2019 Nordica Santa Ana Collection: A Ski Guide // Ski Reviews
There are quite a few different theories about how to design and produce women’s skis. Some manufacturers carry the same construction across men’s and women’s models with the theme that women can ski just as well as men, so why should their skis be different? On the other hand, other manufacturers use slightly different designs, construction methods, and even different mount points with the idea that women are physiologically different than men, thus should have equipment that’s tailored specifically to a women’s body. We can’t really say one method is better than another, but it is interesting to see the differences in opinions within the industry. To consider these two different points of view, neither is wrong. Women do rip on skis, but women are also built differently than men, so we can really see things from both perspectives.
That said, when a company does produce different skis for women, it’s at least providing more options. The Nordica Santa Ana collection, which we’re going to look at in this article, is a perfect example. Nordica carries the same shapes over from their popular men’s Enforcer collection, but uses slightly different construction in two of the three models. As mentioned, this then gives skiers, and specifically women, a wider range of options to choose from. A super aggressive woman skier can always go with the men’s version, as long as it exists in the length they need. You could say the same thing about men being able to ski the women’s options, although for some reason we see this less often (chalk it up to stubborn masculinity?). The men’s Enforcer 93 and 100 use a poplar and beech construction, the Santa Ana 93 and 100 use Nordica’s Energy 2 Titanium Balsa construction, which integrates balsa into the core alongside poplar and beech. This reduces the overall weight of the ski and also softens the flex. All the Santa Ana skis use the same 2 sheets of metal and carbon prepreg as found in the men’s skis, but the difference lies in that core material, which effectively changes the feel of the ski. The Santa Ana 110 and the men’s Enforcer 110 actually share the same construction, but do have different flex patterns. We’ll touch more on that later, but for now let’s look at the Santa Ana 93 and 100.
2019 NORDICA SANTA ANA 93 WOMEN'S SKIS:
The Santa Ana 93 is an exceptionally smooth all mountain ski that has become a favorite among women looking for versatility and a ski with a high performance feel, without being overly demanding. Skis with two sheets of metal are often heavy, stiff, and hard to handle. The benefit is the power and vibration damping it provides. By using thinner metal than most manufacturers and the lightweight core construction Nordica has essentially retained the benefits of metal, but the ski is much lighter and softer flexing from tip to tail. The carbon then adds some energy and torsional stiffness. The Santa Ana 93 uses a rocker/camber/rocker profile with relatively long rocker in the tip. The camber underfoot combined with the performance benefits of a wood core, carbon, and metal allows you to link some pretty darn aggressive carving turns. Something that we notice comparing the Santa Ana 93 to the Enforcer 93 is the slightly softer flex actually sucks up imperfections in the snow even more so than the Enforcer. You can actually see it when you slow down video footage of the skis. The Santa Ana 93 really likes to flex and stay connected to the snow, but it doesn’t feel too soft or floppy. It also feels like it unlocks its performance at a slower speed than on the Enforcer, which can feel like you need to hit a minimum speed to really get the full performance.
SIZES: 153cm, 161cm, 169cm, 177cm
SIDECUT: 124/93/112 (161cm & 169cm)
RADIUS BY SIZE: 12.5m, 13.5m, 15.5m, 16.5m
Women have been psyched with the Santa Ana 93 during all our testing as it’s an exceptionally versatile ski, especially for here at Stowe. As we mentioned it can link some impressive carving turns and can hold an edge quite well on firm snow, but it’s also easy to release your edge and pivot or smear the ski. That makes it a blast for jumping into the moguls and trees, which is essentially how our typical ski days go at Stowe. We usually are skiing a combination of firm groomers and tighter, un-groomed terrain all in the same day. You see a lot of women around here on the Santa Ana 93 and it makes a lot of sense. One pair of skis can do just about everything for most skiers. Sure, there are narrower skis that outperform it as a carving ski, and there are wider skis that do better in deep powder, but the versatility of the Santa Ana 93 is pretty darn impressive. Even in deeper snow the ski is very predictable and intuitive due to the gradual rocker, early taper, and then the blunt nose shape that’s become synonymous with the Enforcer and Santa Ana skis.
