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Blizzard Rustler 9 Review

Nimble and predictable, this hard-charging ski inspires confidence no matter how deep the powder gets
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Blizzard Rustler 9 Review (From deep days to dust on crust, the Blizzard Rustler 9 is our favorite mid-width powder ski.)
From deep days to dust on crust, the Blizzard Rustler 9 is our favorite mid-width powder ski.
Credit: Marc Rotse
Price:  $750 List
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Manufacturer:   Blizzard
By Bobby Garrett ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 13, 2023
78
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 11
  • Stability at Speed - 20% 8.0
  • Carving Ability - 20% 7.0
  • Powder Performance - 20% 10.0
  • Crud Performance - 20% 7.0
  • Terrain Playfulness - 20% 7.0

Our Verdict

The Blizzard Rustler 9 is our new favorite mid-waisted powder ski. For the past few years, the Rustler 10 has held this top spot. But even with a slightly smaller waist width of 98 mm underfoot – as opposed to the 104 mm waist width of the Rustler 10 – the Rustler 9 is even more versatile and still excels on powder days. This high-performance unit prefers soft snow, which is in keeping with Blizzard's Rustler family tradition. Marketed as a freeride ski, hard-charging expert skiers will be happy ripping this ski across the mountain playground and even happier with the deep turns to enjoy on a powder day. To see how the newest Rustler stacks up to the competition, check out our review of the best all-mountain skis for men.
REASONS TO BUY
Superior flotation
Versatile
Predictable
Nimble in powder
REASONS TO AVOID
Expert skier focused
On the heavier side
Editor's Note: We added the Blizzard Rustler 9 to our lineup on December 12, 2023.

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Blizzard Rustler 9
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award  Best Buy Award 
Price $749.95 at REI
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$449.99 at Evo
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$519.99 at Amazon
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$524.97 at Evo
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$550 List
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Bottom Line Fantastic powder performance for the hard-charging, expert all-mountain skierWhether you forgot to check the conditions report or are just skiing at a new hill, fret not with this standout all-mountain performerThis ski means business and is one of our favorites for all-mountain carvingKeep yourself moving to dance down the mountain on this skiA solid blend of performance and value for the intermediate-to-advanced skier
Rating Categories Blizzard Rustler 9 Volkl M6 Mantra Nordica Enforcer 94 Atomic Maverick 95 Ti Salomon QST 92
Stability at Speed (20%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
Carving Ability (20%)
7.0
9.0
10.0
7.0
8.0
Powder Performance (20%)
10.0
8.0
5.0
8.0
5.0
Crud Performance (20%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Terrain Playfulness (20%)
7.0
6.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
Specs Blizzard Rustler 9 Volkl M6 Mantra Nordica Enforcer 94 Atomic Maverick 95 Ti Salomon QST 92
Waist Width 98 mm 96 mm 94 mm 95 mm 92 mm
Sidecut (Tip-Waist-Tail Width) 131.5-98-121 mm 135-96-119 mm 127-94-115.5 mm 129-94.5-113 mm 129-92-117 mm
Available Lengths 162, 168, 174, 180, 186 cm 163, 170, 177, 184, 191 cm 165, 172, 179, 186,191 cm 172, 180, 188 cm 152, 160, 168, 176, 184 cm
Length Tested 186 cm 177 cm 179 cm 180 cm 184 cm
Turn Radius 18 m 18 m 17.1 m 19.3 m 16 m
Camber Profile Tip/Tail Rocker Tip/Tail Rocker Rocker/Camber/Rocker Tip/Tail Rocker Tip/Tail Rocker
Manufacturer Claimed Weight 8.5 lbs 9.0 lbs 8.9 lbs 7.9 lbs 8.6 lbs
Core Material Freeride Trueblend Woodcore Poplar, Beech, Double Titanal Performance Wood (Proprietary), Double Titanium, GR400 Carbon Glass Poplar, Fiberglass, Titanium Poplar

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Rustler 9 best suits expert skiers who enjoy exploring the mountain and skiing aggressively. Blizzard incorporates both their Freeride Trueblend woodcore and an all-new FluxForm technology into this ski. Our testers could push themselves and easily maintain high speeds in powder conditions with these beasts.

Performance Comparison


blizzard rustler 9 - if your day is going to look like this, there is no other ski we'd...
If your day is going to look like this, there is no other ski we'd rather reach for than the Blizzard Rustler 9.
Credit: Marc Rotse


Stability at Speed


Maintaining stability at speed is tricky for a powder-focused ski like the Rustler 9. It's common for many attributes that make a great powder ski to adversely affect performance at high speeds. Blizzard combats this problem with their Fluxform technology, which tapers a layer of titanal from a solid core at the center to two individual strips along the edges. The wider tail shape promotes stability at the end of higher-speed turns, which allows the Rustler 9 to feel precise through turn transitions.


Even with its preference for soft snow, the Rustler 9 can still perform well at speed and remains competitive with other firm-snow-focused skis. Like the Rustler 10, we experience some tip vibration at the top end. However, this turned out to be more of a useful “feature” that helped our testers to feel what was coming next – contributing to the overall stable feel of the Rustler 9 at speed.

blizzard rustler 9 - for aggressive skiers who want to dig in and rip, this ski is...
For aggressive skiers who want to dig in and rip, this ski is particularly fun in packed, off-piste terrain.
Credit: Marc Rotse

Carving Ability


Despite its wider 98 mm waist width, the Blizzard Rustler 9 is able to transfer from edge to edge relatively quickly. Blizzard's Trueblend Free Woodcore technology combines beech, poplar, and paulownia wood to create a flex profile that had us smiling while carving up groomers. This careful balance of power is apparent when skiing powder as well.


