Expert Review: 2023 Nordica Santa Ana 93 Skis [with Video]
Ski Experts Sara Beeken and Jessica Whittam tested the 2023 Nordica Santa Ana 93 skis on carving, freestyle, and freeride at Powder Mountain in Utah.
Curated Ski Experts Jessica Whittam and Sara Beeken got their hands on the 2023 Nordica Santa Ana 93 skis this spring and put them to the test at Powder Mountain in Utah. Check out how they performed in the carving, freestyle, and freeride categories, but consider the fact that each and every skier is different. If you have any questions about the Santa Ana 93 or need recommendations on which skis would be best for you, reach out to a Ski Expert here on Curated.
Before we get started, it's worth noting that Curated Experts are not sponsored by any brands. All of these reviews are completely unbiased.
What does Nordica claim about these skis? [Jessica] This ski is actually labeled as an advanced ski, which I kind of disagree with because I think this would be a really good option for the improving athletic beginner, somebody in their intermediate level, or someone who is just looking to progress in this sport.
[Sara] Nordica claims that these are advanced-level, all-mountain skis. I agree that they're definitely good for all-mountain. I would personally say these are very accessible for an intermediate skier.
What is your overall impression of these skis?
[Jessica] Love it. Love it very much. The 93 underfoot is the perfect zone, in my opinion, for the all-mountain ski for people who ski a lot of different levels, skill levels, and terrain types. So I think this is a great versatile all-mountain ski and great on groomers. As I talked about before, I felt the tips dig in, as the more I pressed into the turn, the more responsive the tips were. This was really cool to feel. They're really lightweight, so you could actually use these skis as a touring ski. They're pretty popular for touring. Really responsive. I can absolutely see why this is one of the top women's skis in the world. In terms of flex, I wouldn't say these are super stiff, but I also wouldn't say these are super soft. They're like a happy medium — right in the middle.
[Sara] My first impression of these skis is that they're really accessible. They're really versatile. They were very easy to turn despite being advanced skis. I think that there's a wide variety of people who could be using these skis. I think they'd be great for an intermediate who’s looking to explore a little bit off-piste, maybe pop into the trees a little bit. They're pretty stable at speed, so even if you are moving a little bit faster and progressing more quickly, I think they're going to hold up just like you need them to. They've got camber underfoot here, and a decent amount of it, so I could feel a little bit of pop across the hill. Rocker and tip keep you floating in a little bit of snow.
They're not really chattery. They hold up at speed. They're not popping across the hill as aggressively as some other advanced skis. I don't know that I agree with Nordica's advertising these as advanced skis. I think that they're very accessible to intermediates. Maybe even an athletic beginner could do pretty well on these and not have to replace their skis once they have progressed to an advanced level. Yeah, versatile. I like it.
How do they turn? [Jessica] These skis have a 13- to 15-meter turn radius, which means that you can get going for some nice tight slalom turns and take them all the way out to big GS turns. These skis are built with conventional camber underfoot to help with turn initiation on groomers and packed snow.
[Sara] If you're an intermediate/advanced level skier, you won't have any problems turning these. The rocker in the tip makes it easy to turn, they're pretty lightweight, and, like I said, they’re just a very accessible ski.
How about edge hold? [Jessica] The edges on the ski I was actually fairly surprised with. As I dug further and further into my edge in my turn, I could actually feel the initiation of the tip, and I could really tighten up my turns. That was really cool to feel. So, as I really laid into those turns and put my hips into the ground, the more the ski would respond and make an even tighter turn. I think that's the first time that I felt the initiation of the rocker tip actually getting into contact with the snow, and that was really cool.
[Sara] I felt like the edge hold was really good. The stability of the ski as a whole, for an intermediate or advanced level skier, I think will be just right. For me, I was going a little faster than I think these skis were ready for.
Are they stable?
[Sara] I did experience a little bit of chatter when I was going through some steep. It was basically dust on crust. We had a chunky, icy layer underneath a few inches of fresh snow. And just because of the steepness of it and the speed that I was going, these didn't feel super stable. However, if you, like I said, are an intermediate or even an advanced skier, and you're just going through some mellow trees or some mellow ice fields, they should hold up just fine.
Any chatter in the skis? [Jessica] They weren't super chattery.
[Sara] I think if you're someone like me who really is carving hard turns and maybe has a background of using more carving-oriented skis, you might find that these are a little bit chattery.
