When a brand completely redesigns its offering for female skiers, there are some valuable updates on the horizon. We tested the Nordica Santa Ana 98. Teaser? You are having a great time.
Two GearJunkie editors charged the car and headed to Aspen Mountain at the end of the 2020 winter ski season to do some equipment tests. Among the pieces of equipment we tested was a new pair of women’s skis from the European brand Nordica. The Santa Ana collection, the brand’s only freeski collection, has undergone a major overhaul for the 2021 season.
We took the time to test these out under different conditions in different mountains in western Colorado. Our editors tested this last season before the pandemic, before the skis hit the market.
In summary: These skis have a slightly wider waist (and a bit wider than what I normally ride on) so they perform well in powder. Even so, they are not too difficult to turn or edge. They are a great all-rounder, easy to handle, packaged and powdered, and most importantly, they offer a very smooth ride. you are Now available.
For two different overnight ski tours, the Nordica Santa Anas were the only skis I needed in my quiver (there was plenty of room in our Nissan Pathfinder for other winter gear). Why? The new construction makes these skis more adaptable for all-mountain skiing.
Previously, the Santa Ana ski had two layers of metal in the core. The new update of the construction of this ski consists of only one sheet metal, which is adapted to certain different terrains in each model of the collection. (The brand calls it Terrain Specific Metal, or TSM.) Because of the lighter construction, the Santa Ana 98 I tested definitely felt a little more playful than other skis I tried.
Left: Brand Rep Ski on the Nordica Santa Ana 98. Right: Author skiing on the Nordica Santa Ana 98.
Under the site-specific metal layer there is a carbon-reinforced one Balsa wood core (one of the lightest woods out there and a popular wood in ski making). Compared to other all-mountain skis, this construction means that the ski falls on the stiffer (but luckily not heavier) side.
The wood core offers flexibility and maneuverability, while the metal layer offers rigidity and grip. This is great quality for both faster and more advanced skiers. Apart from that, the Ski 98 is under your feet. It gave me enough space and strength to hold my edge on firmer snow and enough float for powder.
The Santa Ana 98 replaces the 100 model for 2021. And based on that Popularity of the Men’s Enforcer 104 FreeNordica has decided to add a 104 Free Ski to this women’s collection. Both models are currently available online and in stores (contact your local dealer).
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Nordica Santa Ana 98 women’s skis
The Santa Ana collection also made design updates to the rocker profiles of some of their skis – like the narrower Santa Ana 93 and 98 that we tested. We found it to run very smoothly in both packaged and light powder conditions. it’s not gossip, and it makes good edge-to-edge turns. (The turning radius of the 98 is shorter at 15.6 m.)
When I choose to ski, I tend to turn to an all mountain ski that is less playful and more stable at speed. The new Santa Ana 98 is in the middle of the field for this collection in terms of stability and rocker profile, making it a great all-mountain choice. The other reason I loved the Santa Ana 98s was for the fit – they felt good for my advanced skiing ability.
Aside from all the new updates, Nordica’s changes to the model size are a great upgrade in my opinion. If you’ve ever felt like falling between sizes or the skis weren’t exactly right, the new 98 could be for you. However, if you like a ski that can handle a wider variety of conditions, the new 104 Free may be a better choice. (Our employees have not yet tested the women’s model but loved the men.)
A note on women-specific skis: Skis are one of those tricky pieces of equipment doesn’t really have to be gender specific. However, to find a good pair of skis you need to consider your height, weight, ability, and approach. (Are you a relaxed or aggressive skier? Are you 5’1 “or 5’9”?)
If a ski manufacturer has a particular interest in women’s catering (a wide range of women’s sizes, but specifically women’s body proportions and postures), we take note of this. Especially women who are looking for an all-mountain ski that is also difficult to charge.
Santa Ana 98 ski
- Sizes: 158 cm, 165 cm and 172 cm
- Sidecut: 131-98-118 mm at 165 cm length
- Turning circle: 15.6 m by 165 cm
- Weight: 3,680 g per pair
- Skill level: Expert and advanced
The Santa Ana 98 skis retail for $ 600-700;; the 2021 Santa Ana free Retail for $ 750.
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