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2024 Blizzard Rustler 11 Skis Review

By: Greg Louie, Product Content Writer & evo Seattle Bootfitter  |  Last Updated: June 2nd, 2023
2024 Blizzard Rustler 11 Skis Review

The Lowdown

A few years ago Blizzard built a freeride ski called the Gunsmoke, which didn’t really sell that well but had a reputation among those in the know in the industry – a majority of evo’s Seattle shop employees owned them, and loved them for their uncommon combination of playfulness and hard charging confidence. The ski was discontinued and replaced by the Rustler 11 as the marquee freeride comp ski, which featured a flatter profile at both tip and tail, a backbone of Titanal to lend dampness and stability, and had huge success as a freeride comp ski. I once suggested to our buying team that we built an SMU (“Special” product variant or colorway created for a single retailer or group) version of the Gunsmoke with some Titanal in it, and call it the “Smokin’ Ti,” but nothing came of it.

I’ve been a fan of both the Gunsmoke and the previous gen Rustler 11, owning multiple pairs of each. When I heard that Blizzard was tinkering with the construction of the Rustler series for 2024, my ears pricked up – not that I don’t trust Blizzard not to dilute the strain, but you never know if the "latest and greatest" will actually work better than what you know and love. When my long-term test pair of 186cm Blizzard Rustler 11’s arrived in the mail, I waited a few days to mount them – I normally mount the old 188cm Rustler 11 at +1cm to give my relatively small frame a bit of an advantage in maneuverability – and took my first few runs on the ski at the WWSRA (Western Winter Sports Representatives Association) industry demo days at Mission Ridge, WA. The idea was to get a sense of whether the factory mount (indicated by a pair of raised lines on Blizzard skis) was appropriate for my size and skiing style or whether I should still mount forward.

Shop the Blizzard Rustler 11 Skis

Technical Details

What’s changed for the 2024 model year?  Lots. Blizzard has added its proven TrueBlend core to the entire Rustler series, for one. This is a complex core that blends multiple types of wood in a tongue-and-groove construction that makes possible different flex characteristics in targeted parts of the ski. It makes it easier to combine a smooth and soft tip and tail with a very stout mid-section, and has been used in the frontside line of Blizzard skis for the past few years to great success.

FluxForm is Blizzard’s name for their new metal laminate configuration – where the previous era Rustlers featured a “spear” of Titanal in the center of the ski with a full width of Titanal underfoot, the new build uses Titanal around the perimeter of the ski in an unbroken strip (distinctly different than the Volkl Mantra/Mantra 102/Katana 108 construction) with a separate Titanal plate under the boot area. Then I laid the skis down next to the old Rustler 11. A bit more tip rocker, check. A fair amount more tail rocker, gotcha. Still the same 114mm wide waist, but the sizing has been shortened by 2 centimeters to 186cm. Wait, this rings a bell . . . this is essentially the old Gunsmoke shape with Titanal around the edges of the ski, precisely what I’d asked for 7 or so years ago!

For the record, the tip/waist/tail dimensions remain the same – 142mm/114mm/132mm – but with less contact, the radius changes from 21 meters to 20.5. The distinctly Gunsmokey rocker line should give the new design an edge in tricky thick pow and pivot moves in tight spaces, but we’ll see about that.
Sizes (cm)  164, 172, 180, 186, 192
Dimensions (Tip, Waist, Tail - mm) 142 - 114 - 132
Turning Radius (m) 20.5 @ 186cm
Weight (g) 2147g @ 186cm
Camber Profile Rocker / Camber / Rocker

Ride Impressions

Mission Ridge, WA
Mission was firm and smooth for the demo, and the trail crew had done a remarkable job of creating a thin layer of edge-friendly corduroy over the ice. The Blizzard Rustler 11 came alive under my feet, laying down high speed carves like a boss from turn one, tracking at speed with authority and confidence, and even making short radius “control” turns without hesitation. Remarkable, and they only got better with time. Euphoria and relief (that they hadn’t screwed up the ski) combined to make this test the highlight of my day, and the “on the line” mount seemed perfect. So much for that, and I set to mounting them shortly after returning from Wenatchee.

I mounted them up with a pair of tried-and-true Atomic STH2 16 WTR’s, which are being phased out in favor of the MNC version, but which I’ve stocked up on. For the tune, I’ve settled on a base edge bevel of 1 degree and a side edge bevel of 2 degrees for most of my skis over 100mm, which is a bit less aggressive than the stock Blizzard 1.1 and 2.8 degrees. I did my standard (these days) routine of panzer file, 200 diamond stone and 400 diamond stone, waxed twice and was ready to rock.

Crystal Mountain, WA
The next Wednesday brought the deepest snow we’d seen in 3 weeks in the Pacific Northwest, with 4 to 5 inches of heavy wet snow falling Monday then 8 or more inches coming down as the temperatures transitioned to mid-twenties Tuesday night. Exactly the “thick” powder conditions I expected the new Rustler 11 to excel in, and I wasn’t wrong. With every powder-hungry midweek skier out to make some tracks, the unspoiled goods didn’t last long, but the extra maneuverability of the new Blizzard Rustler 11 made ducking into and around the back of trees easy. This was the type of snow that when compressed formed some very solid lumps, so skiing at speed through the chop became challenging – the straightline stability of the new design isn’t quite on a par with the older 188cm Rustler 11, but I was more than willing to make that compromise for ease of turn initiation in tight quarters.

