We’re all for more women’s-specific skis, especially from Nordica, a brand that has a tried and true history of delivering high-performance chargers for ladies. But there is some overlap between the latest addition to the wildly popular Santa Ana line—Santa Ana 84—and the all-new Wild Belle DC 84.
The flagship model of the new Wild Belle line is a sturdy, dependable frontside tool with a versatile waist width of 84mm. But the Santa Ana 84 matches that very same description. So what’s the difference between these two women’s skis from Nordica, and which is best for women looking for a new frontside ski that’s designed to rip groomers but can also dabble in rough terrain?
To help answer those questions, we break down the similarities and differences between next season’s Nordica Wild Belle 84 DC and the 2022 Nordica Santa Ana 84. Both be available come fall 2021.
Nordica Wild Belle 84 DC vs. Nordica Santa Ana 84
Nordica Wild Belle DC 84 Construction and Sidecut
- Available Lengths (cm): 144, 150, 156, 162, 168
- Dimensions (mm): 133-84-112 (162)
- Core: Double Wood Core (DC)
- Rocker Profile: Tip rocker, flat tail
The key construction feature of the Wild Belle DC 84 is Nordica’s new Double Wood Core technology. This construction uses two layers of poplar wood with beech wood stringers that sandwich a layer of rubber (which Nordica dubs Pulse Core).
Unlike the Santa Ana models, the Wild Belle DC 84 contains no metal in the core. Instead, the ski relies on the two layers of poplar and the rubber layer in the center to provide the damping qualities of metal. Because poplar is a lighter, softer, and more pliable wood, skis that feature poplar in the core tend to be especially lively, responsive, and nimble.
Learn more: Essential Ski and Boot Terminology
As for the Wilde Belle DC 84’s sidecut profile, its shape indicates that this ski is designed to slice and dice groomers above all else. A more dramatic sidecut means that when the ski is pressured underfoot, the edges engage quickly and make for easy carving. Because the Wild Belle DC 84 has minimal tip rocker and a flat tail, the ski has a longer effective edge that provides more grip on hard snow.
Nordica Santa Ana 84 Construction and Sidecut
- Available Lengths (cm): 144, 151, 158, 165, 172
- Dimensions (mm): 120-84-105 (165)
- Core: Wood/carbon with Terrain Specific Metal (TSM)
- Rocker Profile: Tip rocker, tail rocker
Like the rest of the Santa Ana family, the new Santa Ana 84 features a wood core with carbon stringers and a layer of Nordica’s Terrain Specific Metal. TSM, introduced in the 2021 Santa Anas, tailors the amount of metal in the core of each ski to the ski’s designated use.
Being the narrowest ski in the Santa Ana line, the Santa Ana 84 is designed for on-trail performance and therefore features a wider layer of metal than her Santa Ana sisters. This wider layer of metal ensures better edge grip on hard snow and provides more stability at speed.
Unlike the Wild Belle DC 84, the Santa Ana 84 features a more significant rocker profile in both the tip and tail. More rocker means more versatility when it comes to tackling anything other than groomed snow, and it also makes for easier turn initiation and release. This means the Santa Ana 84, while still primarily a frontside ski, is versatile enough to also perform in bumps and crud.
While Nordica bills both the Wild Belle DC 84 and Santa Ana 84 as women’s-specific all-mountain skis and designed both accordingly, there are subtle differences that differentiate their performance on the hill.
With more effective edge and less rocker, the Wild Belle DC 84 is built to primarily stick to groomers. Despite the lack of metal, the Wild Belle’s Double Core construction makes the ski rather heavy but also means it performs predictably on hard snow. In short: It may be an all-mountain ski in waist width, but it’s a frontside ski at heart.
The Santa Ana 84’s more generous tip and tail rocker, and less dramatic sidecut, make it a more versatile frontside tool. Its narrower waist and layer of TSM in the core mean that it will carve and hold an edge on hard snow, but it can also adapt to skiing off-trail, like in bumps and trees.
Type of Skier
Intermediate ladies looking for a frontside tool to help them lean into carving and grow their technical skill may want to gravitate towards the new Wild Belle DC 84. Women who find themselves on groomed runs more often than not will find a trusty teaching tool in this ski. It’s so damp and stable that it inspires confidence and encourages skiers to experiment with different turn shapes and skiing styles.
The Santa Ana 84, like its Santa Ana sisters, is designed for more advanced and powerful skiers. Women on the hunt for a narrow and versatile all-mountain tool, one that excels on hard snow but can also dabble in the rough, should consider this ski over the Wild Belle DC 84.