2023-2024 Nordica Santa Ana 88

Ski: 2023-2024 Nordica Santa Ana 88, 172 cm

Test Location: Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Colorado & Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico

Days Skied: ~15

Available Lengths: 151, 158, 165, 172 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length (straight-tape pull): 171.0 cm

Stated Weight per Ski (172 cm): 1715 grams

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski (172 cm): 1702 & 1713 grams

Stated Dimensions: 121-88-109 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 122-87-108 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius (172 cm): 15.5 meters

Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 64 mm / 16 mm

Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 4 mm

Core Materials: balsa/poplar/beech + titanal (1 partial layer) + carbon/fiberglass laminate

Base: sintered

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -8.0 cm from center; 77.5 cm from tail

Boots / Bindings: Lange Shadow 115 W, K2 Anthem 115 W, Salomon S/Max 120; Marker Squire 11 Demo

[Note: We tested the 22/23 version of the Santa Ana 88, which returned unchanged for 23/24, apart from graphics.]

Kristin Sinnott-Green reviews the Nordica Santa Ana 88 for BLISTER.
Nordica Santa Ana 88 - 22/23 Top Sheet
Review Navigation:  Specs //  First Look //  Full Review //  Rocker Pics


The Santa Ana series has been a longstanding staple of Nordica’s ski collection, and we have spent a whole lot of time skiing the various iterations over the years.

As of the 22/23 season and carrying into the 23/24, the Santa Ana series spans from the Santa Ana 84 at the narrowest end and extends all the way to the Santa Ana 104 Free, with the 88, 93, and 98 models filling in the middle of the range.

Nordica also now offers the lighter, more touring-oriented, and more accessible “Unlimited” versions of several of their Santa Ana and Enforcer models. For more info on the Unlimited skis, be sure to read our Full Reviews of both the Santa Ana Unlimited 93 and the Enforcer Unlimited 104.

Today, we’re focusing on one of the narrowest skis in this collection, the Santa Ana 88.

Kara Williard and Kristin Sinnott review the Nordica Santa Ana 88 for BLISTER.
Kara Williard on the Nordica Santa Ana 88 (Crested Butte Mountain Resort, CO)

What Nordica says about the Santa Ana 88

“Since making its debut, the Santa Ana 88 has earned a reputation for being smooth and stable. And now—thanks to an entirely new construction and shape designed for on-trail terrain—our best-selling women’s ski is more versatile than ever. Equipped with a narrower waist, it pairs a wood core with carbon and a sheet of terrain-specific metal. This boosts your confidence by enhancing edge hold and dampening vibrations for a smooth and balanced ride. It also produces a ski that’s especially easy to control and maneuver. With an emphasis on fun, the Santa Ana 88 provides an entirely new way to experience the trail.”

Women-Specific Aspects of the Santa Ana Series

Nordica’s Santa Ana and Enforcer skis share a lot in common in terms of shapes, rocker profiles, and intended uses, but they differ in terms of materials and construction. For a detailed breakdown of those differences — and Nordica’s entire 23/24 collection — see our Blister Summit Brand Lineup video:

The biggest differences between the current versions of the Santa Ana and the Enforcer skis are that the Santa Anas feature only one partial sheet of titanal, whereas the Enforcers feature two full-length, nearly full-width layers, and the Santa Anas feature a slightly lighter wood core. And of course, the available lengths and graphics are also different between the two skis.


The Santa Ana 88 features a balsa, poplar, and beech wood core that’s wrapped in a carbon & fiberglass laminate. As we just touched on, the Santa Ana skis feature a single, partial layer of titanal metal, which Nordica calls “Terrain-Specific Metal.”

In short, the narrower the Santa Ana ski, the broader its metal layer, with the goal of providing more precision, stability, and damping on the narrower skis and better maneuverability and lower weight in the wider skis.

Shape / Rocker Profile

The Santa Ana 88 has a pretty directional rocker profile, with more tip rocker vs. tail rocker, and its rocker lines are generally not wildly deep, which seems in line with its design intentions (as a narrower, firmer-snow-oriented all-mountain ski).

