When the test cards hold comments like “ski of the future,” and “one of the best skis of all time,” you know a ski engineer detonated the status quo. That’s the case with the Best in Test winning Blizzard Rustler 10. Blizzard—an athlete and engineer driven Austrian company—saw a hole in the market and decided to fill it. The void? Until now, strong western skiers who mainly ski off-trail had to choose between burly big mountain skis made for charging powder and steeps like an ex-racer, or loose and playful freeride skis built to pivot, smear, and sluff. Nothing lived in the middle for those that would mix it up. That’s where the Rustler 10 comes in. Thanks to an entirely new construction that smartly places lightweight carbon in the rockered tip and tail, metal in the midbody, and a lightweight balsa and paulownia wood core backed by a super fiber woven with still more carbon, the Rustler is light and easy to throw around in soft snow, while still retaining Blizzard’s legendary thumping straight-line stability. We couldn’t find a type of terrain or skiing style that it didn’t excel at. The Rustler lets you transition from surfy tree skiing, to chalky steeps, to high-speed groomers, without wrestling the ski to get it to perform. As further testament to Blizzard’s commitment to the new Rustler line, each length—from 180cm to 192cm—features progressively fatter dimensions so that the float and stability is the same for somebody that’s 5’8” and 150 pounds, as it is for that 6’3” 210 pounder. Essentially, you’re buying custom skis. Throw in a slightly more aggressive sidecut—it’s an 18-meter turn radius—and the Rustler lets you ski how you want, when you want, and where you want. Swami Gripe: No complaints. We’d ski this 80 percent of days. Swami Like: As one of our testers said, “It’s the best one-ski quiver for a western skier we’ve ever tested.” It now defines the All Mountain Powder category. “The most fun I’ve had all week,” said a tester who skis 150 days a year.
skier Eric Balken | photo Lee Cohen| location Snowbird