Expert Review: Nordica Santa ANA 98 Women's Skis · 2022

Published on 09/27/2022 · 5 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I have purchased with my own money twice - once in May of 2021 and again in August of 2022.
Lauren Dobbins, Ski Expert
By Ski Expert Lauren Dobbins

Ready for Winter! All photos courtesy of Lauren Dobbins

About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I have purchased with my own money twice - once in May of 2021 and again in August of 2022.

My take

The Nordica Santa Ana 98 skis are the perfect one-ski quiver for an aggressive woman skier looking to conquer any terrain across the resort. Since its debut in the 2020/2021 season (replacing the Santa Ana 100), these skis have been a consistent favorite for many women.

In October, you have to take a different way down the mountain

About the gear

  • Model: Nordica Santa Ana 98 2021 and Santa Ana 98 2022
  • Size: 158 for 2021, 165 for 2022

About me

  • Height: 5’3.5”
  • Weight: 130 lbs
  • Experience: 20+ years of snowboarding/skiing

Test conditions

  • When I bought these: May 2021 and August 2022
  • Days tested: 60ish for 2021, none yet for 2022
  • Mount position: Factory recommended
  • Boots: 2020 Dalbello Krypton AX 110
  • Boot Size: 23.5
  • Bindings: Marker Squire 11 Demo on 2021, Look Pivot 12 on 2022
  • Where I’ve used it: Colorado and California
  • Terrain: Any inbounds terrain (from green catwalks to double black bowls)

How they perform

High Speed Stability
Turn Ease

What I was looking for

After skiing a season and a half on my 2020 Nordica Santa Ana 93s, I wanted a longer and wider ski to accommodate how I had grown as a skier. I loved my 93s so much that I knew I wanted to stay in the Nordica family. The Santa Ana line underwent a large reconstruction for the 20/21 release, and I knew that their updates matched what I wanted in a ski (i.e., reduction of metal).

Why I chose this gear

When it came down to choosing to buy the 2021 Santa Ana 98s, I ended up purchasing a used demo pair from Winter Park during their closing weekend in May of 2021. I skied them for the entirety of the 21/22 season and was in love. I only had two complaints: I once again needed longer skis, and the demo bindings were hindering performance. My husband surprised me with a brand new pair of 2022s in a longer size for my birthday. While I haven’t used them yet, the topsheet graphic is the only difference between the 2021 and 2022 models.

First time on snow!

What I love about it

  • Speed: These skis absolutely rip in all conditions. The heaviness and stiffness of these skis allow them to stay locked on the snow in all conditions. I have let them loose on groomers and in choppy bowls, and they charge forward without looking back.
  • Edge hold: I’ve tested many skis, and the Santa Ana line is unsurpassed in its edge hold. They grip hard yet release when I ask them to. Nordica’s camber profile perfectly matches their sidecut, allowing for a greater effective edge when driven into a hard carve.
  • Groomers: The Santa Ana line is right at home on groomers. Even in the 98 waist width, these skis can keep up with the best of them on fresh corduroy.
  • Powder: Although these skis are on the heavy side, they have a surprising amount of float. Nordica pulled material out of the tip and tail a few iterations ago, allowing the ends of the ski to stay on top of the soft snow. The width of the tip lets them catch powder and float with ease. When I had them in powder, I didn’t find myself wishing I had a different ski.
  • Trees: These skis are surprisingly maneuverable in trees. My confidence on groomers was equally matched when I hit tight trees for the first time. I’ve sought out more and more gladed terrain thanks to these skis.
  • Stability: Even at high speeds, I’ve never experienced chatter on the Santa Anas. I can truly push them to the limit with confidence.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Park: While I have never taken them in the park, these skis are not recommended for park skiing by other women. They are generally too stiff and heavy.
  • Backcountry: Again, these aren’t recommended for touring due to the weight and stiffness. Nordica sells other skis that are more geared for the backcountry.
  • Weight: The biggest downside of these skis is the weight. They are very heavy and will tire a weak skier quite quickly.
  • Other: The Santa Ana 98s really aren’t meant for anyone who isn’t already an advanced skier. They are strong and demanding. If one doesn’t actively drive the skis, they will charge down the mountain without them.

You're beautiful. You're perfect. You look like Linda Evangelista. You're a model.

Favorite moment with this gear

I had time off of work between Christmas and New Year’s, so I went to Winter Park on a Wednesday. By some miracle, my husband and I picked that day before we even knew they had received 7” of new snow overnight! Even more amazing was that we could ski off of Pioneer within an hour of this chair opening for the season. There was FEET of untouched snow! I pointed these skies straight down a black run and experienced weightlessness that I never knew existed.

Value for the money vs. other options

Nordica’s price point is pretty standard for a brand of this quality. They are usually right in line with other big names like Blizzard and Atomic. Far from a budget ski, they are still fairly priced and not the most expensive on the market.

Final verdict

The Nordica Santa Ana 98 is the only daily driver I consider for myself in Colorado. Confidence inspiring on all terrain, these skis forced me to break out of my comfort zone and become a better skier. I recommend these to any advanced to expert woman skier looking to destroy the entire resort!

Out of stock
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