In terms of its shape, the Santa Ana 88 has slightly more tapered tips and tails than several other skis in its class, such as the Salomon Stance 88 W and Blizzard Black Pearl 88.

Flex Pattern

Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Santa Ana 88:

Tips: 6
Shovels: 6-7
In Front of Toe Piece: 7.5-9.5
Underfoot: 10
Behind the Heel Piece: 9.5-8.5
Tails: 8 or 7.5

Like the other Santa Anas, the 88’s flex pattern starts with fairly soft tips that pretty quickly stiffen up to a strong midsection before softening near the tail, with the back half of the ski being notably stiffer than the front.

2023-2024 Nordica Santa Ana 88, BLISTER


The Santa Ana 88 is a bit heavier than average, relative to the other skis we’ve tested around the same width and length. That said, there are still plenty that come in at pretty similar weights.

For reference, here are a number of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for some notable skis. Keep in mind the length differences to try to keep things apples-to-apples.

1364 & 1392 Renoun Earhart 88, 170 cm (19/20-22/23)
1375 & 1384 Line Pandora 84, 165 cm (21/22-23/24)
1409 & 1414 Moment Sierra Tour, 172 cm (21/22)
1496 & 1509 Head Kore 85 W, 170 cm (23/34)
1556 & 1575 Liberty Genesis 96, 165 cm (19/20–20/21)
1572 & 1575 Head Kore 91 W, 170 cm (21/22)
1584 & 1629 Elan Ripstick 94 W, 170 cm (20/21-22/23)
1592 & 1637 Head Kore 97 W, 170 cm (21/22)
1622 & 1638 Blizzard Black Pearl 88, 165 cm (20/21–22/23)
1638 & 1639 Atomic Maven 93 C, 172 cm (21/22–22/23)
1685 & 1731 Black Crows Camox Birdie, 168.1 cm ( 21/22-22/23)
1687 & 1695 Elan Ripstick 102 W, 170 cm (20/21–22/23)
1693 & 1710 Moment Sierra, 172 cm (21/22)
1702 & 1713 Nordica Santa Ana 88, 172 cm (22/23-23/24)
1709 & 1710 Blizzard Sheeva 10, 172 cm (17/18–22/23)
1710 & 1713 Armada Reliance 92 Ti, 172 cm (23/24)
1742 & 1697 Salomon Stance 88 W, 174 cm (20/21–22/23)
1752 & 1751 Blizzard Sheeva 9, 174 cm (23/24)
1764 & 1794 Fischer Ranger 90, 170 cm (22/23)
1788 & 1793 ZAG Harfang 96, 170 cm (22/23)
1812 & 1817 Salomon Stance 94 W, 174 cm (20/21–22/23)
1833 & 1842 Volkl Secret 96, 163 cm (21/22–22/23)
1840 & 1850 Meier Skis BNK, 173 cm (2324)
1881 & 1895 Salomon QST Lumen 99, 174 cm (19/20–21/22)
1903 & 1917 Nordica Santa Ana 93, 172 cm (20/21–22/23)
1917 & 1935 Nordica Santa Ana 98, 172 cm (20/21–22/23)
1928 & 1945 K2 Mindbender 99Ti W, 172 cm (22/23–23/24)
1933 & 1975 Volkl Secret 96, 170 cm (21/22–22/23)
1955 & 1990 Coalition Snow SOS, 173 cm (19/20–21/22)
1969 & 1988 4FRNT MSP CC, 171 cm (20/21–22/23)
2015 & 2024 Blizzard Black Pearl 97, 171 cm (21/22–22/23)

2023-2024 Nordica Santa Ana 88, BLISTER


We’ve been spending time on the Santa Ana 88 for quite some time now, across multiple seasons and a huge range of conditions. Kara Williard & Kristin Sinnott have both been testing the ski and comparing it to a whole bunch of other options in the narrower all-mountain category.


Kara Williard (5’9”, 170 lbs / 175 cm, 77 kg): During my time with it, the Santa Ana 88 has been an accessible and intuitive carving ski. It’s not the most powerful or most stable ski in its class, but it does offer easy turn initiation, feels quite smooth on edge, and is an energetic carver.

