2017 Nordica Santa Ana Women's Ski Review: Built for Women From the Core Out // Ski Reviews
Last week we took a look at our 2017 selection of men’s Nordica skis. If you missed it, head on over to that article to check out what’s new on the men’s side of things. This week we’re taking a look at what we’re most excited about in this season’s women’s collection from Nordica. Women’s skis are a growing segment with manufacturers spending more time researching and developing female specific skis than ever before and the result is some really high performing skis for the ladies.
Before we dive into it, since our article last week ski magazines have started releasing their 2017 Gear Guides. We’re super excited to see Nordica gaining high praise from these major publications. From Ski Magazine, the men’s Enforcer 93 and Enforcer 100 took top spot in their respective categories, with the Enforcer 100 coming away with the highest average score in the entire test. From Freeskier, the Enforcer 100 took 1st place in the 100-114mm Freeride category, with the Enforcer 93 placing third in the 90-99mm category. We’ve all been singing the praise of the Enforcer since its reintroduction last season, but it’s always nice to see that other skiers out there agree with us.
Nordica’s women’s specific freeski collection also received some awesome praise from these same ski tests. Nordica is a great example of how ski manufacturers are spending more time and money developing their women’s skis than ever before. The two women’s skis that received the most accolades from gear guides and ski reviews we’ve seen are the Santa Ana 93 and Santa Ana (100). Although these skis share the same footprint as the Enforcer 93 and Enforcer 100, they use a female specific construction. Instead of titanal metal, the women’s skis use Prepreg carbon fiber that drastically reduces overall weight while still retaining solid torsional stiffness and power when you need it. Instead of using a poplar/beech wood core Nordica has developed an ultra-light balsa wood core that even further reduces weight.
Although Nordica classifies these skis in their “Freeski” series, they really can be considered all mountain skis. For skiers who like to split their time between groomers and off-piste terrain, these skis are a fantastic choice. Which width do you choose? That comes down to a few things: how much snowfall your home mountain receives, the type of terrain available, and ultimately what your own personal preferences are.
We’ll start with the Santa Ana (100). Freeskier Magazine’s description of the ski perhaps says it best: “More playful than a gaggle of puppies.” Nordica’s CamRock profile combined with the low weight and tip shape makes these skis incredibly maneuverable. In soft snow, variable terrain, and even moguls the Santa Ana swivel, smear, and allow you to easily make all sorts of different turn shapes. It makes challenging terrain seem much easier and more straight forward as the ski really feels like it’s doing most of the work for you. The fact that these skis scored a perfect 10 out of 10 in the playful category really tells you a lot. So if you’re the type of skier who prefers getting off-piste over skiing groomers, the Santa Ana (100) is probably going to be the right choice for you. Also, for those who live in areas that receive a lot of snowfall having the extra 7mm width really does add a significant amount of float. The 100mm width is more capable as a true powder ski than the Santa Ana 93.
If you like to split your time evenly between groomers and off-piste or if you live in an area that doesn’t receive a ton of snowfall, the Santa Ana 93 is incredibly versatile and uses the same construction as the wider version, which helps retain a playful nature. When testing the Enforcer 93 we found the narrower waist is noticeable quicker edge to edge and gives the skis a more responsive, snappy feeling on groomers. The same feeling carries over into the Santa Ana skis, even though they use a different construction method. The Santa Ana 93 is a little bit more satisfying on groomed slopes than the 100mm version. We certainly don’t want to take anything away from the Santa Ana’s (100) ability to make relatively powerful carving turns, but the Santa Ana 93 certainly does outperform it on firm snow. We don’t want to say the Enforcer 93 is for eastern skiers and the Enforcer 100 is for western skiers, but one could make that analogy and they wouldn’t necessarily be wrong. You will absolutely see Santa Ana 93s at Colorado resorts and we will absolutely see the Santa Ana (100) here in Vermont, but it’s a relatively good way to think of the differences between the two skis.
If you’re lucky enough to have access to demos at your local ski hill, we’d recommend trying a pair even if you aren’t in the market for new skis. Both the men’s and women’s Freeski collection from Nordica have some really high performing skis, as reflected in their scores in recent gear guides. With their impressive products over the past few years, Nordica has positioned their brand as an innovative in the all mountain/freeski category and we can’t wait to see what they do next.