Tricia

The Velvet Hammer
Admin
Pugski Ski Tester
Joined
Nov 1, 2015
Posts
16,243
Location
Tahoe
Santa Ana 88 vs 93.png

This Cage Match is more like a sibling throwdown. With the introduction of the Santa Ana 88, Nordica has forced the question, "Which is better for me, the 88 or 93?" At first glance, the differences in waist width and turning radius seem negligible, which may leave you scratching your head. After all, the predecessor to the Santa Ana 88 was the Astral 88, which was clearly more frontside-biased and left no doubt whether it or the Santa Ana 93 was the right ski for you. While the Santa Ana 88 is a closer sister to the 93, there are enough differences that you will find one a better fit than the other.

For starters, some women have found themselves in limbo between lengths in the Santa Ana 93 with the leap from 161 to 169 cm. Nordica has switched the sizing in the 88, offering it in 151, 158, 165, and 172, which will fill the gap for women who weren't quite sure where the sweet spot was with the 93. Beyond sizing differences, the Santa Ana 88 has a slightly (emphasis on slightly) shorter turn radius, making it a bit quicker in a tight spot, while still having the strength to power through crud. The Santa Ana 93, which is wider but not too wide, obviously offers the platform to serve as a one-ski quiver for the woman who is likely to venture off piste.

Some might say that the Santa Ana 88 is more of an East Coast-biased version of the Santa Ana 93, but I may argue that the Santa Ana 88 makes for some fun chuting with its nimble yet stable build; it is the perfect pairing with the Santa Ana 100 in a two-ski quiver.
  • Why choose the Santa Ana 88? You are between sizes in the 93 or are looking for a complement to your powder ski.
  • Why choose the Santa Ana 93? You want a one-ski quiver and spend more time off piste more than on.
 

AmyPJ

No longer on the single track.
Pugski Ski Tester
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
4,790
Location
Ogden, UT
^^^ Nailed it :)
I'm one of those who's a tweener on sizes on the 93 and has found the 88 to be an absolute blast in a 165, in all conditions. And my complimentary ski? An older Santa Ana 100 in a 169. There's something about the shape of these skis that makes them super easy to initiate turns on, super easy to drift and skid on, yet they'll hold an edge very well. I can see why this line of skis, extending to the Enforcer series, are so popular.
 

AmyPJ

No longer on the single track.
Pugski Ski Tester
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
4,790
Location
Ogden, UT
I'm coming back to this thread to reiterate for those who aren't sure which ski to get--go with the ski that comes in the length that suits you better. I have now skied the SA 88 in powder, 20 inches of powder, 6 inches of cream cheese powder, and all the leftovers from that. They would not normally be my first choice for 20 inches of powder but they were all I had that day and they were absolutely fantastic in it. In the denser powder, same thing. Back to the groomers, which were getting free refills of dense powder that was getting skied out, and they just blasted through stuff and made turn initiation a breeze no matter what was ahead. The two sheets of titanal smooth things out nicely without making them super stiff or unforgiving. In the untracked, the titanal gives a nice feel in and out of the turn--a good amount of smooth energy that makes it much easier to link up turns and get a good rhythm going.

A true one ski quiver--this is a Swiss army knife of skis. I personally prefer skis under 90mm which might be one reason the 88s are my first choice. When you aren't sure which ski to grab out of the quiver, you really can't go wrong grabbing the SA 88 OR 93.
 

Rostapher

All Praise Ullr
Skier
Joined
Nov 12, 2018
Posts
168
Location
SoCal - Inland Empire
@Tricia & @AmyPJ Great reviews! Looking for a new narrower daily driver ski for my wife who is 6’1” and currently on the SA 100’s @ 177 & loves them (it’s her only ski). Thus the SA 88’s seemed like an obvious ski to consider, but max length is 172. Do you think she would miss the 5 cm?

