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Blizzard Rustler 11 vs M-Free 108 vs Kastle ZX108 as my third ski for powder/soft days

Yepow

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I'm an early-advanced skier on piste, 5' 10", 190 lbs, athletic 47 year old. I ski 25-30 days a year in the Canadian rockies. I'm certainly weaker and less confident off-piste. I have QST 99s and Stockli Laser AXs for all mountain and frontside respectively. I find the QSTs not enough for deeper days at Fernie, and I'm trying to do more with my sons, both of whom like off-piste and powder more than I have traditionally done. I'm not aggressive off-piste yet (tentative at times) and probably qualify as a strong intermediate off-piste.

I'm looking for a directional (mostly directional anyhow, I don't ski switch) powder-ISH ski for off-piste skiing in soft snow on powder days. Realistically, I am ALWAYS at a resort, and rarely get completely untouched lines, so probably performance in chop in not-so-steep bowls that others have skied on with fresh, soft snow is more important than flotation in really deep untouched. Since I'm not super aggressive, I'm not thinking much about hard chargers, more on things that let me be quick getting down the hill and not freaking out because I can't turn twice quickly in the bumps or worry about a tree or something.

I have thought about the Rustler 11 (180cm, 112mm) and the MFree 108 (182cm, 108mm) and Kastle ZX108 (184cm, 108mm). I think the QST blank might be a little stiff and I'd like to try another manufacturer since I have a Salomon ski already.

I'm not super concerned about groomer performance, since on non-powder/soft snow days, I'll just ride the stocklis on a groomer day or the QSTs on a mixed day. I expect these skis to get less riding than my other two, but on deep days at Fernie to have some float and flow rather than sinking and doing 2 turns and stopping, repeat, and burning out my quads in an hour.

I like the idea of a little metal, maybe, like the partial of the MFree108 or the Rustler, for not just getting knocked around in the chop? But maybe that's not super important. All cost exactly the same. I'm looking for something with a relatively easy releasing tail, as I had found in soft snow moguls that the couple of times I took the hard-biting stocklis that I was hooking up. I'm tentative enough as it is, need some smeariness there I think :)

Any thoughts about the Rustler 11 vs MFree108 vs ZX108 for my particular choosiness? I suspect none of these are a complete error, TBH...
 

Tom K.

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I've never been a Kastle guy, but the ZX line seems to get a lot of love in ways that appeal to me -- also an unapologetic directional skier who has pretty much hated every forward-mounted ski he tried.

Not on your list, but my Mindbender 108s are my favorite resort pow ski ever. By a lot.
 
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Yepow

Yepow

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ooh! I had thought they had quite a lot of metal and a longer turning radius? (looks like about 23m)... I see that they are partial, perhaps a little more than the rustler but not all metal. What do you like about them so much?
 

Ken_R

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Of those the Kastles and the M-Free are the ones that grab my interest, different skis though. I have skied the Rustler 11's and its an awesome ski but might be too much ski for what you are looking for although I did demo the 192cm length.

 
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ski otter 2

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Of the three skis you mention, I've not skied that Kastle, but of the other two, by far the Rustler 11/180 would be most versatile, and what I'd recommend probably. At that length, it would have a speed limit - not a charger, playful and fun. But it both floats and does powder better than the M Free 108 (more of a playful crud ski) for your purposes. In broken up chop, both skis are about equal, though different. In more crud, again, a speed limit to the Rustler 11 at that short a length at your size (but probably also to the M Free 108 at that short a length, to some extent, especially in moguls). But at slower speeds crud and chop would be much better, not as tiring, on either - a real improvement over what you have, with either of those. Both great skis.

Yes, the Blank is more of a pure crud ski, and designed to be a charger. Dialed in for that. Not as appropriate, in your case. It would be too short at the lengths you are likely to buy, for your size, though, to do what it does best. The wrong ski for what you describe.
 

Philpug

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Yepow

Yepow

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Of the three skis you mention, I've not skied that Kastle, but of the other two, by far the Rustler 11/180 would be most versatile, and what I'd recommend probably. At that length, it would have a speed limit - not a charger, playful and fun. But it both floats and does powder better than the M Free 108 (more of a playful crud ski) for your purposes. In broken up chop, both skis are about equal, though different. In more crud, again, a speed limit to the Rustler 11 at that short a length at your size (but probably also to the M Free 108 at that short a length, to some extent, especially in moguls). But at slower speeds crud and chop would be much better, not as tiring, on either - a real improvement over what you have, with either of those. Both great skis.

