2023 Nordica Santa Ana 93 Review
This perennial favorite didn’t win any awards this year, but testers still love it for its backbone and dependability
This article was first published by SkiMag.com.
The Scores (out of 10)
- Overall Score: 8.08/10
- Rank: #5
- Versatility: 8.5
- Crud Performance: 8
- Playfulness: 7.75
- Responsiveness: 8.25
- Hard-Snow Integrity: 8
- Quickness: 8
- Stability at Speed: 7.75
- Carving: 8
- Flotation: 7.25
- Forgiveness: 7.5
- Price: $700
- Lengths: 151, 158, 165, 172, 179
- Dimensions: 125.5-93-112.5
- Radius: 15.5
- Level: Strong Intermediate to Expert
In a Nutshell
- Pros: Responsiveness (#4), Versatility (#4)
- Cons: Playfulness (#6), Forgiveness (#4)
It’s hard to find true weaknesses in the Santa Ana 93, a jack of all trades that performs on hard snow and in soft, in variable terrain and on the groomers. When asked to characterize this ski, “dependable” was a classic refrain.
That probably comes down to the ski’s construction, which is about as sturdy and versatile as they come. Featuring a healthy mix of wood and Nordica’s Terrain Specific Metal (TSM), which adjusts the width of the metal sheet in the layup of the ski to match the type of conditions it’s meant to tackle, the Santa Ana 93 was built from the inside out to charge the whole mountain.
As one of the narrower models in the Santa Ana family, the Santa Ana 93 includes a wider sheet of metal than her bigger sisters (the Santa Ana 110 Free, Santa Ana 104 Free, and Santa Ana 98), which makes her stiffer and better suited to edging on firm snow. The Santa Ana 93 also has a flatter tail than her wider sisters, giving you more effective edge to work with when you’re slicing up groomers.
All this makes the Santa Ana 93 a particularly responsive all-mountain tool. Pressure the front of this ski, and it will respond immediately and do your bidding, which makes it a great choice for advanced and expert skiers who spend equal time on and off the groomed. Don’t mistake this ski’s responsiveness for quickness, though. It’s not the fastest to initiate turns and it takes a skilled skier to get the Santa Ana 93 to fire off short-swing turns. “It’s a lot of work on short turn initiation, and you have to watch yourself at higher speeds, where you get a little chatter,” said tester and expert skier from the East Avery Pesce.
Its other weakness is in the playfulness and approachability departments, though that’s arguably a subjective weakness. This ski doesn’t hum with energy like others tested in the all-mountain category, but not everyone likes a ski with personality. True, the Santa Ana 93 isn’t the most user-friendly or playful ski among this year’s all-mountain offerings, but it’s dependable and stable as anything and a great choice for advanced and expert women who gravitate towards a ski with some backbone.
“Super-fun ski for all-mountain adventures,” said Pesce. “Can handle hard-charging and smears really well, but is a lot of work in short turns.”
Jenny Wiegand is SKI’s managing editor. Born and raised in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, Jenny grew up exploring the Alps on skis, bikes, and her own two feet. She has since traded in the Alps for the Rockies to seek new trails, new adventures, and write about her favorite sport—skiing—in her new home of Boulder, Colo. Since joining the SKI Magazine editorial team in 2018, Jenny has written and edited stories for SKI’s print and digital outlets. A lifelong skier and former club racer, Jenny is also a self-proclaimed gearhead and puts that knowledge to good use as one of SKI Magazine’s official gear testers.