If Blizzard’s lightweight Zero G and its ripping Rustler had a ski town hookup that resulted in an offspring, that love child would be the Hustle.
A ski made for skiers who dawn patrol for turns and who aren’t afraid to don a headlamp in search of after-work pow, this backcountry-specific ski is hard-charging but light, as comfortable in Silverton’s steeps as niggling through birches and maples in Vermont’s backcountry.
In the 3 weeks I’ve skied it, no matter what the day dished out, I was stoked to have the Hustle underfoot.
Blizzard’s Hustle Review
In short: After skiing the Hustle for 3 weeks, it’s become my go-to for backcountry skiing. I mounted mine, a Hustle 11, which is 114 underfoot, with ATK pin tech bindings. If you like to hit big drops, a Marker Kingpin would be a great option. And if this is your only pair of skis and you might also do a resort day or two, you could consider a Salomon Shift.
If a ski is wide enough, it’s usually going to feel great skiing powder, and this one did. But it also managed variable, punchy, and refrozen snow way above its weight class. I expected it to get deflected and pushed around. But when I focused on my line, even in suboptimal conditions, this ski saw me through.
Light on the Uphill and Stable on the Downhill
The Hustle is a backcountry-specific ski, and Blizzard intends it to perform when driven aggressively by an experienced skier. If you’re looking for an all-mountain ski that you can mount with a Salomon/Atomic Shift for half your days riding the lift and the other half skinning, pick a different ski. If you want a ski that skis itself while you check out the scenery, this isn’t the board for you.
But if you’ve been searching for the one backcountry ski that’s light enough that you won’t think about the ski with every step, and high-performance enough that you won’t ever stress you don’t have enough ski for the descent, buy the Hustle.
It’s not for racing, or for skiers who dance on their skis instead of driving them. The Hustle is for passionate backcountry rippers who hustle to get the goods.
To drive that point home, instead of shipping the Hustle out to its athletes, Blizzard sought out ski town hometown heroes, men and women who click in on Teton Pass, Vermont’s Teardrop, Carbondale’s Marble Mountain, or Red Mountain Pass so often they deserve a reserved parking spot with their name on it. That’s who will be featured this fall in the brand’s marketing campaign.
The Hustle uses the latest version of Blizzard’s TrueBlend Free Woodcore, a Hustle-specific version of the technology Blizzard introduced in the Brahma, Bonafide, Black Pearl, and other front-country skis in 2020. The core is softer in the tip and tail, medium just above and below the center, and stiff in the center.
Blizzard’s Carbon DRT — Dynamic Release Technology — gives the Hustle dampness and stability without a weight penalty, and without compromising playfulness. Six high-density carbon stringers overlay the wood core to give the Hustle snap and pop, and buttery smoothness throughout every turn.
The Hustle has the same shape as Blizzard’s Rustler, but inside it’s all-new. Bidirectional carbon is strong in multiple directions. Combined with the TrueBlend core noted above, the brand aims to quiet the “nervous feel” that sometimes comes with carbon in a carbon ski.
Blizzard Hustle Made for Hardcore Backcountry Skiers
Blizzard’s Hustle is less weight-centric than the Zero G — it’s sprightly on climbs, with big mountain dependability on the descent. The ski has bite and it doesn’t chatter. Whether the skin track was steep and technical or cruisy, the Hustle was efficient and dependable.
In 2 days of booting Silverton Mountain, followed by a classic Colorado San Juans ascent of Battleship and a ski down that spanned creamy, untracked powder that transitioned into refrozen tracks and slough, I never thought about my skis. My full focus was on my line and fun in the mountains.
Skiing through avy debris and refrozen chunder, the skis stayed afloat, I didn’t get tossed around. Getting the Hustle on edge was intuitive. And in all conditions, the ski felt stable with a deliciously round flex.
Frank Shine, Blizzard’s North American Marketing Director, said that’s because the metal in a ski can create a hinge — it can feel stiff at certain points in a turn, whereas the wood and carbon Hustle just feels smooth. The exact construction of the wood core as well as the length of the carbon stringers changes with the ski waist and length.
In all sizes, the construction makes this a ski you can drive, a backcountry board with a gas pedal, with full wood in tip and tail that prevent the tuning-fork feel of too much carbon.
Can the Blizzard Hustle also handle resort laps? Sure. It carved chalky groomers with delightful ease. But if that’s where you’ll spend most of your time, pick a different ski.
Blizzard said this ski isn’t for everyone, which is refreshing in an era when a lot of brands are doing their best to build one ski to do it all. This one is unapologetically for experienced, avid backcountry skiers.
And if that’s you, you’re going to shout from the mountain tops with joy. All the mountain tops. Because you won’t be able to get enough laps on this ski.
‘Not Every Skier Hustles’
“Not every skier hustles,” said Frank Shine, Blizzard’s North American Marketing Director. “Many skiers prefer leisurely lift laps and après, and trust me, that will always be a good time and part of our culture. But we wanted to build a collection for the skiers who live for early ups and after hours.
“The ones who hit the skin track every chance they get and bust ass as hard as they ski, all to keep the dream alive one winter after another. Hustle is our ode to skiing culture at its core, and we’re really proud of it.”
Blizzard’s Hustle + Koala Skins
Precut Koala skins are available for every length and width Hustle. After trying the Koalas, we opted to buy Pomocas and trim as needed. The folded Koalas were tough to pull apart, didn’t seem to maintain stickiness when they were cold or wet, and the tail clips were fickle.
One slid off the tail strap when I was pulling the skins apart to put them on my skis. And on a cold day on Red Mountain Pass, we had to heat the tail straps under the truck exhaust to adjust the clips.
The Hustle comes in three models: Hustle 9 (94mm waist), Hustle 10 (102mm waist), and Hustle 11 (114mm waist). We tested the Hustle 11 in 180.