Dropping into the skier’s left chutes in Powder Bowl, steep entries dotted with rocks where missing a turn is not advisable, was smooth and intuitive (I’d have been “hopping” to get the older 188cm version around in these conditions).  When I say the straightline stability of the new Rustler 11 is not on par with the previous 188, I’m picking a fairly small nit. For one thing, my point of reference the past few weeks has been the 183cm Bonafide 97, which is an absolute truck with no realistic speed limit, but at top speed on most ski runs, say around 40-45 mph on a runout or gassing it back to the liftline, the 2024 Rustler 11 “wanders” a bit – you can almost feel the two Titanal rails arguing over which gets the love at times – the older ski, by contrast, is rock solid unless the snow is hard, when a mild tip flutter sets in. Neither is a deal-breaker, but lovers of the old design will notice the difference. If you already own the 2023 or older model of the Blizzard Rustler 11, I’d say the new one is of real benefit in tighter, technical terrain and takes less effort to ski well, but the older model is marginally better in wide open terrain when you’re fully confident in the ski’s ability to come through the fall line. I’m inclined to keep both the old and the new Rustler 11’s in the quiver, and pick for the day depending on what terrain I’m expecting.

Whistler, BC
I brought the new Blizzard Rustler 11 skis on vacation to Whistler, BC for the week. Though foggy and wet, there hadn’t been any real new snow for the past 2 weeks, so conditions were groomer zoomers with ongoing precipitation (yes, it was raining to the top on the first day). The 186cm Rustler 11’s were predictable and not without integrity on the firm snow, with the trademark grip that Blizzard extends all the way to their wider skis. The new ski definitely skis substantially shorter than the older generation 188cm, and though the tip doesn’t flutter past the DRT zone like the previous model, the overall sensation is of less stability at higher speeds. On the flip side, dropping into firm bumps in Spanky’s Ladder and the Blackcomb Glacier (not in, but immediately adjacent to Blow Hole) were much more confident in the sense that you knew you would make the first few turns without locking up the tails in the fall line at the wrong moment. Obviously, these weren’t the ideal conditions for a 114mm wide powder-freeride tool, but you can learn something valuable about the versatility and preferred stance of a wide ski on firm groomers and the Rustler 11 passed the test.

Wasatch Mountains, Utah
Two days in real pow tells you a lot about a ski and its powder chops. In this case, it told me that the new Rustler 11, though not quite what people think of as true powder width (typically this is 115mm plus) has what it takes in low moisture content blower, and will keep pace with most anything over 120mm wide for skiers with average stature.

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆


  • Plenty of flotation, behaves predictably at any speed in pow
  • Prefers a centered stance but doesn’t punish you for getting out of shape once in a while
  • The more rockered profile gives the ski an easy to pivot quality that’s a life saver in tight trees and narrow chutes.
  • The slight tendency toward “wandering” at speed on groomed surfaces isn’t evident at all in 8 inches of fresh
  • You can confidently pressure the tips in deeper snow without going “over the bars.”
  • Powder, in all of its glorious forms, is what this ski is made for. 


  • There are no real cons to this ski, unless you foolishly try to use it outside of its element - namely hard and icy groomed skiing. Even then, it's not that bad.

Who Is It For?

Pretty much every advanced to expert level skier (and many pros) are going to want a pair of the 2024 Blizzard Rustler 11’s in their quiver. Powerful and precise enough to still be fun on groomed snow, but a game changer in softer and deeper conditions, the Rustler 11 will be hard to beat in technical big mountain terrain and gladed skiing. For reference, I am 5’8” (171cm) tall and weigh around 172 lbs and feel that the 186cm is the right length. Taller and heavier skiers should upsize to the 192cm. Increased tail rocker will make this the right tool for freestyle-oriented skiers who plan on riding and stomping switch in deeper snow as well.

The Bottom Line

The new Blizzard Rustler 11 has plenty of flotation, behaves predictably at any speed in pow, and prefers a centered stance but doesn’t punish you for getting out of shape once in a while. The more rockered profile gives the ski an easy to pivot quality that’s a life saver in tight trees and narrow chutes. The slight tendency toward “wandering” at speed on groomed surfaces isn’t evident at all in 8 inches of fresh, and you can confidently pressure the tips in deeper snow without going “over the bars.” Powder, in all of its glorious forms, is what this ski is made for.

Shop the Blizzard Rustler 11 Skis
Blizzard Rustler 11 Skis Review Author

About the Reviewer

Name: Greg Louie 
Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 172 lbs
Size Reviewed: 186 cm
Location(s) & Conditions: Crystal Mountain, WA / Whistler, BC / Mission Ridge, WA / Wasatch Mountains, UT - Groomers, pow, and everything inbetween.
Mount Point: Factory Recommended
Bindings: Atomic STH2 16 WTR Bindings
Boots:  Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 120 Alpine Touring Ski Boots with Atomic Professional liner; Atomic Hawx Ultra 130 XTD Boa, Atomic Redster CS 130 Professional
Riding Style & Ability Level: "After my latest ACL replacement, with little to no meniscus in that knee, my air game is pretty weak, but I still feel the pull of the fall line and the lure of the untracked deep in my soul."

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