The Trueblend Free Woodcore is specially designed to increase flex stiffness towards the middle of the ski, so the edge hold from the Rustler 9 is solid underfoot. Although it took some patience, once we were comfortable on these skis our testers experienced no chatter while carving medium-radius turns.

blizzard rustler 9 - it's not quite a front-side carver, but the rustler 9 sure could...
It's not quite a front-side carver, but the Rustler 9 sure could fool us into thinking differently.
Credit: Marc Rotse

Of course, other skis built specifically for on-piste performance scored higher in this metric. But Rustler 9 still wants to turn and is much more responsive than most other playful skis we tested. Although it's not our first choice for carving groomers, we're never disappointed to look down and see the Rustler 9 strapped to our feet on a cold, crisp morning.

blizzard rustler 9 - different from carving on groomers, the rustler 9 provides plenty of...
Different from carving on groomers, the Rustler 9 provides plenty of snap to bring around a turn in variable conditions.
Credit: Marc Rotse

Powder Performance


We continue to reach for the Rustler 9 on powder and storm days. Blizzard's Trueblend Free Woodcore is really at home when the ski is submerged – it even charges through the heavy stuff. The Rustler 9 maintains its progressive ski flex with a design that gradually tapers to a softer flex pattern near the ski tips. The tip width and progressive stiffness allow this ski to compress the snow under you as you move through it, maintaining its composure even when tipping in.


Similar to its updated wider family members, the Rustler 9 has that special sauce that crushes through wind drifts and heavy snow. Designers carefully regulate material selection through different sections of this ski, resulting in overlapping stiffness zones. Blizzard's delicate ski-flex blend is an important part of their modern product design, which makes for fun skis that are equally forgiving as they are poppy.

blizzard rustler 9 - the strong flex and pop of this ski allows it barrel through...
The strong flex and pop of this ski allows it barrel through practically any wind lip.
Credit: Marc Rotse

There are those storm days when you know the snow will eventually pile up, but there's only an inch or so on the ground in the morning. With its balance of powder performance and stability at speed, these are the days that seem to be specially made for the powerful, mid-fat Rustler 9. Whether you are charging through blower pow in tight trees or a windswept open back bowl, this ski can maintain its speed so you can keep the throttle pinned to the floor.

blizzard rustler 9 - ah, the joys of packed powder! post-storm romping is where the...
Ah, the joys of packed powder! Post-storm romping is where the Rustler 9 really excels.
Credit: Marc Rotse

Crud Performance


Based on its design and overall performance, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that the Rustler 9 skis crud relatively well. The strong edge grip and feedback from the front of the ski promote a consistent, confidence-inspiring ride. Even with the occasional abrupt rebound, we always felt prepared for whatever the next turn was ready to dish us.


As with any big, aggressive ski, it is crucial to stay focused and over your tips so that you're ready for the unexpected. Situations like traversing in low visibility are always treacherous, and we were happy on those days to have the Rustler 9 strapped to our feet. We plowed confidently through spicy conditions on this ski by keeping the speed down and the intensity of our tempo high. This allows this ski to remain stable underfoot while easily flexing in the tip and tail to adapt to variable conditions.

blizzard rustler 9 - as long as you stay on top of it, the rustler 9 will confidently...
As long as you stay on top of it, the Rustler 9 will confidently navigate any type of mixed terrain.
Credit: Marc Rotse

Terrain Playfulness


The Rustler 9 is just as playful as some other top performers in the all-mountain ski category. It offers just the right mix of pop, flex, and agility that translates into a super playful ski. Every hit and drop on this ski is more fun than the last.


The energy of the Rustler 9 is most evident when bouncing through moguls or divots. The softer tip is forgiving on takeoff, while the slightly stiffer, relatively wider tail allows for the perfect amount of support on your landing. Although none of the skis we tested are true park skis, the Rustler 9 may give your skinny twin tips a run for their money.

blizzard rustler 9 - you might be able to see it, but we have a huge smile hiding behind...
You might be able to see it, but we have a huge smile hiding behind that powder cloud.
Credit: Marc Rotse

Should You Buy the Blizzard Rustler 9?


The Rustler 9 is a powerful, versatile powder ski and will confidently support an aggressive and athletic expert skier. Blizzard integrates the right mix of materials and innovative technologies to create a super soft-snow slayer. Even with its all-mountain-sized waist width, our team did not shy away from low-angle powder stashes. The Rustler 9 is ready to explore everywhere you want to go and is poised to handle whatever you find in the places you unexpectedly find yourself.

What Other All-Mountain Skis Should You Consider?


The Blizzard Rustler 9 is a tremendous all-mountain ski that will help the aggressive expert skier “press send.” If you are more of an intermediate or advanced skier, the award-winning Volkl M6 Mantra is a bit more forgiving and more approachable. While the Rustler 9 is best suited for softer conditions, a ski like the Nordica Enforcer 94 is a better option if conditions at your local hill are more often on the firmer side.

Bobby Garrett