Hands-on Gear Review

Nordica Santa Ana 100 Review

17/18 Nordica Santa Ana 100
Price:  $700 List | $559.93 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Good float and powder performance, lightweight, easy to ski
Cons:  Skis short, sluggish edge to edge
Bottom line:  A light and nimble ski that performs well in all conditions, especially soft snow.
Editors' Rating:   
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Tested Length:  169
Weight per Pair:  6.81 lbs
Available Lengths:  153,161,169,177
Manufacturer:   Nordica

Our Verdict

The Nordica Santa Ana was a new addition to our test group this year, and we were happy to have it. Our testers found it to be stiff enough to handle crud and hop turn in the steeps, while still remaining light, nimble, and easy to turn. All around we found this to be a fun ski. We used the 169cm length and some of our taller testers didn't feel like there was enough ski underneath them to really put the Santa Ana through its paces. However, we all can agree that this is a solid, stable ski that floats great in the powder.

New Season Face Lift
The Santa Ana got a brand new look for the season which you can see pictured above - scroll down for a side-by-side comparison.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Women's All-Mountain Skis of 2018

Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Jessica Haist

Last Updated:
Monday
October 30, 2017

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New Graphics for a New Year


The Santa Ana has received a graphics update, pictured below. Out with the pink, in with a fresh cool blue wintery look.

The new Santa Ana 100 graphics on the left next to last years look.
The new Santa Ana 100 graphics on the left next to last years look.

Hands-On Review of the 16/17 Santa Ana 100


Some loved it, some were lukewarm on the Santa Ana. We all agree that it has great float through the powder because of its rockered tip and medium fat waist. This ski is an excellent choice for smaller, lighter skiers who want a fatter more powerful ski to drive around with confidence.

The Sentinel is a great storm skiing jacket.
The Sentinel is a great storm skiing jacket.

Stability at Speed


We were a bit wary taking this ski out on day one since it is the lightest ski in out testing quiver at 6.81 pounds. We were pleasantly surprised to discover how stable it is despite its featherweight and rockered tips. It is far more stable and can hold an edge better than the next lightest models, the Fischer My Ranger 98 and the Armada Victa, and is significantly less floppy and more confidence-inspiring than both those models at speed and on the steeps.

The Nordica Santa Anas could hold an edge and did not chatter on this firm  icy terrain.
The Nordica Santa Anas could hold an edge and did not chatter on this firm, icy terrain.

The Santa Ana can hold an edge relatively well and we noticed very little chattering when we railed them on the hard pack. Our taller testers wish we had it in a longer length to really put it through its paces. The ski felt more unstable for them — they were nervous to get on the front of the ski for fear of going over the handlebars. We noticed this phenomenon with the Armada Victa as well, but the opposite is true for the Volkl Aura, which feel long and more difficult to stay on top of.

Carving Performance


The Santa Anas can hold an edge when carving like a champ.
The Santa Anas can hold an edge when carving like a champ.

As we mentioned, the Santa Ana can hold an edge. They do have a larger turn radius of 15.5 than some of our favorite carving skis like the Head Great Joy, but we still think they are decent on the groomed runs. Their fat waist width makes them a bit more sluggish feeling from edge to edge and take a bit more oomph to bring around than the Armada Victa's skinny 93mm waist, but because they are so light and nimble they're easy to turn when you really want them to.

The Santa Anas inspire confidence in steep terrain. We know they will turn when we want them to  although some of our taller testers wanted a longer length for this type of terrain.
The Santa Anas inspire confidence in steep terrain. We know they will turn when we want them to, although some of our taller testers wanted a longer length for this type of terrain.

Powder Performance


The Sentinel kept us dry and protected skiing deep powder.
The Sentinel kept us dry and protected skiing deep powder.

Powder skiing is always fun, but this is where the Santa Anas really shine. Their fat waist and rockered tip and tail make them float like a dream. Their fat tip plows a trench for you through the powder and make it easy to stay on top. We skied this contender on an exceptionally deep powder day in Mammoth Lakes after two-plus feet of powder fell and loved every minute of it. We also love the Rossignol Soul 7 HD W in powder conditions — their tail shape is unique and adds to the fun factor of skiing powder, and think the Head Great Joy's huge shovels are great to cut through the powder even more so than the Santa Ana.

Crud Performance


The Sentinel has a long cut and tapered waistline. We wouldn't call it relaxed fit though.
The Sentinel has a long cut and tapered waistline. We wouldn't call it relaxed fit though.

We are pleased with how this pair of skis performs in the crud, despite their light weight. Usually heavier skis exceed in the crud like the Volkl Aura or the Blizzard Samba, but the Santa Ana are the exception. They hold their own plowing through or over most of the conditions we throw at them.

Playfulness


Not the most playful of the bunch  we still had fun on the Santa Anas in the park.
Not the most playful of the bunch, we still had fun on the Santa Anas in the park.

Some of our testers think the Santa Ana falls short in this category, along with the DPS Nina 99 Foundation. The Ana does not have a lot of sidecut and are not particularly snappy when carving turns on the groomers, making them less playful than desired. However, we think they are plenty playful when you get them in the deep powder; they like to charge around and float and butter their way down.

Bumps Skiing Performance


Bumps are not the Santa Anas' forte. They are not quick edge-to-edge and have fat tips that get caught up in tight turns. We'd reach for the Armada Victa or the Rossignol Soul 7 HD W for the bumps (over the Santa Ana).

The Santa Anas feel more sluggish and catchy in the bumps.
The Santa Anas feel more sluggish and catchy in the bumps.

Best Application


This ski would be a great choice for a woman who wants to get out all over the mountain in all conditions — it truly is an all-mountain ski. Because of its light weight and its tendency to feel on the short side it could be a good choice for a smaller, lighter woman who still wants to keep up with the boys. For ladies who fit this description, we'd recommend this ski over the Volkl Aura or Head Great Joy. However, we think ladies of all shapes and sizes will enjoy the Santa Ana; just be careful when choosing your length. Our 5'5 and under testers enjoyed the 169 length, but if you're taller than that and an advanced to expert skier, go for a longer length.

The Nordica Santa Ana can handle any type of terrain you throw at it from crud to hard pack.
The Nordica Santa Ana can handle any type of terrain you throw at it from crud to hard pack.

Value


The Nordica Santa Ana retails for $700. We think this is a great value for this ski. If you're still at an intermediate level and looking for a cheaper ski with a decent all-around performance, check out the Atomic Vantage 95 C - Women's, which retails for $500.

Conclusion


A light and nimble ski that gave us confidence to ski all kinds of terrain on the mountain, the Santa Ana stood out to most of our testers. Because of its rockered tip and tail, it does ski on the short side and taller ladies may want to size up.

Tester Jessica Haist having fun in the trees with the Nordica Santa Ana skis.
Tester Jessica Haist having fun in the trees with the Nordica Santa Ana skis.

Other Versions


We tested the Santa Ana 100; Nordica also makes a 93mm underfoot Santa Ana. The Santa Ana's bigger sister is the 113mm underfoot La Nina for a more power-oriented ride. The men's version is the Enforcer 100.
Jessica Haist

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Most recent review: October 30, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (4.0)
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