The Santa Ana 88 from Nordica takes inspiration from the brands' finest freeride planks and distils it into a neat all mountain package. Unchanged for the 2020-21 season, does it keep pace with the latest offerings?
Packing a wood core with carbon and 'terrain-specific metal' - i.e. the addition of metal differs between Santa Ana models, depending on the intended usage - the ski is aimed at high level, high speed skiers looking to charge all over the mountain.
Despite the visible freeride inspiration, this ski is aimed firmly at the piste-biased end of the all mountain spectrum, and it certainly handles well on the groomers. Unfortunately that is about the limits of its ability. The Santa Ana 88 felt surprisingly unstable off piste, and even in the soft snow it struggled with both stability and smoothness, noticeably underperforming in terms of versatility compared to other models in the field.
Rather than a high speed tool for strong skiers, this feels more suited to being an everyday ski for intermediates, but at a price point most skiers would be happy with. And that trickle-down graphic from the more freeride-focussed models does make for genuine good looks and rack appeal.