Featured Image: Brooks Curran
Carving, boosting, smearing, or slashing, the Santa Ana 98 is a workhorse of a ski, built for hitting the resort day in and day out, regardless of conditions. Skiers won’t look to Nordica for the funky, head-turning ski shapes that flip the industry on its head, but one thing that skiers have come to rely on is the confidence and capability a Nordica ski can provide for experts and intermediates alike.
Last year Nordica made significant updates to the Santa Ana collection (which now comes in widths from 84 to 110mm), switching up the core to feature one layer of metal instead of the overly beefy two sheets that the prior models contained. Nordica’s North American Product Manager, Ethan Korpi, says that the transition to using their Terrain Specific Metal technology is the key to the success of the new Santa Ana skis, a design process that adjusts the amount of metal in each ski depending on the waist width. Essentially, the wider the ski the less metal, allowing narrower models to remain solid, stable, and grippy on hardpack while keeping the wider models poppy and nimble for big mountain charging. “Metal is great, but it’s easy to overdo it,” says Korpi. “You can’t just put a standard piece of metal in each ski, since the skier on an 84 is going to want something totally different out of it than the
skier on the 98 or the 110 Free.”
Other than that, the Santa Anas have a pretty traditional build with a full wood core, vertical laminated sidewalls, tip and tail rocker and plenty of camber underfoot. Nordica’s True Tip technology extends the wood core through the tip and reduces ABS plastic, keeping swing weight low for easy steering, while a zippy 15.6 meter turning radius at the 165cm length keeps skiers light on their feet with a nimble feel that’s right at home in trees, bumps, and tight chutes. The Carbon Chassis, which features full length carbon strips, ups the strength and stability of the ski, eliminating chatter at high speeds while keeping it fairly light.
The 98 sits squarely in the middle of the Santa Ana collection, an optimal daily driver for skiing out west. It strikes a balance between powerful and maneuverable, able to keep its cool while ripping the big stuff, but easy to flow between turns at any speed. “People love the Santa Ana” says Korpil. “I think the line speaks to such a wide range of skiers because of how easy it is to feel confident and stable no matter where you are.”