Nordica Santa Ana 93 Review

January 12, 2018
Nordica Santa Ana 93
GEAR INSTITUTE RATINGS
84
Responsiveness
6
Stability
7
Float
8
Versatility
6
Carving
7

The Good

  • A stable brickhouse capable of finesse
  • Works best at moderate speed
  • Tip is easy to initiate, ski loves long turns

The Bad

  • Ski has a speed governor
  • The edge can wash out at high speed
  • Edge grip feels limited to moderate tipping
THE VERDICT
The Nordica Santa Ana 93 is as comfortable on groomers as it is in soft, variable snow. It behaves like a short but wide, damp GS ski – minus the responsiveness and liveliness of a shorter slalom ski. The blunt tip shape with early rise adds to flotation and a short radius increases frontside performance. The ski feels damp and stable, favoring GS turns at moderate speeds. There is a speed limit, however, and the ski can wash out at speed in terms of losing the tip-to-tail stability as edge angles increase. All in all, testers said the Santa Ana 93 is a well-balanced and friendly ski with easy turn initiation that suits a wide range of ability levels.
FULL REVIEW

The Santa Ana 93 is part of the wind storm-inspired freeski collection (including the Santa Ana 110 and 100) that aims to blend off-piste attributes with carving prowess. Thanks to a well-balanced construction, rocker profile and short radius, the Santa Ana 93 favors off-piste but can carve up the groomers as well. Testers gave the Santa Ana 93 its highest marks for float, and lowest ratings for responsiveness, scoring above average for Carving and Stability.

The Santa Ana features Nordica’s Blunt Nose profile (think Hammer Head shark) with tip and tail rocker, specifically an early rise rockered tip (for easy turn initiation) and slightly turned up tail (for turn release). Construction includes Nordica’s Energy 2 Ti Balsa wood core – laid up in order as it sounds with two layers of titanium sandwiching, carbon prepreg layers and a poplar/beech core with multiple thin balsa wood stringers designed for weight reduction and increased edge grip. It’s designed with a short radius (13.5 m at 161 cm) to go with the 93 mm waist. “This ski is ideal for most conditions in the West,” said one tester. “It’s well-balanced, a solid carver and floats well in soft snow.” Testers did not detect any chatter or unwelcome vibration and they appreciated the Santa Ana’s finesse and stability.

Though testers felt the ski was well-balanced and stable, it felt stable only up to moderate speeds and lost stability at top velocity. “The ski has a governor or a speed limit,” said one tester. “It washes out in high speed turns and the edge grip is limited to moderate tipping.” Though the Santa Ana 93 has a shorter radius than some other skis around the same waist width, some of the tip to tail grip gets lost when the ski is pushed to aggressive limits. That said, testers felt that the ski suits nearly all levels of skiers thanks to the blend of skills that the ski has – as long as it stays at moderate speeds. Nordica’s sidecut/rocker/construction blend creates an interesting all-mountain ski, one that be used in a beer league dual GS as well as in the back bowls thanks to its versatility in different snow conditions.

Responsiveness

The Santa Ana 93 received its lowest tester scores for Responsiveness, mainly for the damp feeling attributed to the two sheets of titanium. Though the shorter radius means the ski can carve and turn well, it’s not a quick-turner, instead offering solid carving performance particularly at long turns and easy tip initiation.

Stability

Testers gave the Santa Ana 93 fairly high scores for Stability. “It’s a stable brickhouse,” said one tester. Other testers felt that Stability was lacking at high speed, where the edges washed out. At moderate speeds, however, all testers agreed that the ski felt stable and solid: “Able to eat up anything in its path without chatter or interruption,” according to one tester.

Resort Float

Testers gave their highest scores to the Santa Ana for Float, noting that soft snow was the ski’s happy place. The Santa Ana features Nordica’s Blunt Nose profile with tip and tail rocker, specifically an early rise rockered tip (for easy turn initiation) and slightly turned up tail (for turn release).Testers liked the blunt tip, which was both easy to initiate as well as float above the snow or crud.

Versatility

The Santa Ana 93’s Versatility comes from it’s acuity in both soft snow and on groomers. It floats well but also holds well (at moderate speeds), therefore suiting a range of ability levels – from intermediates to experts looking for an all-mountain ski that performs well on groomers and in light powder.

Carving

The Santa Ana 93 behaves like a fat GS ski, minus the penchant for speed. It holds well at moderate speed and favors long turns. The blunt-nose, early rise tip initiates into the turn easily and the slightly turned up tail releases quickly so the ski doesn’t catch. The metal/carbon/wood construction, however, can feel damp and less responsive.

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$749.00
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HOW WE TESTED

The Gear Institute Women’s Ski test took place over three days at Snowbird, Utah, in March of 2017. Six female testers skied each of the skis in the test and completed a detailed test card after each test run. Testers ranged from Olympians, to former racers and coaches to ski instructors and skiers who prefer backcountry/off-piste conditions. Categories were concluded on the same day so that skis were tested during similar conditions and on the same terrain. An in-depth look into construction and performance of the skis took place in Vail, CO, during a December industry event where testers skied on all test skis under similar conditions.

Testers were instructed to view each ski as a “Tabula Rasa,” or blank slate. Test cards included initial rankings of Favorite, Excellent, Good and Awful. Testers were asked to list three things they both liked and disliked about each ski as well as answering the question, “Who is the ideal customer?” Lastly, testers rated the criteria in terms of best to worst in the following mini-categories; Responsiveness, Stability, Float, Carving and Versatility.

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