Yes, the Blank is more of a pure crud ski, and designed to be a charger. Dialed in for that. Not as appropriate, in your case. It would be too short at the lengths you are likely to buy, for your size, though, to do what it does best. The wrong ski for what you describe.
Wow, thanks! Yeah, a speed limit at the size doesn't sound like a giant issue to me! My problem isn't "wow this won't be stable straightlining thru crud at 55mph" it's "do I have confidence to get forward through this stuff and not just stop every 3 turns."
 

OnEdge

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I demo'd the Rustler 11 and MFree 108, long size in each. I never got along with the Rustler and found it clunky and not fun (at least on my feet). I did like the MFree a fair bit and found it easy to ski in both tight and wide open spots, and confidence inspiring (plenty of edge grip) in spotty situations although it took be a bit to realize it.

All that being said I ended up buying the Nordica Enforcer 110 Free. All of the good of the Dynastars but more pivoty/slashy/fun when I wanted it to be but also a surprising good carving and groomer ski for the width. The Enforcer also seemed to at least feel better to me when hammering through chopped up garbage, quite possibly because of the weight. I would have been happy on the MFree, but I'm glad I waited to ski the Enforcer.

I'm 6'2" and 230, and 45 years old - 50 plus days a year in the rockies. I got to demo all three on powder(ish) days 3/4 inches with some deeper spots.

Fun quiver spot to shop for. Enjoy!
 

GregK

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Was going to suggest the 185cm Enforcer 110 as well. Very easy going, will have good float and be great in crud. Just get the last few years of it as it’s been updated since it came out. Less swing weight, more energetic and even better in crud than the original version.
Better sizing for you as well as the 192cm MFree or 188cm Rustler 11 would be more appropriate for your size but might get cumbersome in tight spots.

The 22 Enforcer 110 will also be 30-40% off in most places soon too as stores sell off their 22 stock.
 

Ken_R

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I forgot to recommend the Icelantic Nomad 115 in 191cm. Fantastic ski. Very easy to ski even in powder bumps and tight trees. None of this center mount nonesense, its rearward mount will give you plenty of length up front to plane over the snow and not too much tail to hang you up. I have demoed this ski twice and once properly in 4-6" powder at LL.
 
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Yepow

Yepow

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Interesting that a couple of you are suggesting the Enforcer; from what I understand that's a really hard charging ski... I am afraid that a 185 in a charger will be a lot of ski for me... I'm also aware all of the other skis I'm talking about are pretty short for a resort powder ski (180-184) with so much tip and tail rocker, but was wondering that given my comparative inexperience in powder, maybe that's not a horrid thing? Certainly will have a low top end, but in a ski when I'm only skiing relatively slowly on soft snow, is that so bad?
 

Crank

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Have you considered Head Kore 105 (really 107)?
 

OnEdge

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Based on the reviews I've read, the Enforcer 110 isn't the chargenest ski of the bunch, but its weight does give it some gravitas. When I took the 191 of the rack I got some raised eyebrows, but even that size was plenty playful. And I'm a skier who is still on the steep upward slope of the off piste learning curve.
 
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Yepow

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I'd be at 192cm long in a 107mm in a Kore; since I have a 99mm ski I was looking for something a little wider (108-112) than a 105mm at 184cm to differentiate a bit. But I'll take a look at the reviews...
 

Crank

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I'm bigger than you and have a 189cm. Plenty long, plenty of support up front to float me. And it's 107mm at the waist. Not sure why they call it 105.
 
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Yepow

Yepow

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Based on the reviews I've read, the Enforcer 110 isn't the chargiest ski of the bunch, but its weight does give it some gravitas. When I took the 191 of the rack I got some raised eyebrows, but even that size was plenty playful. And I'm a skier who is still on the steep upward slope of the off piste learning curve.

Fair enough. You're 4 inches taller, 40 pounds heavier, which makes such a ski a lot easier to drive, and ski double what I do in a year, but some of that will be canceled out by the fact that you were on 191s (which would be a monster ski for me at my skill level with this stiffness...)
 

Tom K.