How do they perform at speed? [Jessica] I wouldn't call these soft, but I wouldn't call them stiff. They felt pretty good in the turns. And as I said, they held up really well at higher speeds.
[Sara] These are a stable ride for sure. They're not really chattery. They hold up at speed. They're not popping across the hill as aggressively as some other advanced skis.
Could you speak about playfulness and pop?
[Jessica] Really playful. It rewards aggression.
[Sara] They've got camber underfoot here, and a decent amount of it, so I could feel a little bit of pop across the hill.
What about skiing switch?
[Sara] I did try skiing switch a little bit on these. They're not really meant for that. I think that if you're at the level where these skis would be best suited, you're probably not going to be skiing switch. They're definitely not park skis, but if you're just jumping some little side hits every now and then, they're going to do just fine.
How are they on jumps? [Jessica] You can absolutely take these things off little hits and little jumps here and there. I wouldn't recommend these as a park ski, but I was able to get some air on them.
[Sara] I took them off of a couple of jumps. It's not necessarily what they're made for, but I think these skis are really sufficient for a lot of things. I would say that they're not the top ski in any category, but they are the most well-rounded that I've skied.
How would they be in powder? [Jessica] These do have early rise, which, as Nordica said, helps with float in the powder. I definitely did feel that today. It was nice when I was in about two inches of fresh powder — two to three inches with some crud underneath — and they held up really well. Got through the powder, no problem. They were a little bit chattery on the crud, but not too bad.
On these skis, I would avoid deep powder. If you're going to be skiing deep powder, you might want something a little bit fatter. At 93 underfoot, they are a really happy medium between big mountain and groomer ski. So, if you want a ski that's truly great for groomers, I would go with something a little bit narrower and a little bit stiffer. And if you want something for deep powder days, you might want something a little bit wider.
[Sara] Being 93 underfoot, they're going to float in a couple of inches of powder. If you're skiing a lot of powder, you live on the West Coast, and you're wanting something wider, this is probably not the ski for you.
What kind of terrain do they perform well on? [Jessica] The 93 underfoot is the perfect zone, in my opinion, for the all-mountain ski, for people who ski a lot of different levels, skill levels, and terrain types. So I think this is a great versatile all-mountain ski, great on groomers. Great in the trees. These skis would also be a really great option for backcountry because of their versatility.
[Sara] I feel like these are really solid in a lot of areas, but at the same time, not the most high-performance in any one area. When I take them through the trees and through some soft snow, they do really well, if I'm doing some pretty conservative skiing. If we're on some mellow terrain — which is a couple of inches of fresh powder — they do great through the trees. It's a good stable ride. And I think that's why it's a good introductory level ski for off-piste. But I felt like when I was skiing on the groomers, they held a good edge.
Who would you recommend these skis to? [Jessica] If you're looking to progress in the sport and you're kind of new to the sport, this might be a really good option for you because you could keep this ski for years, and you can keep this ski all the way until you're an expert skier.
These are great for touring. They're really lightweight, really responsive, great in the trees, and a little bit iffy on the chatter. They are a softer ski but all around a great option. I can see why it's one of the top women's skis, and it's beloved by so many for a reason.
[Sara] I would absolutely recommend these skis to somebody who's an intermediate or advanced skier. For intermediates, if you're looking to progress and you're really starting to explore new parts of the mountain, I think this is a fantastic option for you. This is a really popular ski for that reason. It's so versatile and so accessible.
I feel like these are really good skis to progress on. A friend of mine progressed from skiing groomers, to intermediate level, some introduction to trees, some introduction to steeps. If you're used to a carving ski, they're not going to necessarily feel like a carving ski. But they are going to do really well for somebody who's learning to carve or is already carving a little bit. And it's just really for intermediate-advanced skiers — I think they would be the best audience for these.
Who should avoid these skis, there are better options out there for them to consider?
[Jessica] I would say to people who are just getting on skis for the first time that this is going to be a little bit difficult. But if you are athletic, I think that you would be able to handle this. I wouldn't recommend this to somebody who is a four-star IFSA competitive skier. You might want something a little burlier than this, but I think this is a great ski for all different levels.
[Sara] I would not recommend these to expert-level skiers, somebody who's looking for something that's going to do really well in deep powder, or somebody who just needs a little bit more support and a more aggressive ski for their skiing style.
Skis work differently for different types of skiers. If you have any questions about the Nordica Santa Ana 93 or want help finding the right skis for you, reach out to Jessica, Sara, or any other Ski Expert here on Curated for free, personalized recommendations.