Feature Image: Frank Shine
Over the past 15 years, Blizzard has transformed itself from a high-end downhill brand into one of the most-awarded ski manufacturers in the world. It started with the introduction of the Bonafide and Cochise that ushered in a new era of freeride skis with high-end race construction but enough width underfoot to ski anything. They first dipped their toe into backcountry boards with the Zero G line, then found the middle ground with their freeride-focused Rustler skis. That evolution continues with the introduction of the Hustle lineup—a group of backcountry skis that are equally capable on the ascent as they are on the descent.
“The Hustle is a lineup of backcountry skis moving into the find-and-explore adventure segment of the sport,” Blizzard National Sales Manager Justin Heanue said. “It is less of a Rustler Light or Diet Rustler and is more geared towards someone skiing a Zero G that needs a little more gas.”
The new Hustle lineup takes a bit more than just its name from one of its predecessors, the Rustler. It shares the same lower mold, same size curve and same waist width story as the Rustler. However, it is a completely new top mold that features Carbon D.R.T.—a combination of carbon fiber and fiberglass to provide stability underfoot without adding weight. The TrueBlend Free woodcore of beech and poplar with paulownia stringers also helps to lighten up the skis without sacrificing their teeth on the downhill.
“The three different densities of wood really provide a pretty well-balanced and intuitive on-snow feel,” Heanue said. The addition of the third wood cuts weight and is just as powerful as it is playful. It is really the secret sauce for the Hustle line.”
Blizzard identified the need for an uphill ski line like the Hustle about three years ago shortly after launching the TrueBlend core in the Brahma, Bonafide and Pearl skis. Validation on European glaciers and summer testing on Mt. Hood ensured that the mix was right and the next adaptation of the TrueBlend core was born.
Designed to crush the uphill and excel at the down, the Hustle series is built for skiers who seek out fresh tracks in the backcountry, from untouched snow to the spring corn harvest. | SKIER: Greg Ernst, PHOTO: Frank Shine
The Hustle is composed of three unisex models—there’s no ‘shrink it and pink it’ here—this ski is perfect for female skiers as-is. There’s the Hustle 9 at 94 mm underfoot, the Hustle 10 at 102 mm underfoot (in the 180 cm length) or 104 mm (in the 188 cm length) and the Hustle 11 at 112 mm underfoot (in the 180 cm length), 114 mm (in the 188 cm length) or 116 mm (in the 192 cm length). At 3400 g/pr in the 180 cm length, the Hustle 9 can zip up the hill efficiently, while the Hustle 11, still only 3700 g/pr in the 188 cm length, is for true pow-seeking missions.
“The Hustle 10 has a particularly smooth, proportionate and progressive flex,” Heanue said. “As you work your way through the ski, it provides a tremendous amount of confidence and consistency at the top of and out of the turn.”
While the Hustle 10 may share some performance characteristics with some of Blizzard’s other, more downhill-focused planks, don’t get it twisted—this is not a resort ski. The Hustle line was specifically designed for the uphill but provides stability and versatility on the downhill and will not be pushed around when charging hard through diverse conditions.
“I see the Hustler as a ski for that dark horse in a ski town,” Heanue said. “I’m talking late nights and early ups. Someone that skis pow as much as they can before the sun comes up and then goes and tends bar to support their skiing habit.”