The Blizzard Rustler arrived a few years back, and the 10 deserves all the accolades it has received. As a reference ski in the low One Oh Something category, it has not only taken market share from many other brands, but even cannibalized some of its own from the Bonafide. Even so, it most likely did most skiers a favor, because the more-playful Rustler is a better option than the Bonafide for all but the strongest chargers. You may recall that I did a Cage Match between these two not too long ago.
Völkl has returned to its roots with the all-new Mantra 102. This ski oozes the DNA from the old Katana and even the traditional 98mm Mantra. The 102 is classic Völkl through and through, but even though it has its dare-I-say-unlimited top end, it still can be enjoyed at non-pass-losing speeds. I tested it last season in milk bottle weather, and where the Mantra passes the “Steadfast Rule,” no other ski inspired the same confidence in white-out conditions.
- Why choose the Rustler 10? You put a premium on versatility and a slight soft-snow bias. You hang out in the trees and even sniff out some bumps when they have a couple of inches of fresh on them.
- Why choose the Mantra 102? You want to charge, and you have no issue letting a ski make a couple of turns before it hits cruising speed. If wind buff is your jam, come to Mantra: you have a safe haven in the bosom of this stellar new ski.