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Santa Ana 88 or 93s

#1
Hi divas! Not new to this group, but first time posting! I'm having trouble deciding between the new Santa Ana 88 versus the Santa Ana 93 as a one ski quiver. I'm at a strong intermediate/low advanced skill level and ski on the West Coast, mainly Tahoe, CA and Breckenridge, CO. I'll be doing trips this year to Banff/Revelstoke/Lake Louise, Aspen and Alta/Snowbird. Right now, I'm on the Volkl Aura 156 and love them for the dampness/stability, but they're heavy, fatiguing, and not forgiving enough. I'm also looking for more maneuverability. I'm 24, 5'3, and 125 lbs. I love going through trees and looking for fresh snow as well as blasting down groomers. Decent with moguls, but that's something I'd like to work on. Are there any distinct differences between the 88 and 93 other than width? I supposed 93 would be ideal for West Coast, but I've been reading about smaller skiiers going with smaller width (high 80s) even for powder. Both are within that all mountain range. I would get the 88s in 158 and 93s in 161. Thank you :smile:
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#2
For me, that's an easy question. As a one-ski quiver I would go with the Santa Ana 88. I demo'd the SA93 at Bridger and the SA88 at Sunapee last season. Although I only tried out the SA88 at Sunapee on groomers (don't ski icy NE bumps), my notes say "Great fun!" I liked the SA93 as well on and off-piste on soft snow just after a powder storms.

I'm a bit more petite that you are, probably more advanced technique-wise at this stage. My all-mountain skis that I take for trips out west are 85 underfoot. Before that I had the original Black Pearl, which was 88 underfoot. When I bought the BPs, I was just starting to ski off-piste more than one run a day. Skied the BPs in fresh powder at destination resorts like Alta or Snowmass up to about 8 inches several times, although I usually rent for deep fresh powder.

Have you ever demo'd skis longer than 161?
 

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
#3
I'm an East Coast skier and have the 93's, and I love them. Really, they're good for pretty much anything. That said, I hear great reports about the 88's, too, so I don't think you'll go wrong, either way.
 
#4
@marzNC @ski diva I have never skied longer than 161, my longest is 158! I exclusively ski on the West Coast. I just can't seem to find much difference between the two skis other than the 5mm width difference - is that even noticeable? The 88s are so new I can't find too much info on them, though 93s seem to be a fan favorite.
 

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
#5
I feel your pain. I went back and forth, back and forth, trying to decide which length to get. I'm 5'1" and usually ski a 156 in a cambered ski, so 161 seemed really long. However, the next shortest length was 153, and that seemed a big step down. What's more, the skis have quite a bit of rocker, so the contact length (the edge that comes in contact with the snow) would be even shorter. I ended up getting the 161's, and really, I'm not sorry. They do ski shorter than you expect, so don't let the 161 freak you out.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#6
I just can't seem to find much difference between the two skis other than the 5mm width difference - is that even noticeable? The 88s are so new I can't find too much info on them, though 93s seem to be a fan favorite.
Certainly not much difference between the SA93 and the SA88 given that the turn radius is very similar. Someone who wants to carve on groomers more often than wander off-piste in soft snow might enjoy the SA88 more as a one-ski quiver. At the same time, the longer lengths for the SA93 should help with float in deep soft snow or spring crud. Without demo'ing, it's hard to know what would feel different for you on various types of terrain and snow conditions.

Have you read the description on Ski Essentials?

SA93
Sidecut: 124/93/112 mm at 169 cm length
Turn Radius: 15.5 meters at 169 cm length, 13.5m @161

SA88
Sidecut: 119/88/107 mm at 165 cm length
Turn Radius: 15 meters at 165 cm length, 14m @158cm
 
#7
@ski diva That makes me feel better! I figured since the ski is less stiff and narrower than my current Auras, it'll make up for the couple inches in length difference. Also - I've demoed Black Pearls before and prefer metal. Would you say the stiffness is moreso than the BP but not so stiff as an Aura?

@marzNC Yes, I've done pretty extensive searches, but you're right, demoing is the way to go! Unfortunately, I wasn't able to and now since the 93s are on sale, I feel compelled to make a decision... the sales are getting to me
 

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
#8
Wish I could help , but I can't say how their stiffness compares to the BP or Aura. However, I do know that last year's Santa Ana's are stiffer than the previous year's model, because they added metal to the mix (the older ones had no metal). I don't prefer a really soft ski, either, and these suit me just fine.

If this helps, this is from skiessentials.com:

The Santa Ana 93 is an exceptionally smooth all mountain ski that has become a favorite among women looking for versatility and a ski with a high performance feel, without being overly demanding. Skis with two sheets of metal are often heavy, stiff, and hard to handle. The benefit is the power and vibration damping it provides. By using thinner metal than most manufacturers and the lightweight core construction Nordica has essentially retained the benefits of metal, but the ski is much lighter and softer flexing from tip to tail. The carbon then adds some energy and torsional stiffness. The Santa Ana 93 uses a rocker/camber/rocker profile with relatively long rocker in the tip. The camber underfoot combined with the performance benefits of a wood core, carbon, and metal allows you to link some pretty darn aggressive carving turns........The Santa Ana 93 really likes to flex and stay connected to the snow, but it doesn’t feel too soft or floppy. It also feels like it unlocks its performance at a slower speed than on the Enforcer, which can feel like you need to hit a minimum speed to really get the full performance.
 
