The Santa Ana series has been immensely popular over the last few years, so why wouldn’t Nordica add a new model to the lineup? The 2020 Nordica Santa Ana 88 is the newest and narrowest ski in the line, and is the best suited for harder snow, but really has an all-mountain personality. This is a ski of dualities. It floats well for only being an 88, and it carves well for being an 88, and it’s quick, and light, and stable, and damp all at the same time. It really checks a lot of boxes for intermediate to expert level skiers who are looking for a versatile tool to tackle the whole mountain. Made with Nordica’s Energy2 Balsa core, the lighter weight wood is combined with two thin sheets of metal and carbon stringers to create a unique and perfectly balanced ski. With full-sidewalls and a relatively flat tail, these things are built to rail, both on and off-piste. Our testers loved the lighter and more maneuverable tip, and generally felt like this was a home run for Nordica.
Caroline Kessler found the 172 to be a bit short, but that didn’t appear to diminish her praise for this new model. She scored 5’s for quickness, maneuverability, playfulness, and versatility. With no score lower than 4, it’s safe to say that Caroline is a fan. “Quick turning and poppy, this ski is able to rip down groomers and bumps. A great east coast all-mountain ski.” We’ll probably see a lot of these skis at Stowe over the next few years.
Mar Kuhnel skied and liked the 172, and her score sheet was all 5’s with the exception of a 4.5 in flotation. “Kapow! Favorite ski of the day. Did they stiffen the tails? Felt super smooth through the entire turn, with the ski sending you right into the next turn with no washy tail. Ski is happy making short and long radius turns, happy to go slow, and happy to go fast. Super versatile and easy to ski—who could ask for more than that?” Not us!
Danielle Nichols was a fan of the 172 cm length with top scores in playfulness, forgiveness, and versatility. There’s really not much this ski can’t do. Danielle normally skis on an Enforcer 100, and did notice the difference in the wood used and the tip build of the 88. “This was a little too soft in the tip. Still workable, but I would have liked a little more substance. Overall an easy, friendly ski and I would highly recommend.” A noticeable difference between the Santa Ana 88 and the Enforcer 100, but not too much to turn a skier off.
On the 158, Shelby Parenteau liked the size and loved the quickness and maneuverability, with those categories earning a 5 out of 5. 4’s for stability, playfulness, edge hold, and overall impression complete the portrait that these skis are well-rounded and totally up for whatever challenges lay ahead. “Really good on-piste ski. Stiff enough to cut through slush and crud, but still every easy to lay an edge and carve a nice big turn.” Shelby goes on to point out that they’re “easy to maneuver and snappy, this is a perfect resort ski. I don’t see it holding up great in deep snow conditions, but they are fun dipping in and out of the trees with a bit of fresh snow.” Sure, an 88 underfoot ski isn’t going to float like its big sisters, but the shape and profile do provide enough substance to stay on top of a decent amount of snow.
Built to shred the whole mountain, the 2020 Nordica Santa Ana 88 is an all-new ski with very few limitations. As a sublimely versatile ski for advanced skiers, Nordica is squarely taking aim at the competition, and as far as our testers are concerned, are blowing them out of the water.