Model year: 2022-2023
Size: 180 cm
Radius: 17 m
Technology: wood core, carbon, full sidewall, tip and tail rocker
About this ski
Blizzard has had a very successful freeride line for years: the Rustler line. They have also had a very successful touring line: the Zero-G. Now, they have something in between: the Hustle. ‘Light-weight freeride touring skis’, Blizzard calls them. The Hustle 9 shares its dimensions with the Rustler 9 (the Hustle 10 and Rustler 10 too; the Hustle 11 and Rustler 11 as well). What is different, though, is that the Hustle has no metal in them. Just carbon stringers.
Carbon instead of metal – that usually leads to a lighter ski, but often also a softer flexing ski. In the case of the Hustle 9 (compared to the Rustler 9), there are indeed some 210 grams shaved off the already not-too-heavy freeride model. The Hustle comes in at 1750 grams per ski (180). Although lighter than the heavier brother it has been based upon, it is still some 500 grams heavier than the touring-specific Zero G 95 in 178 length. Weight-wise, the Hustle is still a compromise. Or rather, it is still more of a freeride ski than a touring ski. Why this 200-gram weight loss warrants an entirely new ski line is a bit of a mystery to me, though.
Smooth, if you ski it
Nonetheless, the Hustle 9 skis great. Another side-effect of carbon replacing metal is often that skis lose some dampening properties and can become ‘pingy’ (that rattling, hollow sound and feel on hard snow). The Hustle 9, however, does not experience that at all. In fact, I find it smoother than its lively and active counterpart, the Rustler 9. The Hustle is less jumpy than the Rustler and feels a bit more planted.
The full sidewall – a surprisingly heavy part of a ski – must be responsible for that. Compared to the Zero G, for example, much of the Hustle’s smoothness, stability, and indeed weight come from the sidewall (which the Zero-G only has directly under the binding). But that smoothness and stability are only there in deliberate, purposeful turns, either skidded or carved. When you just let the skis slide without any skier input, you immediately feel the rattling and pingyness of the carbon. So ski it consciously, and it’s a great all-condition ski.
Set aside the reason for this lighter brother of the very successful Rustler. Just don’t think about 200 grams warranting a new ski line. Think about those stable turns though, in any condition. These skis are sweet as long as you ski them actively.
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