I spent 6 days on the Nordica Santa Ana 110 at Revelstoke Mountain Resort where conditions ranged from light, deep powder to heavy powder and crud, soft to firm groomers, soft and hard bumps, and completely saturated (rain on snow) powder. I also spent a day on the Santa Ana 110 at Taos Ski Valley, where conditions included soft and firm corduroy, and soft and firm bumps. Here’s what I found:
My very first turns on the Santa Ana 110 were made around mid-mountain at Revelstoke. The mountain had received some snow overnight, and the groomers were covered in about 6 inches of fresh chop. The Santa Ana 110 felt extremely stable charging through the chop with no signs of tip flop, and I wasn’t able to find its speed limit in these conditions.
I had plenty more chances to test the Santa Ana 110 in chop over the course of my 6 days in Revelstoke, and my initial conclusions never changed. Whether the chop was light or heavy, these skis felt stable and easy to control.
The Santa Ana 110 is a bit heavier than other similar skis that I’ve tested, so I wasn’t too surprised when they didn’t feel quite as surfy in powder as skis like the lighter (and more heavily rockered) Armada VJJ. I think bumping the bindings forward might make the Santa Ana 110 feel a little looser, so I’ll update this review if I notice much of a difference with a more forward mount.
But with all that said, I was still very happy with the Santa Ana 110’s float, it just felt a little more locked in / less surfy than the VJJ (which is a very playful ski).
When skiing heavy, wet snow, the Santa Ana 110 felt most at home in open terrain where I could make big, fast turns. In lighter powder, it was easy to steer the Santa Ana 110 through tight chutes or let them run in the open bowls, but in heavier/denser snow, more work was required to maneuver the skis. I’d be interested to try the 172 Santa Ana 110 as I imagine it would be a bit more maneuverable than the 177 cm in tight spots.
I didn’t spend much time on groomers in Revelstoke, but when I did, the snow was hard and fast, and I was able to easily hold an edge with the Santa Ana 110.
I did have one day at Taos where my time was split between groomers and soft moguls. On soft, fresh corduroy, these skis made big and small turns equally well, and were so smooth that I had no idea I was skiing much faster than normal. Later in the day when the groomers were a mixture of firm snow and randomly placed bumps, the Santa Ana 110 felt easy to maneuver and also stable — they didn’t get knocked around easily in the variable conditions.
The majority of the moguls at Revelstoke were spaced out nicely on the wide open trails, but in the trees, some deeper moguls developed that I found a bit hard to navigate on the long, stiff 177 cm Santa Ana 110. Granted, I think I would have struggled a bit with this terrain no matter what ski I was on, but I found it challenging to scrub speed on the 177 cm Santa Ana 110 in this sort of tight terrain.
Later in the week as my legs started to get tired and I found myself getting knocked in the backseat, these skis challenged me. With tired legs, the 177s could be a handful or me, especially in tight trees.
At Taos, I spent some time on a run with nice, soft moguls and these skis again felt just a little long and heavy to really excel in the bumps. This is another area where I’m curious if a more forward mount would make the Santa Ana 110 feel more maneuverable. I’ll update this review if I notice any significant change in the ski’s mogul performance with a more forward mount.
As my go-to ski for the last 4 years, the Pandora 110 is a very good reference point when judging the Santa Ana 110. To start with the obvious, I tested the Santa Ana 110 in the 177 cm length, which definitely feels longer than the 172 cm Pandora 110 (which is the longest length of the Pandora that Line makes).
I haven’t skied a long, stiff ski like the Santa Ana 110 in a long time, and I was a bit nervous at first, but after a few turns, I was happy to have the extra length that is rare to find in women’s skis. Like the Pandora 110, the Santa Ana 110 performed well for me in powder, but the Santa Ana 110 outperformed the Pandora 110 on groomers, and fared just slightly better in chop. I think the Santa Ana 110 is well on its way to becoming my new gold standard for all-around performance.
The Santa Ana 110 doesn’t float on top of powder or turn as easily in tight trees as the Armada VJJ, but the Santa Ana 110 works much better as an all-around, all-conditions ski. This is especially true on groomers and in chop where the VJJ has a tendency to get knocked around a bit.
Icelantic Maiden 111, 177 cm
I have a fairly limited amount of time on the Maiden 111, but their very soft tips in chop and crud were memorable. The Santa Ana 110 definitely provided more stability than the Maiden 111 on groomers and in chop / crud.
The Nordica Santa Ana 110 is an excellent women’s all-mountain ski. It provides excellent stability in crud / chop, it turns when needed, and it has simply been fun doing everything I asked of it.
While I imagine I’d get along well with the 172 cm version of the ski (since, as we pointed out in our First Look, this is a pretty stout ski) — and the 177 cm Santa Ana 110 can feel a bit long in tight spots — it is cool that Nordica offers the longer length.
I think the Santa Ana 110 is ideal for advanced to expert skiers looking for a ski that can keep up with them. I know a number of women who prefer to ski on men’s skis for various reasons, but I would recommend that they check out the Santa Ana 110 if they’re looking for a very capable, wider, all-mountain ski.
Blister reviewer, Kara Williard, has also been skiing the Santa Ana 110, and she’ll soon be offering her take on the ski.
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