1. HI Timothy!
      My 2 cents:
      1. Rustler
      2. Fischer
      3. Rustler
      4. Fischer
      5. Fischer
      Ranger is lighter and quicker and a bit better of a floater as a result. Can get deflected by crud while the Rustler rides true.
      Have fun!
      SE

  2. Thanks so much for all the reviews. I'm looking for some new ski suggestions. I'm 6'2" and average 187-192 pounds. We usually ski UT (Snowbird, Alta, Deer Valley, Solitude) & CO (Breck, Aspen/Highlands/Snowmass). I'm an aggressive high intermediate skier that enjoys back mountain skiing through the trees, steeps, and moguls. I currently have a Blizzard Cochise and really enjoy them (178 w/ 108r25 - a few years old). I'm looking for another set of ski's to have as an alternative. Sometimes on the steeper back mountain terrain & chutes I have difficulty initiating turns. Also, although I love skiing the moguls with my Cochise I would love a ski that's easier to turn with that I could use on frontside moguls. I don't necessarily want to replace my Cochise so looking for another ski to have fun with. I usually get in 14-20 days a year with one of those trips being spring skiing in UT so not always fresh powder.

    Which Rustler would you suggest for me and what size? 9, 10 or 11? Thanks so much.

    1. HI Jeffrey!
      If you're not looking to replace the Cochise, I'd complement it with the Rustler 9, giving you that better mogul and front side performance. I'd go with the 180 in that ski. Have fun!
      SE

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