2018-2019 Nordica Santa Ana 100

Blister reviews the Nordica Santa Ana 100
Nordica Santa Ana 100

Ski: 2018-2019 Nordica Santa Ana 100, 177 cm

Available Lengths: 153, 161, 169, 177 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 176.1 cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1983 & 1999 grams

Stated Dimensions: 133-100-121 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 134.2-99.6-121.3 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius: 16.5 meters

Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 58 mm / 19 mm

Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~3 mm

Core: Balsa/Poplar/Beech + Carbon Fiber Stringers + Titanal (2-layer) + Fiberglass Laminate

Base: Sintered Graphite

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -8.2 cm from center; 79.9 cm from tail

Blister’s Recommended Mount Point: Recommended line

Boots / Bindings: Lange XT 110 W / Tyrolia AAAttack 13 Demo

Test Locations: Telluride Ski Resort, Copper Mountain, & Arapahoe Basin, CO; Taos Ski Valley, NM

Reviewer: 5’9”, 145 lbs

Days Skied: 15

Intro

When I first heard about the 17/18 women’s Santa Ana line from Nordica (which returns unchanged for 18/19), I was intrigued and excited. Upon the first mention of a dual-metal-laminate women’s ski — and in a length (177 cm) that could potentially be just right for me — I was eager to try it. And this season, Kristin Sinnott and I were both able to put a good amount of time on Santa Ana 100, and get it in a broad range of conditions.

Before getting on the Santa Ana 100, I did spend quite a few days on the Nordica Enforcer 100 in a 177 cm, which is the men’s equivalent ski. I had found the Enforcer 100 to be a very versatile ski, offering a great balance of agility and stability for the terrain I spend the most time in. Overall, I had a very similar experience with the Santa Ana 100, and will compare the two skis further down.

I’ve skied the Santa Ana 100 in a variety of conditions, from really firm, fast days on groomers at Taos to steep, chalky snow at Telluride, with some nice powder days in between. Through all these conditions, I’ve continued to be impressed by the Santa Ana 100.

Here’s what Nordica says about the Santa Ana 100:

“Some skis truly do it all. For proof, look no further than the Santa Ana 100. Thanks to a balsa wood core with carbon sandwiched between two sheets of metal, it offers a ride that’s especially smooth and stable. This design also enhances edge hold and response to inspire confidence and keep you in control. The Santa Ana 100’s early rise tip and tail rocker profile makes it easy to navigate through variable terrain and provides additional floatation in soft snow. And its 100mm waist offers exceptional versatility, ensuring the ski can handle all terrain and conditions. Simply put, the Santa Ana offers a modern design that allows you to ski how you want—where you want. Whether ducking in the trees on a powder day or skiing groomers with friends, the Santa Ana 100 is up for anything—and then some.”

Flex Pattern

Handflexing the Santa Ana 100, here’s how we’d characterize its flex pattern:

Tips: 9-8
Shovels: 7-6.5
In Front of Toe Piece: 8-9
Underfoot: 10
Behind Heel Piece: 9-8
Tails: 8.5-9

The ski is quite stiff at the very end of its tips and tails (the final ~6 cm at each end), but the overall flex pattern is nice and solid, but not burly.

Groomers

My first few days on the Santa Ana 100 were spent ripping groomers and really testing the ski’s speed limit.

Blister reviews the Nordica Santa Ana 100
Kristin Sinnott on the Nordica Santa Ana 100, Telluride Ski Resort, CO. (photo by Patrick Sinnott)

Instantly, I was impressed. The Santa Ana 100 initiates turns quickly and easily, feels very steady and damp underfoot, and offers a nice, strong finish through the tail. The Santa Ana 100 feels unique in that it has a lot of energy in each turn, yet offers an impressively stable feel, even at high speeds (and even on very firm, man-made groomers). At the same time, as soon as I wanted to slow it down, this ski could easily make small turns (a trait that it shares with the men’s Enforcer 100).

Moguls

The Santa Ana 100 feels fairly quick and maneuverable in moguls. It responds well to fast turns through bumps, with just enough forgiveness if I slip up and lose balance. While it feels pretty quick and fairly forgiving, the Santa Ana 100 does prefer a more aggressive / forward stance, and doesn’t feel as forgiving (particularly in the tail) compared to the Blizzard Sheeva 10. The Santa Ana 100 is not extremely demanding, but it did let me know if I was getting too far backseat.

Blister reviews the Nordica Santa Ana 100
Kara Williard on the Nordica Santa Ana 100, Telluride Ski Resort, CO. (photo by Patrick Sinnott)

I’ve skied the Santa Ana 100 in pretty much every type of mogul — from big to small and slushy to icy — and the ski felt comfortable in all types of bumps. It’s quick and playful enough for quick turns through smaller moguls, while being strong enough for steeper and more challenging terrain.

