The Rustler series from Blizzard has had a major update for the 2023-24 winter and the Rustler 9, at 96mm under foot, continues to be the most versatile and accessible in the range. It makes an ideal first freeride all-mountain ski for anyone looking to expand their skills across all parts of the mountain. But it can definitely handle expert skiers too, it won’t disappoint.
Blizzard has introduced the FluxForm system, which is basically the metal layer that runs through the skis. Previously the Rustler 9 had an under foot layer but now this extends like forks towards both the tips and tail of the ski. The way it’s designed means the skis have a smooth flex pattern with a solid edge grip, allowing more forgiveness in variable snow conditions.
The shape of the rocker has also been changed, flattening it off and making it slightly longer. This adds more versatility in off-piste conditions such as powder and helps to create a more balanced ride.
On the hardpack, the grip feels super sharp and turn initiation is easy and smooth. With a turn radius of 16 metres, they prefer medium radius turns but the new metal plate allows the skis to pick up speed without too much vibration.
When you then take them into variable or bumpy terrain, they notch up a gear, with a playful, zippy feel that combines the kind of forgiveness that would help less technical skiers, but also provides enough oomph under the bonnet for more aggressive freeriders that want to push their limits.
In deeper snow, the float in powder is pretty decent for a 96mm ski and they feel forgiving, smooth and super responsive.
They would make an ideal ski for anyone, including a seasonaire, that is looking for a serious all mountain option veering on the freeride end of the spectrum but that still carves a smooth edge on the hardpack.