Featuring the Fall Line Freeride skis of the year – our biggest category of skis tested for the 2024 Gear Guide. Just four skis are featured here out of the 23 Freeride skis tested and reviewed in-depth inside our Gear Guide. Click to buy and browse the digital issue (£3.50):
More 2024 Men’s Freeride skis featured in the Gear Guide:
- Black Diamond Impulse 98
- Elan Ripstick 96
- Faction Dancer 2
- Fischer Ranger 96
- Head Kore 99
- K2 Mindbender 99Ti
- Nordica Enforcer 104 Free
- Völkl M6 Mantra
Blizzard Rustler 9
£590 without bindings
Lengths: 162, 168, 174, 180, 186cm
Radius: 17.0m @ 180cm
Weight per ski: 1,860g @ 180cm without binding
The nimblest of the Rustler series, the 9 is built for fun, whether you’re ripping through the trees or laying trenches back to the lift for another go.
Wowser. The new Rustler skis are expletively amazing. We got on a couple of widths, and although the 9 is the ‘skinny’ one, it still gives plenty of float. Mid-90 underfoot is a sweet spot if you want to be able to handle anything the season can throw your way. We love the 10 (it’s also one of our favourite skis of the year), but the 9 will arguably suit more people in more conditions and boy, does it nail it on the firm stuff too.
The whole Rustler line is completely new. New shapes, new construction, and a mightily fine new skiing experience (we like them, can you tell?). The women’s version, Sheeva, gets the same fun-boosting developments, as they’re identical to the men’s just with a different graphic and lengths that are shifted down the scale a little. Blizzard also offer Rustler and Sheeva Team models, but these are groms’ versions. They look like a scaled-down Rustler and Sheeva 10, but don’t share the new construction.
The Rustler 9 has Blizzard’s rather fabulous True Blend wood core. For this freeride plaything, you get lightweight paulownia mixed in with the standard beech and poplar. They get the flex bang-on, but also manage to keep the skis agile and your legs fresh. They combine the woods in different ratios in certain areas of the ski, to maintain an easier flex through the ends that becomes progressively stiffer as you move towards the mount-point of the ski.
Flux form is the new titanal frame with a full width under the binding area, then the metal sits only over the sides of the skis, right up to the tip and tail. They save a lot of weight by not having metal completely covering the ski. The Flux form compliments the True Blend core, so you get this fantastically judged flex and loads of power, with masses of grip. Superlative city!
The upper metal layer sits just under the topsheet, and they leave some metal exposed, to make the ski more durable as it doesn’t chip like the regular layer above it. Decent rocker at both ends rounds off the package.
The Rustler ski is nimble thanks to the lift it has at both ends, and because it feels so light we found we could simply chuck it about if we needed to make any swift movements around sudden nasties.
It lands onto the snow in a secure, planted manner and you can carry on blasting. It has the classic sure footedness you get with Blizzard’s metal laminate skis but it’s not punishing, surprising us with the variety of weights and skiing styles.
The nimble nature and ease-of-pivot is great at lower speeds, but what about a little more throttle? No worries.
“Open it up and it’s sensational”, beamed Al, while Chrigl said: “Hilariously smooth in shortish-radius carves”.
Lee’s report was: “Super punchy in the shovel, which is great in variable snow. Pivoty, stable powerhouse of a Freeride ski, which grips unbelievably well on-piste. A go-to choice if you’re wanting to shred the entire mountain.”
Advanced and expert skiers will love the Rustler 9. If you want one ski to have on your feet, irrespective of the conditions, this is a great choice. If you’re a heavier or strong intermediate this will also work well. For more float, or if you prefer a wee bit more of the soft stuff, get the Rustler 10.
Atomic Bent 110
£590 without bindings
Lengths: 164, 172, 180, 188cm
Radius: 18.0m @ 180cm
Weight per ski: 1,750g @ 180cm without binding
The Atomic Bent 110 ski was designed by Chris Benchetler and the Atomic Freeski team to rip pow turns, slash wind lips, and send anyline you can imagine.
This is a fun, smooth ski designed for powder skiing. However, we found it does a bit of everything. Long turns and shorts, it’s instinctive in the bumps, copes with cruddy snow and eats powder for breakfast.
The analogy of a mountain being your canvas may get bounded about too much, but the Bent 110 is a wickedly fun brush to paint your lines. The easy nature lends itself to intermediates wanting a go on some fatter toys, as well as expert skiers who don’t want to have leg burn after three turns. Don’t overthink it, you know you can’t turn down this much fun.
Rossignol Sender 94Ti
£630 without bindings
Lengths: 156, 164, 172, 178, 185cm
Radius: 19.0m @ 178cm
Weight per ski: 1,800g @ 178cm without binding
The true all-mountain freeride ski. When fresh tracks beckon, the Sender 94Ti delivers a blend of lightweight agility and damp downhill performance to set you free to explore and ride inbounds and out.
A fast and playful all-mountain ski with added float, it’s more forgiving than many in the hard-charging freeride fraternity. It’s built to empower and send.
Al reported: “A brilliant ski for all-mountain charging.” Ideal for advanced and expert skiers who like to ski with a bit of pace. It’s also light enough to mount with a hybrid touring binding.
Scott Pure Mission 98Ti
£650 without bindings
Lengths: 170, 177, 184cm
Radius: 19.0m @ 177cm
Weight per ski: 1,670g @ 177cm without binding
Inspired by Jérémie Heitz’s freeride skis, this is a freeride/all-mountain weapon. Whatever the snow and the conditions, the new Pure Mission 98Ti will allow you to enjoy the mountain every day of the season.
This ski really feels like the Scott of old, and the Pure Mission is a proper freeride ski. Ski it fast and hard and over any terrain and it explodes into life.
You need to be confident and prepared to drive this ski to enjoy it. Due to the potent piste performance, it’s a viable one-ski option to take on a trip. If you are a strong all-mountain skier with the hope or expectation of fresh snow, go up a gear and get yourself on a Mission.