2019 NORDICA SANTA ANA 100 WOMEN'S SKIS:
The Santa Ana 100 carries the same theme, but is wider in all dimensions. In fact, it’s exactly 7 mm wider in every single dimension. That means you get the same exact turn radius and essentially the same turn shapes. Remember, however, that 7 mm wider also means you get 7 mm more material. More material typically means a little more power, especially when using materials like carbon and metal. The Santa Ana 100 is very, very similar to the 93 in overall performance and feel, although we do think it’s a touch more powerful just because of the extra width. That extra width also makes it more stable through choppy snow conditions, which is a good way to transition to who might want to choose the Santa Ana 100 over the 93.
SIZES: 153cm, 161cm, 169cm, 177cm
SIDECUT: 131/100/119 (161cm & 169cm)
RADIUS BY SIZE: 12.5m, 13.5m, 15.5m, 16.5m
You probably already know if you’re the type of skier that wants the 100 instead of the 93. Maybe you’re not shopping for a one-ski-quiver and you’re looking to compliment an existing narrower ski in your quiver. Maybe you just prefer wider skis. There are definitely different reasons to go with the wider ski. The gist of it is that the Santa Ana 100 is going to perform better in softer and more variable snow conditions. If you’re a western skier who’s local resort tends to get a lot of snowfall, maybe the 100 actually is more appropriate than the 93 as a one ski quiver. If you live in the east, but constantly find yourself seeking out soft snow and un-groomed terrain, perhaps it’s worth sacrificing a little bit of quickness on firm snow for better float and stability in soft snow. The 100 has the same ability to link carving turns on firm snow and also maneuver and play in softer snow, although it’s a touch slower edge to edge on groomers. The slightly softer flex profile and lighter weight compared to the men’s Enforcer 100 also makes it a little bit more user-friendly and easier to manipulate into different turn shapes. To go back to the beginning of the article, if you’re a super aggressive woman or on the heavier side, there’s always the option of going with the men’s Enforcer 100, but we’ve found most of our female ski testers and staff members do prefer the flex and feel of the Santa Ana 100.
2019 NORDICA SANTA ANA 110 WOMEN'S SKIS:
And that brings us to the Santa Ana 110. As we mentioned the men’s Enforcer 110 actually uses the same Energy 2 Titanium Balsa construction, but the flex profile is different between the Santa Ana and Enforcer. You can say the same about the Enforcer 110 vs the Pro, same materials, but a different overall flex pattern. Compared to the 100 and 93, the Santa Ana 110 uses much more pronounced tail rocker. There is obviously influence from their now outdated La Nina powder skis (something that we talked about in our Enforcer 110 review as well). The Santa Ana 110 is starting to get into the powder-ski category much more so than the 100 or the 93. Most skiers who pick up a Santa Ana 110 will likely use it as a powder-specific ski. It’s a little bit wide for daily use, especially here in the east, although we can think of some women (including some of our ski testers) who have expressed how much they love the 110. The different tail shape and its specific flex pattern makes it feel a little bit more playful than the 93 and 100, really no matter what snow conditions or terrain you’re in. What’s perhaps most impressive is the ski’s ability to link carving turns on groomers. It has the same turn radius as the narrower Santa Ana models, and although it doesn’t hold an edge quite as well due to the extra width and increased tail rocker, it’s really impressive on firm snow.
SIZES: 161cm, 169cm, 177cm
SIDECUT: 139/110/128 (169cm)
RADIUS BY SIZE: 14.5m, 15.5m, 16.5m
We’d recommend the Santa Ana 110 as more of a soft snow oriented ski to complement existing narrower skis for most skiers. That said, we know there are some skiers who will opt for the 110 more as an all mountain, daily driver ski. If you think you might be one of those skiers really take some time to think about the terrain you ski and what the average snow conditions are. If you’re realistically skiing soft snow a lot of the time, go for it. If not, perhaps a mini two ski quiver of a Santa Ana 93 and 110 would be more appropriate.
Remember, just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you need to ski women’s skis. Between the Santa Ana and Enforcer collections you essentially have seven models to choose from. They all share similar designs, yet all have their own feel and correspondingly different applications. As always, we’re here to help you choose your next skis, so don’t hesitate to leave a comment on this article or reach out to our customer service team directly. We have a lot of skiers on our staff who have skied the Santa Ana models and the Enforcer models, and we’re happy to dive deeper into differences between each model.