Planned usages are everything from groomers to bumps & well spaced trees. We’re in SoCal & ski Mammoth, Snow Summit & Baldy mainly. She says she wants something with more pop at the end of the turn, but stability at fast-ish speed is important as well. (She’s mentioned multiple times that she didn’t like the Black Pearl because of the flappy tips!) Do you think the 88s have more pop than the 100s?

Also, thinking about the Navigator 85 & Liberty V82 for slightly more on-piste biased options. Is there anything “better” for this kind of usage than the SA 88?
 

AmyPJ

No longer on the single track.
Pugski Ski Tester
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
4,790
Location
Ogden, UT
@Tricia & @AmyPJ Great reviews! Looking for a new narrower daily driver ski for my wife who is 6’1” and currently on the SA 100’s @ 177 & loves them (it’s her only ski). Thus the SA 88’s seemed like an obvious ski to consider, but max length is 172. Do you think she would miss the 5 cm?

Planned usages are everything from groomers to bumps & well spaced trees. We’re in SoCal & ski Mammoth, Snow Summit & Baldy mainly. She says she wants something with more pop at the end of the turn, but stability at fast-ish speed is important as well. (She’s mentioned multiple times that she didn’t like the Black Pearl because of the flappy tips!) Do you think the 88s have more pop than the 100s?

Also, thinking about the Navigator 85 & Liberty V82 for slightly more on-piste biased options. Is there anything “better” for this kind of usage than the SA 88?
Yes, she would miss the extra length. I can't comment if they have more pop, but they will be quicker to respond/turn thanks to their narrower width which could feel like they have more energy. They are very stable at speed.

I can't comment on the other options, well, I did like the Liberty a whole lot when I skied it. I did ski the "sister" ski to the Navigator two years ago, and was a huge fan of it as well. One fun thing about the Santa Ana 88 is I never regret if it snows and I only have it with me. And once things get tracked out (in an hour where I ski anymore) they are superb.

The Enforcer 88 would come in the longer length she would need. Again, I'll defer to Tricia on that as well. It sounds like your wife is tall and athletic and could probably handle the bit of extra titanal that comes in the Enforcer.
 

GregK

Out on the slopes
Skier
Joined
Mar 21, 2017
Posts
1,042
Location
Ontario, Canada
The Santa Ana/Enforcer 88 will “ski longer” than the wider versions like the 100 as they are stiffer with less rocker. The difference between the current Santa Ana 88 and Enforcer 88 is a little heavier wood core in the Enforcer version with both having 2 sheets of metal.

In 2021 Santa Ana versions, they go down to a single sheet of metal varied depending on width, so a little lighter and more forgiving than current versions. Again the longest length of 172cm in the 88 which is too bad as a 179cm 2021 version might be ideal.

An option would be the Enforcer 88 in 172cm which would be a bit heavier than the Santa Ana 88 and similar weight to her current 177cm 100. Nice and stable in variable terrain still but quicker edge to edge and lighter swing weight. Lots of great deals currently on 2020 Enforcer 88 too-$582 CAN with bindings right now.

Navigator 85 a little lighter and more on piste biased, so you gain a bit more hard snow carving capability but lose off piste and crud charging capability vs the Enforcer 88. Really tough to beat the versatility of the Enforcer/Santa Ana shape.
 

Rostapher

All Praise Ullr
Skier
Joined
Nov 12, 2018
Posts
168
Location
SoCal - Inland Empire
Thanks for the responses @AmyPJ & @GregK. After talking with my wife a bit more, she decided she wanted something more different from her current SA100s than the SA88. So, I just bought her the Liberty V82 for a really nice price at Sun & Ski.
 

AmyPJ

No longer on the single track.
Pugski Ski Tester
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
4,790
Location
Ogden, UT
Thanks for the responses @AmyPJ & @GregK. After talking with my wife a bit more, she decided she wanted something more different from her current SA100s than the SA88. So, I just bought her the Liberty V82 for a really nice price at Sun & Ski.
Awesome. She should love them!
 

Staff online

Top