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As part of the Outside+ membership, SKI readers get full access to the SKI’ Gear Concierge Slack channel, where our gear experts chime in to answer your gear questions while other community members weigh in with their own two cents. So far, the discussions have been rife with advice on ski models for all conditions and terrain, as well as some bootfitting tips and gift-giving advice. We’ve also seen the occasional showdown between two similar skis competing for the chance to impress our dear readers.
Case in point: Outside+ member and East Coast skier Adam Ray wants a one-quiver ski he can take out west to C0lorado, Utah, and Whistler.
“Currently have 2015 Blizzard Bonafide 180cm which I love, but are all skied out,” he writes. “I’m looking for something fun in the powder and trees mostly, but that won’t be too squirely on groomers (I don’t spend much time on them though). I live in the East, so I’ve only been able to demo the Rustler 10 in 172cm which was too short and unstable. I understand the Enforcer 104 at 179cm is heavier and more stable than the Rustler 10 at 180cm, but the Enforcer still sounds like it would be light and playful enough for powder. Has anyone skied both and have thoughts on what I should do? FYI, I’m 5’10, 195lb, expert skier.”
Below, SKI’s gear nerds weigh in on what’s better for someone looking for an all-mountain ski that can handle powder as well as the groomed—the Nordica Enforcer 104 Free, or the Blizzard Rustler 10?
Nordica Enforcer 104 Free vs. Blizzard Rustler 10
Nordica Enforcer 104 Free Construction and Sidecut
- Available Lengths (cm): 165, 172, 179, 186, 191
- Dimensions (mm): 134.5-104-123.5 (179)
- Core: Wood, Titanal, Carbon Insert
- Rocker Profile: Tip rocker, tail rocker
For the third year in a row, Nordica’s Enforcer 104 Free has topped the All-Mountain Wide category. While it was the top-ranked ski for Overall Impression and Stability at Speed, what stands out most for 2021-’22 is that it was first-in-class for both Flotation and Hard-Snow Integrity. These two categories are usually diametrically opposed, and winning both—plus earning a second-place score in Balance of Skills/Versatility—is pretty monumental.
Learn more: Essential Ski and Boot Terminology
Jenny Wiegand, SKI’s content producer and co-director of our annual gear test who grew up skiing in the Alps and racing on the East Coast in college, chimed in on this chat: “My brother (expert skier, skis around 60 days a year in Crested Butte) skis on the Nordica Enforcer 104 Free and can’t say enough about them. He loves the increased rocker in the tip and tail because it makes the ski easy to maneuver in bumps and tight, technical terrain. He can still lay them over on the groomed, too.
Blizzard Rustler 10 Construction and Sidecut
- Available Lengths (cm): 164, 172, 180, 188
- Dimensions (mm): 133-102-122.5 (180)
- Core: Wood, Titanal
- Rocker Profile: Tip rocker, tail rocker
While the technology and shape of Blizzard’s Rustler line haven’t changed much over the past few years, it’s worth pointing out that the skis function extremely well for freeride-oriented all-mountain planks. And while the Rustler 10’s big brother took top honors in the Deep Snow category, the skinnier All-Mountain Wide entry provides more well-rounded adaptability to snow that isn’t quite soft. “Burly enough to drive down the fall line regardless of conditions,” writes tester Jon Sexauer. “And playful enough to slash and pop off side hits.”
Wiegand added to the conversation: “Our gear testers also rave about the Rustler 10. This year, they gave it slightly higher scores in Playfulness than the Enforcer 104 Free, but thought it was significantly less versatile than the Enforcer 104. They didn’t like the Rustler 10 as much in crud, on hard snow, or cruising at speed. The Rustler 10 is a tad more forgiving, but slightly less responsive.”
While it’s a tough decision, the answer ultimately comes down to personal preference and how/where you ski. Adam ultimately went with the Enforcer 104 Free since he’s looking for a one-ski quiver—a ski that’s versatile and can handle everything.