For all those reasons, the Santa Ana 88 is an especially appealing option for someone looking to build their carving skills. It doesn’t demand perfect technique, but once you do learn to drive it fairly hard, it feels supportive through the middle and can reward more advanced skiers with pop / energy at the exit of a turn (without feeling particularly unpredictable).

The Santa Ana 88 offers pretty good edge hold relative to most skis in its class, and is best suited for making shorter, quicker turns. The Salomon Stance 88 W and Fischer Ranger 90 feel more precise on edge more comfortable when making larger-radii turns on groomers, but those two skis are also less forgiving than the Santa Ana 88.

Kristin Sinnott (5’8”, 130 lbs / 173 cm, 59 kg): Agreed — to me, the Santa Ana 88’s standout traits on piste are its rebound / pop and easy turn initiation. That said, while Kara didn’t have this experience, I found that the energy the Santa Ana 88 produces at the end of each turn can throw me into the backseat if I don’t stay on top of them, and as a result, I didn’t find it as forgiving on piste as the Blizzard Black Pearl 88.

Moguls, Trees, & Tight Terrain

Kara: Much like its performance on groomers, the Santa Ana 88 is accessible, lively, and nimble in moguls, trees, and tight terrain — again making it a worthwhile option for intermediate to advanced skiers who are looking to spend more time off piste and continue to improve their technique.

While it isn’t a super loose or playful ski compared to the whole market, I enjoyed the Santa Ana 88 in firm bumps and other tight and technical terrain. It’s not as easy to release, pivot, and skid as some wider, more rockered skis, but especially for a <90mm-wide ski, it feels comfortable and pretty capable in bumps and trees.

The Santa Ana 88 feels most intuitive when skied with a forward stance, but it isn’t extremely quick to punish backseat skiing and I think it’s forgiving enough for skiers who occasionally end up in the backseat but are working to stay out of it in tight moguls. Compared to the Santa Ana 98 and Santa Ana 93, the Santa Ana 88 has a lower swing weight that’s noticeable in tight terrain, but it also doesn’t feel quite as smooth, plush, and planted in really firm snow.

Kara Williard and Kristin Sinnott review the Nordica Santa Ana 88 for BLISTER.
Kara Williard on the Nordica Santa Ana 88 (Crested Butte Mountain Resort, CO)

Kristin: Kara summed things up nicely here. I did have a chance to ski the Santa Ana in about 6” / 15 cm of fresh snow on top of a soft, chalky base and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Other skis around the same width (e.g., Renoun Earhart 88 & Blizzard Black Pearl 88) wouldn’t have fared quite as well. But as Kara noted, the Santa Ana 88 — and almost any ski this narrow — is best suited as an all-mountain daily driver in lower-snow areas, or as a firm-snow-oriented ski in a larger quiver.

Firm Chop / Crud

Kara: Overall, the Santa Ana 88 doesn’t feel as composed in challenging conditions as the wider skis within the Santa Ana series. However, when looking at the Santa Ana 88’s class of narrower all-mountain skis, it still offers a pretty smooth and stable ride in firm chop and crud, and provides above-average suspension compared to most of its competition.

Kara Williard and Kristin Sinnott review the Nordica Santa Ana 88 for BLISTER.
Kara Williard on the Nordica Santa Ana 88 (Crested Butte Mountain Resort, CO)

Rather than wanting to charge straight through rough, cruddy snow, the Santa Ana 88 encourages a more finesse-oriented approach with more turns and lower speeds. Fortunately, the ski makes this pretty easy, thanks to its fairly accessible nature. Unlike some ultra-stable skis, the Santa Ana 88 doesn’t feel like a major burden at slower speeds, nor does it require that you ski it aggressively 100% of the time.

Kristin: I agree that the Santa Ana 88 is not the best ski for charging through crud at high speeds. In those conditions, it does exhibit some tip chatter, but I still found the ski predictable and easy to control, especially if I slowed down a bit. 


