Expert Review: Blizzard Rustler 9 Skis · 2020
This review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I purchased with my own money in January of 2019.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I purchased with my own money in January of 2019.
The Blizzard Rustler 9 is an awesome all-mountain ski that excels on hardpack and groomers. It’s a great ski for intermediate and advanced skiers who want something that’s fast and stable. It’s also approachable enough for an athletic beginner who’s progressing to have a ski to grow into.
About the gear
- Model: 2020 Blizzard Rustler 9
- Size: 188
- Height: 5’10”
- Weight: 180lbs
- Experience: 18 years of snowboarding/skiing
- When I tested these: January 2019
- Days tested: 1
- Mount position: Factory Recommended
- Boots: 2019 Tecnica Cochise 130
- Boot Size: 28.5
- Bindings: 2020 Marker Griffon 13 Demo Binding
- Where I’ve used it: Copper Mountain, Colorado
- Terrain: Groomers, Bumps, Powder, Trees
How they perform
What I was looking for
- I tested the Rustler 9 as a frontside all-mountain ski. I was looking for something stable at speed for skiing groomers and firmer snow.
Why I chose this gear
- I demoed the Rustler 9 at an industry ski demo and did not buy the ski for myself. I own the Rustler 10 and like that ski skis better in powder and didn’t need to add the Rustler 9 to my quiver. However, now that my kids are getting old enough to ski, I’ll likely be ordering the Rustler 9 as a ski that will excel on groomers but is capable of skiing the entire mountain when I get to sneak away for a run by myself.
- I’m also considering the Atomic Maverick 95 Ti because it has a slightly more traditional shape, and I’ve really been enjoying Atomic skis lately. I don’t usually like skis with much tail rocker, but Blizzard did a great job with the Rustler line, and the 9 has a flatter tail than the wider options.
What I love about them
- Speed: The Rustler 9 feels great at high speeds. Its 94 mm waist makes it quick edge to edge, and it carves well. The titanol plate underfoot makes the ski feel really secure where you want it to. There is a little chatter in the tips where the titanol ends, but the subtle rocker profile helps keep the ski more planted.
- I think Blizzard’s Flipcore construction is most noticeable at high speeds. They mill some of the rocker into the core of the ski, so it doesn’t have to get molded as much when it is pressed. Letting the wood in the core be more relaxed makes any chatter very minimal without extending the metal all the way to the tip and tail.
- Edge hold: The Rustler 9 holds an edge very well. I got to ski some steeper terrain in them, and they felt solid. The Rustler 9 has a longer section of traditional camber than the 10 or 11, so this is where the ski really stands out to me compared to the rest of the line.
- Turns: A characteristic that stands out to me is the ski’s ability to make quick turns at high speeds. The 94mm waist makes it easy to put the ski on edge, and the 17m turning radius helps the ski respond quickly without feeling too aggressive. I was expecting the ski to feel a little more washy, but with the longer section of camber than the larger models, the Rustler 9 holds an edge well.
- Groomers: The Rustler 9 is a lot of fun on groomers. A lot of more versatile all-mountain skis give up some carving performance or feel like too much on a groomer, but the Rustler 9 is a great ski for groomers that can handle the rest of the mountain as well.
- Trees: The Rustler 9 is nimble and quick enough to turn to be a lot of fun in the trees. I’m usually skiing trees in powder, so it wouldn’t be my first choice, but when things get tracked out they have no problem finding their way through tight spaces.
- Durability: I can’t speak to the durability of the Rustler 9 specifically, but I own the Rustler 10, which uses the exact same construction, it’s just wider. I have put it through a lot, and it has held up great. Since the skis use the same construction I have no doubt that the Rustler 9 is built to last. In addition, working in a ski shop for 5 seasons I never saw a Rustler 9 come back for warranty or major repair.
- Weight: Blizzard does a good job keeping most of the weight near the center of the ski, so it feels like a heavier ski with a low swing weight.
- Stability: The Rustler 9 is a stable ski and relatively damp. It uses a titanol insert underfoot that tapers towards the tip and tail to dampen the ski. Underfoot feels stiff and stable, with the tips and tails being a little softer and more forgiving. It has a really subtle camber profile with only a few millimeters of rocker or camber when the skis are base to base, so It’s not a very poppy ski. I really like the camber profile of the ski because it lets me ride a long ski with a lot of camber that’s easy to press out of the ski when I need to turn them sideways quickly to scrub speed.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Powder: The Rustler 9 can hold its own in powder, and I’ve never had a bad time in powder on any ski. However, at 94mm underfoot, the Rustler 9 isn’t a great option as a powder ski. The shovel is only 127mm, so it doesn’t provide much float, and with less rocker than most powder skis, the Rustler 9 doesn’t pivot as well in deep snow. This is why I ski the Rustler 10. It handles powder much better and doesn’t give up much on hardpack.
- Moguls: The skis can handle moguls and tracked out powder fine, but the 188cm length was a lot of ski to do any proper mogul skiing.
- Park: The Rustler 9 isn’t a park ski. It’s more planted than poppy and has a more directional shape than a twin tip.
- Backcountry: The Rustler 9 would not make a great backcountry ski. For me, it’s too narrow for the winter skiing I do in Colorado and too heavy for big lines in spring. It could be a lot of fun to put a lightweight binding on the Rustler 9 and use it for short spring days, but I’m a weight weenie and prefer something much lighter when I’m putting in big days in the mountains.
- Switch riding: There is enough early rise in the tail for some switch riding on groomers, but the Rustler 9 is more directional and not great for skiing switch.
Favorite moment with this gear
I got to ski the Rustler 9 with a bunch of friends who would normally ski a wider ski, so being on a ski that carved so well was somewhat novel to us. We actually loved skiing groomers on the Rustler 9 and couldn’t believe how easy it was to ski at speed.
Value for the money vs. other options
At $650, the Rustler 9 is a great value. The rest of the Rustler line is $100 more expensive, and the Atomic Maverick 95 Ti retails for $700. The Maverick is probably a little more expensive to produce with its beveled tip and might ski powder marginally better, but the Rustler 9 is a really great value for a versatile all-mountain ski.
Blizzards Rustler 9 is a fun frontside-oriented ski that can handle anything. It’s the perfect ski for bluebird days when there’s not much fresh snow, and it’s an excellent ski for someone who wants to start accessing more of the mountain.