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(Photo: Courtesy Nordica)
2023 Winter Gear Guide

2023 Nordica Santa Ana 93 Unlimited Review

This quick and reliable backcountry ski for ladies gets the job done on all but the deepest of days

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Lily Krass

This article was first published by SkiMag.com.

The Scores (out of 10)

  • Crud Performance: 7
  • Responsiveness: 9
  • Stability at Speed: 9
  • Flotation: 5
  • Playfulness: 7
  • Forgiveness: 7
  • Versatility: 8
  • Quickness: 9

The Specs

  • Price: $750
  • Lengths: 151, 158, 165, 172
  • Dimensions: 125.5-93-112.5
  • Radius: 15.5
  • Weight: 1,350g (165cm)
  • Level: Intermediate to Expert

In a Nutshell

  • Pros: Stability at Speed, Quickness
  • Cons: Floatation, Playfulness

Buy Now

The Santa Ana Unlimited 93 is an all-new offering from Nordica this season. The Unlimited series takes the power and control skiers love in the Santa Ana and Enforcer skis and combines it with a nimble, lighter chassis capable of taking big mountains by storm on the ups and the downs. This 93mm-waisted ski is the widest ski in the Santa Ana Unlimited line, which also includes an ultra-slim 88, a super solid daily driver for everything but deep powder skiing. A unisex Enforcer Unlimited 104 rounds out the line for those looking for something with a little more meat on its bones.

Related: Eight ways to use ski straps in the backcountry.

But for our lady testers, the Santa Ana Unlimited 93 got the job done in most all terrain and snow conditions they encountered. They loved how well this ski adapts to a variety of terrain—it’s quick in the trees yet quiet and stable while arcing long radius turns down wide open bowls. Testers found the Santa Ana Unlimited easy to flick around thanks to Nordica’s True Tip LT technology, which trims the amount of ABS plastic in the tip and lengthens the wood core to create a maneuverable feel with a low swing weight.

“It’s great backcountry ski for longer missions into the high alpine,” said tester Jenny Wiegand. “Light enough to make the slog doable but offers great performance for the downhill, especially in steep or technical terrain because it’s so quick.”

Read more: Learn How the Nordica Santa Ana 93 Unlimited Stacked Up Against the Competition

At 1,350 grams per ski, it won’t trash your legs on the climb, and testers were impressed with the power and responsiveness, even in crusty, hard snow. If trust is what you’re going for, this ski is a safe bet. But those who like a more playful ski to smear and pop might feel a little let down by this ski’s all-business vibe. That being said, they’re forgiving and intuitive to drive at the end of a long day, something that makes them approachable for intermediate skiers who don’t always have the gumption to keep the throttle going lap after lap.

This ski’s only real kryptonite is deep snow or heavy mank. Wiegand sums it up with some real talk: “A great ski for Colorado backcountry skiers who are realistic about the type of snow they’re likely to find in the backcountry (crust, or dust on crust). Not ideal for Utah backcountry skiers since they’re just not wide enough to float in the deep stuff, or for PNW skiers, who will want more heft for the Sierra cement out there.”

Lily Krass is a freelance ski journalist based in Jackson, Wyoming with work featured in SKI Magazine, Powder Magazine, Freeskier, Teton Gravity Research, and Ascent Backcountry Snow Journal. She spends winters backcountry skiing in Grand Teton National Park and riding lifts at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, with the occasional trip to the Alps (for the food, obviously). While she’s been in ski boots since she learned to walk, Lily has been professionally writing about skiing, gear, and all things outdoors for the past seven years. In addition to an all-consuming addiction to powder skiing mixed with heavy doses of Type II fun, Lily takes snacking seriously, and when she’s not writing or sliding on snow, she’s likely deep into a baking project in her tiny kitchen. She is the co-author of Beyond Skid: A Cookbook For Ski Bums, a collection of dirtbag-friendly recipes inspired by life in a mountain town.

Lead Photo: Courtesy Nordica

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