Kara (5’9”, 170 lbs / 175 cm, 77 kg): For reference, I generally ski lengths between 170-184 cm, depending on the ski. For the latest Santa Ana skis, I’ve gotten along well with the 172 cm lengths for some of them, while the 179 cm lengths have suited me better for others.

I found that the Santa Ana 88 “skis a bit shorter” than some similar skis in its class; it’s fairly forgiving, so despite the fact that it’s labeled as a metal-laminate ski, I wouldn’t be quick to size down if you’re between sizes. And I’d encourage strong / expert skiers to potentially opt for the longer length if they feel stuck between two lengths.

That said, Nordica currently only offers the Santa Ana 88 up to a 172 cm length, so those who want something longer are a bit out of luck. You could always check out the Enforcer 88, though that ski is a fair bit more demanding than the Santa Ana 88.

Kristin (5’8”, 130 lbs / 173 cm, 59 kg): I tend to choose skis in the 165-175 cm range but have been known to hop on skis up to 179 cm. The 172 cm Santa Ana 88 felt like the perfect length for me. Not so long that it was cumbersome or difficult to maneuver in tight terrain, but also not so short that I felt like the skis were seriously lacking in support or composure at speed. 

Kara Williard and Kristin Sinnott review the Nordica Santa Ana 88 for BLISTER.
Kara Williard on the Nordica Santa Ana 88 (Crested Butte Mountain Resort, CO)

Mount Point

Kara: In line with the directional design of this ski, the Santa Ana 88 has a fairly rearward mount point of about -8 cm from true center. This ski feels most intuitive when skied with a forward, directional stance and that’s generally how I aim to ski, so I never felt the need to stray from the recommended mount point (as has been the case for me with the other Santa Ana skis).

Who’s It For?

Kara: There are a few different groups of skiers who I think could appreciate the Santa Ana 88.

First and most obvious to me is a fairly strong intermediate skier who is looking for a versatile all-mountain tool with which to grow their skills, both on and off piste. The relative accessibility of the Santa Ana 88 can make it less intimidating and more confidence-inspiring than more stable alternatives, yet it’s not some super-soft ski that will hold you back as soon as you begin to improve.

The Santa Ana 88 also makes sense for an advanced to expert skier who wants something that they can ski fairly hard on firm / shallow-snow days, but that is pretty agile and not super demanding. As I noted above, the Santa Ana 88 is plenty versatile to serve as a 1-ski quiver in low-snow areas, or as a narrower ski in a quiver with wider options for deeper days.

The more energy you put into the Santa Ana 88, the more it gives back, but you don’t necessarily need to do so for it to be enjoyable. Compared to some of the wider Santa Ana skis, the 88 seems to have a broader sweet spot that makes it more accessible to skiers on the lower end of the experience spectrum.

Bottom Line

The Nordica Santa Ana 88 brings much of what we’ve come to expect from the Santa Ana series to a narrower, more accessible platform. It’s fairly smooth and stable, quite intuitive, and versatile for its width. It’s not what we’d recommend to aggressive skiers seeking maximum high-speed composure, but because of its blend of stability and accessibility, there are lots of folks who could enjoy it.

Deep Dive Comparisons

Become a Blister Member to check out our Deep Dive comparisons of the latest Santa Ana 88 to see how it compares to the Nordica Santa Ana 93, Nordica Santa Ana 98, Blizzard Black Pearl 88, Meier Skis BNK, Line Pandora 84, Head Kore 85 W, Salomon Stance 88 W, Armada Reliance 92 Ti, Blizzard Sheeva 9, Fischer Ranger 90, & Atomic Maven 93 C.

2023-2024 Nordica Santa Ana 88, BLISTER
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5 comments on “2023-2024 Nordica Santa Ana 88”

  1. This intermediate skiier is just shy of 5′ tall and weighs in at 106 lbs. I ski both the midwest and a couple trips out west. Is it possible for these skis to be made in a shorter version?

  2. It’s different reviewers, but I noticed the flex evaluation for the 93 is actually a little bit stiffer than the 88. The opposite would be expected. Is this just a reviewer perception difference or is the 88 really a touch softer? I’m not able to try them myself at the moment.

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