Powder / Soft Chop

I’ve taken the Santa Ana 100 out for a few powder days, ranging from 5” to one deeper 15” day. Overall, I have been impressed with the Santa Ana 100 in powder and soft chop. After spending much of the early season just on groomers, it took me a couple days to get my powder legs back. Luckily, the Santa Ana 100 was still easy and intuitive to maneuver in the soft stuff, despite not being very wide and being fairly heavy (compared to other women’s skis of this width).

The Santa Ana 100’s shovel has enough rocker to help it plane up well in powder without feeling punchy, and the ski did a good job of absorbing variations in the snow / terrain. This was particularly useful on ~6” pow days when I was often busting through to the firm layer underneath. When I did it get the Santa Ana 100 out on a deeper day (12-15” new snow), it did surprisingly well. It would not be the ski I would typically choose for such a day, and I was still wishing for something a bit wider, but the Santa Ana 100 still did a pretty good job of planing up and allowed me to make the turns I desired.

In soft chop, the Santa Ana 100 again provides a very smooth feel when skiing at speed, but doesn’t feel very demanding. I really appreciated this since, with the Santa Ana 100, I was able to get the smooth feel of a metal laminate ski without losing the ability to easily play around at slower speeds in soft snow.

If you’re looking for more of a powder-oriented ski with a very similar on-snow feel, the Santa Ana 110 is definitely worth a look. Kristin Sinnott recently reviewed the Santa Ana 110, and you should definitely check out her review if you like the sound of the Santa Ana 100, but are looking for something that will perform better in deeper conditions (and is obviously a bit less ideal for firmer snow).

Firm Chop

In firm chop, the Santa Ana 100 felt capable of slicing through and smoothing out most of the firmer and more set-up snow, even in the morning before anything had softened up. I could comfortably ski it at speed in the rougher stuff, yet still shut it down easily. An all-time favorite ski of mine is the 173 cm Blizzard Bonafide, and the Santa Ana 100 provided much of what I enjoy in that ski in terms of stability, but with an even quicker and snappier feel. For firm, shallow chop, the Santa Ana 100 is definitely my favorite ski I’ve used this season.

Sizing

I usually prefer skis in the 172-180 cm range, which often means I have to ski a men’s ski. However, the 177 cm Santa Ana 100 is a great length for me as an all-mountain ski, which is another reason I was really happy to get out on it since it’s a women’s ski where I don’t need to compromise in size. It is refreshing to see how manufacturers are responding to the demand for more versatile and aggressive women’s skis, and offering them in longer lengths.

Nordica Santa Ana 100 vs. Blizzard Sheeva 10

I recently spent a bit of time on the 172 cm Blizzard Sheeva 10, which I think is a pretty similarly versatile ski, but with a slightly more forgiving feel that’s most noticeable in tighter terrain and bumps. While it’s slightly more demanding, the Santa Ana 100 is also bit more stable than the Sheeva 10, particularly at high speeds and on groomers. Given the Santa Ana 100’s heavier weight and longer length, this is not all that surprising. I still think the Sheeva 10 is a ski many skiers will like, it just has a different, more playful feel when compared to the Santa Ana 100. We’ll be posting a full review of the Sheeva 10 in the future where we’ll talk more about that ski.

Nordica Santa Ana 100 vs. Nordica Enforcer 100

While the Enforcer 100 and Santa Ana 100 have slightly different cores, they share identical dimensions and rocker profiles. And after spending time on both skis in the same length, I noticed hardly any perceptible difference between the two. While I do know women who ski the Enforcer 100 over the Santa Ana 100, the main reason for that revolves mostly around length, in that the Enforcer 100 is offered in a 185 cm, and the Santa Ana 100’s longest available length is 177 cm.

Blister reviews the Nordica Santa Ana 100
Kristin Sinnott on the Nordica Santa Ana 100, Telluride Ski Resort, CO. (photo by Patrick Sinnott)

After considerable time on both skis, I would confidently refer aggressive female skiers to the Santa Ana 100 without feeling any inklings of compromise when it comes to performance. I had no desire to return to the Enforcer 100 once I got some days on the Santa Ana 100. The 177 cm Enforcer 100 is likely a bit heavier than the 177 cm Santa Ana 100, though we haven’t had a chance to weigh the 177 cm Enforcer 100 (our pair of 185 cm Enforcer 100’s came in at 2131 & 2189 grams per ski). Despite the potential weight difference, I still feel as though the Santa Ana 100 was as stable and damp as the Enforcer 100.

Bottom Line

After 15 days on the Nordica Santa Ana 100, I have had nothing but fun. It offers an excellent blend of quickness, stability, and versatility in a wide range of conditions.

I would easily recommend the Santa Ana 100 as a 1-ski quiver for any woman who appreciates the damper feel of metal skis, but doesn’t want something that’s extremely demanding. While the Santa Ana 100 doesn’t encourage lazy skiing, it doesn’t necessarily require me to be 100% on my game all the time.

Overall, I’ve been very impressed by the Santa Ana 100’s combination of easy maneuverability and playfulness while remaining damp and stable at speed. With the Santa Ana 100, I think Nordica has made a very well-balanced, versatile ski that should work well for a very wide range of skiers.

NEXT: Rocker Profile Pics

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