Tip / Waist / Tail (mm)
133-104-122 (165cm length)
158, 165, 172, 179
16 (165cm length)
Waist Width (mm)
Wood, Terrain Specific Metal
Stability at Speed
4.41 / 5
Quickness / Maneuverability
3.64 / 5
3.86 / 5
4.00 / 5
Hard Snow Performance
3.82 / 5
4.14 / 5
Balance of Skills
3.95 / 5
3.95 / 5
The Nordica Santa Ana 104 Free didn’t get top scores in any one skill department but ranked third overall because it’s one of the most consistent performers in the bunch, and that translates to high scores across the board.
Like all Nordicas, the Santa Ana 104 Free is built for speed and really shines when you put the pedal to the metal. But this Santa Ana model was also intended to be more playful than her narrower sisters thanks to a more generous rocker profile, which reduces the amount of edge that makes contact with the snow.
This Rocker Profile, in combination with Nordica’s Terrain Specific Metal technology, makes the Santa Ana 104 Free a balanced all-mountain charger. It can still grip and rip on hardpack, but it’s a more relaxed and playful Nordica ski off the groomed. “Oh man, this is what a great ski feels like,” says tester Courtney Harkins. “It has enough pop and play to keep you interested, but is stable when you want to point ’em down the hill.”
Most testers felt that if you’re hightailing it through unfavorable conditions, the Santa Ana 104 Free is what you want underfoot, and they gave the ski high scores in the Stability at Speed and Crud Performance because of this.
Testers note that the Santa Ana 104 Free is still a touch burly, even with reduced metal in the core. This makes the ski better suited to strong skiers who know how to drive a heavier, stiffer ski, and better suited to charging powder and crud than playing in bumps and trees.
“They may toss you if you don’t commit,” cautions tester Wendy Crosby. “If you commit to each turn and charge, these are sweet. If you hesitate or you’re a more intermediate skier, these might not set you up for success.”
That said, testers agree that the ski’s sturdiness makes it particularly confidence-inspiring in tough conditions. Expert skiers will love this ski’s tenacity and backbone, while advanced intermediates might find that it challenges them to step up their game.
- Strengths: Stability at Speed (3rd in category), Crud Performance (4th)
- Weaknesses: Quickness (11th), Hard-Snow Integrity (5th)