Expert Review: Blizzard Rustler 11 Skis · 2022

Published on 12/05/2022 · 8 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I purchased with my own money in December of 2019.
Connor M, Ski Expert
By Ski Expert Connor M

Shredding deep powder in the Nelson, British Columbia backcountry. All photos courtesy of Connor M.

About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I purchased with my own money in December of 2019.

My take

The Blizzard Rustler 11s are an advanced to expert freeride ski that is built for the skier who wants a hard-charging ski with a playful feel. They’re hard charging yet quick and nimble.

Making it to the top of our ski objective for the day in Tomahawk Basin, La Plata Mountains

About the skis I own

  • Model: 2020 Blizzard Rustler 11
  • Size: 180cm

About me

  • Height: 5’9”
  • Weight: 155 lbs
  • Experience: 22 years skiing/snowboarding

Test conditions

  • When I bought these: December 2019
  • Days tested: 250
  • Mount position: Recommended, 8cm behind center
  • Boots: 2019 Dalbello Lupo AX 120
  • Boot Size: 25.5
  • Bindings: 2019 Armada Shift MNC 13
  • Where I’ve used it: San Juan mountains, Colorado; Nelson, British Columbia; Jackson Hole; Telluride; Wolf Creek; Alaska backcountry
  • Terrain: Everything from groomers and steep Alaska backcountry lines to steep-cliffed inbounds terrain. Chopped-up pow, untracked pow, ice

How they perform

High Speed Stability
Turn Ease

What I was looking for

I was seeking a freeride ski that I could ski inbounds as well as in the backcountry. I wanted a ski that could perform on the deeper days but still charge with stability through chopped-up crud. I also wanted this ski to be able to perform well on the hardpack/groomers so I could still have fun getting back to the chairlift after skiing a big line. I wanted the ski to be stiff enough to stomp airs off cliffs without giving out, but soft enough to feel playful and buttery on the way down. I didn't care about a full-twin tip for this setup and was looking for something with a stiffer tail.

Top Sheets

Why I chose this gear

I chose the Rustler 11s because it seemed to check all my boxes. At 112 underfoot, it wasn't so wide that it would fall in the powder-specific category, but had the capability of skiing the deep stuff. That width also allowed me the versatility to perform in other conditions. They were also built with a stiff tail and slightly softer tips, making them playful but stable where I needed them. Some other options I considered were 4FRNT Hojis due to the similar waist width and general chargey nature of that ski. I decided against them because I've had them before. And while they are a great ski, I was looking to get away from reverse camber for an inbounds/backcountry ski. I also thought about the Dynastar M-Free 108, but due to the weight and more aggressive nature, I decided against them. I honestly settled on the Rustler 11s because I had heard so many good reviews from so many of my friends who skied very similar to me, but I also loved the fact they came in a 180cm length, which is perfect for my height but a hard size to find.


What I love about them

  • Speed: This ski loves speed. It's a directional ski with a fairly stiff underfoot and tail. Even with the softer tips, I found there is very minimal chatter when at speeds.
  • Edge hold: The edge hold is fantastic on these skis. Even for a wider ski at 112 underfoot (width changes with length on these skis), they're quick edge to edge and don't want to lose an edge/grip.
  • Groomers: These skis were not necessarily made for groomers, however they still perform very well on them. Despite the ski’s tip and tail rocker, I still found it easy to get the ski on edge and carve medium to large turns.
  • Powder: They’re great powder skis. They float well without any unwanted tip dive. These skis definitely want to stay in the turn, though, so if I am making a slash or trying to butter them out, they'll do it. But they want to get right back into a turn as soon as I’m done.
  • Trees: I found these skis to be pretty quick and nimble for their dimensions. Are there skis that will be quicker through the trees? Yes, probably. But for the dimensions this ski is a great ski in the trees.
  • Moguls: Similar to trees, I think this ski performs super well in moguls; are there better skis for moguls? Yes. However this ski isn't intended for moguls. It's a powder/freeride ripper that performs super well in moguls for its dimensions. Quick and nimble, and I've noticed when I pushed the Rustler 11, I got more and more out of it: more responsiveness, more stability, and more precision. And that is a great trait for variable conditions or moguls.
  • Durability: They're very durable in my mind. I've put these skis through the test: lots of crashes and lots of rocks. I have obvious scratches and dings from over the years but zero delamination, and the edges are still intact. I feel as though I can ride them for another 10 years.
  • Weight: At 2170g, this ski isn't the lightest on the market, but it certainly isn't the heaviest. It's heavy enough to charge through crud but light enough to be reasonable for the skin track.
  • Stability: This ski feels completely stable throughout, unless I’m going mach 10 in a bit of chop, then the tips can chatter a bit. However, the slightly softer tips is what gives this ski the playfulness it has. So I personally think the bit of chatter the tips have is worth it so I can butter and shmear in the pow.

Top Sheet/Ski wear and tear - 3 ski seasons of hard inbounds and backcountry use. Minimal damage

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Park: These skis are not ideal for park riding. They are playful and fun but meant to be playful and fun in powder and other areas of the mountain. Again, they are directional, meaning they are meant to be skied forward and have a swing weight not ideal for spinning off park jumps.
  • Backcountry: They are a great backcountry ski. I personally use this ski as my main backcountry/touring ski and I love it. It's not the lightest ski on the market but it certainly isn't the heaviest. It’s light enough for the uphill yet burly enough to charge on the downhill.
  • Switch riding: With the directional shape, they are not the best ski for switch riding. That being said, they do still have a bit of a twin tip, just not a full twin tip. So I can ski switch, they just are not built for it.
  • Turns: The Rustler 11 doesn’t provide a lot of rebound out of a carved turn, but it’s smooth and intuitive. If one generally prefers to make more sustained, longer-radius turns as opposed to shorter, snappier turns, then they’ll really enjoy this ski.

Tip View

Favorite moment with this gear

I've skied on this ski all throughout the West, from Alaska spines to British Columbia pillow lines to Colorado couloirs, and it has performed like a dream in each of these situations. I think my favorite moment on this ski was when I skied gnar couloir off of Storm Peak in the San Juan mountains near Silverton mountain. I had wanted to ski this line for years, always staring up at it when venturing back into Velocity Basin for other backcountry missions. It was scary looking, but beautiful. One spring day everything came together: avy conditions were looking good, and the weather was supposed to be bluebird. Hiking up the backside of the line, temperatures began to warm slightly, not causing too much concern yet, however we were keeping an eye on it. Once we reached the top of the coulie, temps had risen a decent amount but the line was north-facing enough to be protected from the sun at least more than what we had climbed up. I thought the snow was going to be awful, but after dropping in I found the coulie had 3–4 inches of soft, protected pow on top of a firm base. It was smooth, carvable, fast, slashable, and just downright fun. Me and my ski partners that day were able to arc GS turns down this coulie sharing laughs and the biggest high-fives at the bottom. It was a dream line for me; I'll never forget it.

Value for the money vs. other options

In terms of price, I feel like the Rustler 11 is actually a pretty good bang for your buck. It is on the pricier side, however it’s not as expensive as more niche companies such as Icelantic (looking at their Nomad or Saba), or DPS (like their Pagoda line). It's super durable and the quality really shines in the construction.

Final verdict

This is a fantastic ski; it's a fun, intuitive ski that should work for a pretty wide range of skiers. It can be pushed pretty hard, yet it is not a demanding ski, and it doesn't feel particularly uncomfortable in any situation. It's an easy recommendation for a lot of intermediate to expert skiers looking for a directional yet playful powder ski.

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