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I forgot to recommend the Icelantic Nomad 115 in 191cm. Fantastic ski. Very easy to ski even in powder bumps and tight trees. None of this center mount nonesense, its rearward mount will give you plenty of length up front to plane over the snow and not too much tail to hang you up. I have demoed this ski twice and once properly in 4-6" powder at LL.

I've never skied the Nomad 115 but it sounds great.

Or the Nomad 105, which has a 111 waist (?!) in 191.
 

GregK

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Interesting that a couple of you are suggesting the Enforcer; from what I understand that's a really hard charging ski... I am afraid that a 185 in a charger will be a lot of ski for me... I'm also aware all of the other skis I'm talking about are pretty short for a resort powder ski (180-184) with so much tip and tail rocker, but was wondering that given my comparative inexperience in powder, maybe that's not a horrid thing? Certainly will have a low top end, but in a ski when I'm only skiing relatively slowly on soft snow, is that so bad?
To get the proper float for your weight, you should be looking above the 180cm sizes. That said, skis like the Enforcer 110 have much more rocker than a narrower ski would so when it’s flat on the snow, it feels and pivots like a much shorter ski would.

People always assume that the Enforcer line are these demanding chargers but that’s definitely not the case especially with the more even stiffness and larger tail splayed Free line. The metal used in the Enforcers is to dampen the ski and add some weight which helps improve it’s performance when things get rough.
Skis like the Kore(any one of them) are actually much stiffer in flex, much lighter in weight with less rocker and tail splay. They are actually MORE demanding in bumps and glades and significantly more work in crud and tracked up snow as they are easily bucked around.
You are working more to “keep them in line” Vs effortlessly letting an Enforcer or similar ski track through variable terrain. Inexperienced powder skiers will see how easy and fun it can be on skis like an Enforcer 110.

Currently skiing Revelstoke and Lake Louise/Sunshine and take yearly trips out West including Fernie a few years ago. The amount of Enforcer Frees and MFree skis I see rented or owned out here is insane but they are the perfect ski for your needs. You just fall a little closer to the Enforcer 110 lengths than the MFree 108 ones, so that’s why I’d go that route.
 
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Yepow

Yepow

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To get the proper float for your weight, you should be looking above the 180cm sizes. That said, skis like the Enforcer 110 have much more rocker than a narrower ski would so when it’s flat on the snow, it feels and pivots like a much shorter ski would.

People always assume that the Enforcer line are these demanding chargers but that’s definitely not the case especially with the more even stiffness and larger tail splayed Free line. The metal used in the Enforcers is to dampen the ski and add some weight which helps improve it’s performance when things get rough.
Skis like the Kore(any one of them) are actually much stiffer in flex, much lighter in weight with less rocker and tail splay. They are actually MORE demanding in bumps and glades and significantly more work in crud and tracked up snow as they are easily bucked around.
You are working more to “keep them in line” Vs effortlessly letting an Enforcer or similar ski track through variable terrain. Inexperienced powder skiers will see how easy and fun it can be on skis like an Enforcer 110.

Currently skiing Revelstoke and Lake Louise/Sunshine and take yearly trips out West including Fernie a few years ago. The amount of Enforcer Frees and MFree skis I see rented or owned out here is insane but they are the perfect ski for your needs. You just fall a little closer to the Enforcer 110 lengths than the MFree 108 ones, so that’s why I’d go that route.

Very interesting, thanks! I really would have steered far away from an Enforcer 110 at 185, thinking that the apparently softer flex in a MFree108 (and shorter length) might be better. But it's all so hard to know just from reviews. Maybe should just take the plunge on one of these and try it out, and sell it for $200 less if I don't like it after 4 days. The good news is I think I've talked myself out of a DPS112; maybe it would be great but I can currently buy 2.08 pairs of either of the above for less than the DPS :)
 

GregK

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Deals on all 22 skis starting now if not already, so a very low risk gamble at 30-40% off.
The light DPS 112 is a surfy, easy to turn ski at slow speeds in untracked snow but falls apart in tracked snow, variable snow and not as fun in bumps or on groomers vs the Enforcer 110. Just saved you more money! Haha

The MFree 108 has similar flex to the Enforcer 110 in the tip/tail but the E110 much softer and forgiving underfoot. The MFree 108 in 182cm is more surfy because of even deeper rocker lines and increased taper with the 192cm version being more “serious”. The 185cm Enforcer 110 is a happy medium between being surfy and easy on soft snow but still giving decent grip on groomers.
 

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