The Nordica Santa Ana is the women’s equivalent of the Men’s Enforcer, a ski that is one of our favorite all-mountain skis. The Santa Ana isn’t quite as much of a beast as the men’s version, but it’s still a relatively beefy ski. It’s great for those who like to charge pretty hard, but at the same time it’s a ski that is relatively playful, surfy, and loads of fun. It’s a ski that deserves to be in the “quiver of one” conversation, and could really make a great daily driver for skiers that want to do it all.
Nordica Santa Ana Women’s All-Mountain Ski Review
Conditions: Soft Groomers, Soft Chop, Hard Packed Groomers
Bindings: Marker Griffon
On the Snow Feel: Thanks to a Balsa wood core, the Nordica Santa Ana feels like a light-weight and relatively maneuverable ski. At the same time the ski feels really damp and stable and you can tell that it wants to charge hard. We have to praise the Santa Ana for feeling like a playful, yet hard charging machine.
Powder: The Nordica Santa Ana is the skinnier of two Nordica women’s freeride skis, but has a lot of the same soft snow loving attitude that the wider La Nina does. The Santa Ana has a large 133mm wide “Hammerhead” nose with all-mountain Camrock rocker profile. This helps to keep the ski tips pointing up in deep snow. With a 100mm wide base the ski floats decently well, and can make riding in deep powder really fun. Sure it doesn’t have the same float as the La Nina, so it probably won’t be a go-to powder ski. But It’s capable in the deep snow without sacrificing performance on other parts of the mountain, and is exactly what we want in an all-mountain ski.
Turn Initiation and Carving: The Nordica Santa Ana can feel like a playful ski, but has the hard charging DNA that makes it so much fun carving powerful turns at high speed. Thanks to a balsa wood core, the Santa Ana has a very high strength to weight ratio. It makes it feel like a strong and powerful all-mountain ski with metal, but with the light weight maneuverability of a softer and more nimble ski. At slower speeds we found it relatively easy to maneuver. At low edge angles we were able to surf and skid turns, lending a sort of playfulness you might not expect from this ski. It wasn’t overly hard to get the ski on a higher edge angle, but it did seem like it wanted a bit of speed. It has a fun and quick 15.5m turn radius, and aggressive skiers that are able to bring this ski around will be rewarded with a snappy and energetic turn. It doesn’t have to be driven hard though, and those that want to take a bit more of a relaxed approach will find the ski surprisingly forgiving. Although it has a deep sidecut and shorter turn radius, we found that this ski just as fun to open up and let run a bit straighter. When you do the ski feels powerful, yet very smooth and stable.
Speed: The Nordica Santa Ana is a ski that likes speed. The light-weight Balsa wood core has a fantastic strength to weight ratio giving it a damp and stable feel without extra weight. The core also helps to absorb negative vibrations, and even at high speeds we never noticed tip chatter. At speed, the ski feels stable and damp.
Uneven/Variable Terrain: The Nordica Santa Ana is a ski that feels at home on rough terrain off piste. It has a large “hammerhead” nose and tip rocker that does a really good job of keeping the ski moving over chopped up terrain. At the same time, the stiff flex helps to smooth everything out. Its light weight helps to keep the ski maneuverable. We love this combination of light-weight and beefy charger. It allows aggressive skiers to blast through or float over uneven terrain with ease.
Edge Hold: The Nordica Santa Ana does a really nice job of blending surfy playfulness with solid edge hold. At lower edge angles the ski is easy to skid and slide around the mountain, but once on a high edge angle the ski can feel pretty locked in.
Bottom Line: The Nordica Santa Ana is a very fun, versatile, and capable all-mountain ski. It has a unique combination that feels light-weight and maneuverable while still feeling like a damp and stable charger. It’s not a ski for the beginner, but also doesn’t require you to be aggressive at all times. Aggressive skiers will love the power and stability, and yet find it perfectly capable of breaking loose and taking a more playful approach in softer snow. Bottom line is this is a ski that is just as much fun carving stable, powerful, high speed turns on groomers, as it is surfing, slashing, or blasting through soft variable terrain. If you’re looking for a powerful and playful ski for everywhere on the mountain, the Santa Ana is worth a look.