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When Nordica says “all new,” it means it. Having spent a few days on both the 2021 Santa Ana 93 and 104, I can assure you that this is more than just a makeover; the lineup went under the knife, this time.

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Many of you know that I was involved with the Nordica Proto project last year on the Santa Ana 88. I have to admit, when I received the ski, I was a little disappointed that it was a 165. I gave it a shot and really enjoyed it, but I often wondered whether the 172 would have been a better length for me. I will be giving feedback throughout the season so stay tuned!

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From Nordica's press release: Nordica USA today announced details about its completely redesigned 2020-21 Santa Ana collection. The line embraces new constructions, shapes, and sizes, with the most notable innovation Nordica’s new Terrain Specific Metal (TSM), a layer of metal tuned specifically to each model. The TSM layer extends to the edges of the tips and tails for stability, while in the body of the skis, the width of the TSM layer is varied to control the flex and edge hold tailored to each model in the line. Nordica also updated the size options on several of the new models, including the 104 Free, 98, and 93 to seven-centimeter increments, and an additional size in the 98 and 93. The new size options allow skiers to find just the right ski for them.

The 104 Free model is new to the line, and is based off the award-winning men’s Enforcer 104 Free, the Santa Ana 98 replaces the 100, and the Santa Ana 93 is completely redesigned with new shape and rocker profile.

Nordica has given the 2021 Santa Ana a poplar and beech wood core and a sheet of metal; it also added the True Tip Technology that made the 88 a Tester's Choice winner in 2020. Scaled dimensions and a fresh size run will bring women of different sizes a consistent experience. For those of you who loved the "old" Santa Ana, don't worry; you'll like this one even more. For those of you who felt like you were falling in between lengths, the new size runs will address your needs. The Santa Ana 93 comes in at 126.5-93-114.5 with a 16.1m radius at 172 cm, and the 104 is 134-104-123 with a 16.5m radius. Both skis will be offered in lengths of 151, 158, 165, and 172.

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What I like about the 93 is the strength that doesn't compromise agility. At one point a fellow skier asked me if I was gaining confidence in this ski; I couldn’t deny it. I haven't had the chance to ski it in big powder, but I can say that in the windblown off piste, and firm groomers with the occasional windblown 4 in., this ski excels in a way that I haven't experienced in a very long time.

Confidence? Pfft. I felt like Wonder Woman. Carving chops? Far surpasses anything in the 93 category. Powder prowess? The 104 blew me away like Santa Ana winds in the Sierra. Spring crud? Well, it's January ... let me report back.
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About author
Pugski Tester Tricia
Height: 5'5"

Weight: 145 lb

Years skiing: 30+

Days per year: 75+

Home mountains: Mt Rose, Palisades Tahoe, Alpine Meadows

Preferred terrain: Trees, of course, but making tracks in fresh corduroy brings a smile to my face, too.

Skiing style: Finesse

Preferred ski characteristics: I like a ski that is strong enough to hold an edge but soft enough to bend with some energy and feedback.

Boots: K2 Anthem Pro 120, Lange RS Purple Haze Heritage Boot, Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 115 BOA, Salomon Supra BOA,

About me: "Do what you love, love what you do" are the words I live by. Skiing became my passion from the moment I turned 18; a little over 25 years later, I moved to the Lake Tahoe Basin to make skiing my life and career. Along with helping skiers face to face, I am the site manager and owner here on pugski.com and review product for various manufacturers, both hardgoods and softgoods as well as work with manufacturer focus groups to help improve ski gear for women.


I skied the 2021 Santa Ana 98 today at Big Sky. I lamented when the previous version came out that it was kind of a handful for me. I had owned the first iteration of it (2016??) and while I loved it in untracked powder, it was not a fun crud ski. It was way too light. So I was pretty disappointed when I got out on the next version and felt it had gone too far in the other direction from light and playful.

I always wished for a version that fell somewhere between the two. I got my wish. I skied them today in what skied like 8” of fresh Big Sky powder which quickly became crud. I struggle in crud. These skis were awesome in it and the powder. They were floaty, they slithered and sliced through the crud, plowed through the piles, and put a smile on my face all day. I love the change in length from 169 in previous versions to the 165 now. The rather short turn radius made them so playful.

I must have a pair.:ogbiggrin:

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