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contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#9
@ski diva That makes me feel better! I figured since the ski is less stiff and narrower than my current Auras, it'll make up for the couple inches in length difference. Also - I've demoed Black Pearls before and prefer metal. Would you say the stiffness is moreso than the BP but not so stiff as an Aura?

@marzNC Yes, I've done pretty extensive searches, but you're right, demoing is the way to go! Unfortunately, I wasn't able to and now since the 93s are on sale, I feel compelled to make a decision... the sales are getting to me
That is EXACTLY how I'd describe both the 88 and 93. I own the 88s, after moving from a Black Pearl 88. I've skied the SA 93s a few times, and felt they were more ski than I wanted to handle at 169 length, but too short at 161. I bought the SA 88s last February in a 165 and they are perfect. I have about 40 days on them in every condition imaginable, and I have yet to find a condition I don't care for them in. They have helped me gain a ton more confidence off-piste.

It honestly could come down to length for you, because I tend to think they are VERY similar. Since you are coming off of a wider ski anyway, the 93 won't feel so "wide" to you. In all honesty, you could throw a dart and be happy with either. Also, coming off of a Volkl, I think either one is going to feel much less stiff and demanding. I've also owned two pair of Volkl--Kenja and Secret, and both were really fun but they definitely demanded more of me at times than I wanted to give.
 

Belgiangirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#10
Hi there! I own a pair of Volkl Auras @163cm and demoed the Santa Ana 93 last winter in a 169cm. I'm 5'4 and about 125lbs, advanced skier.

I'd say the SA's are definitely less demanding and less stiff than the Auras, it's quite a different ride. They're a lot more playful and more maneuverable than the Auras. I like my Auras for nasty ungroomed conditions, from frozen chop to boilerplate. Also like them on a good groomer, but I think the Santa Ana would win in that category. They were a bit of a letdown in less than stellar ungroomed conditions to me, as they weren't as stable as I'd expected - but then again those Auras have set the bar really high. Skied them from 9 till 5 without noticeable fatigue, I had the option of trying the 161cm version but didn't feel like I wanted to downsize at any given moment.

One thing I remarked, but I seem to be the only one who encountered this, is that the SA93 felt a bit slow edge to edge. The pair I tried had standard marker squire demo bindings, so fairly sure that wasn't the problem. I can't recall where I read this, but somewhere on the interwebs I saw something about the SA88 being quicker edge to edge. As you've mentioned, it's only a 5mm difference between both models and I think the 165cm length in the SA88 would probably be a better fit than the 161cm of the SA93.
 
#11
@contesstant so happy to find someone who has skied both! Did you feel like you were sacrificing stability/float by going with the 88s instead of 93s? I'm venturing more into side country and like that you mention gaining confidence. 88s would be more maneuverable through trees and bumps, but I'm hoping I won't outgrow the 88s and need 93s

@Belgiangirl The Auras are definitely a favorite for me in unfavorable and variable snow conditions, but they definitely make you work! I also read somewhere that the edge to edge is better on the 88s - can't confirm but I read somewhere that the 88s are a bit stiffer than the 93s due to the wood core extending further into the tips. That could help with edge to edge!
 
#12
I'm sure a lot of this is personal preference and skill. I know @contesstant loves her 88s in almost anything. I am not too different in size than you and I used to have 88's as my one ski. I now have an 85 for hardpack conditions--I bought these in Sun Valley specifically for Sun Valley, where we like to go--and 98's for snow. I suspect you would want something wider than 88 for a snowy day in Tahoe. On your list of where you ski you have some of the snowiest places and then places like Lake Louise that really don't get that much snow. Maybe the solution is to have 88's as your daily driver and demo wider skis when you have a real dump.
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#13
@contesstant so happy to find someone who has skied both! Did you feel like you were sacrificing stability/float by going with the 88s instead of 93s? I'm venturing more into side country and like that you mention gaining confidence. 88s would be more maneuverable through trees and bumps, but I'm hoping I won't outgrow the 88s and need 93s

@Belgiangirl The Auras are definitely a favorite for me in unfavorable and variable snow conditions, but they definitely make you work! I also read somewhere that the edge to edge is better on the 88s - can't confirm but I read somewhere that the 88s are a bit stiffer than the 93s due to the wood core extending further into the tips. That could help with edge to edge!
So, no I don't feel like I'm sacrificing float and definitely not stability, but I have some 100 and 102 under foot skis for true deep powder days. Another big BIG caveat is I ski with a level 3 instructor (well, I'm married to him!) He skis 98% of the time on 88s. He freakin' rips everything on those skis. He'll drag out his 100s for deep days, but he still prefers his 88s. In fact, he's actually going to an 84 under foot for his most used ski this coming season. So, my opinions are swayed by not only him, but also the other instructors I ski with who ski 90% of the time on a ski in the mid-80s.

I skied the 88s in every condition imaginable last season. There are some great off-piste places I took them that previously I would get my ass handed to me. Not so on the 88s.

Buy the skis for the conditions you DO ski the most, not for the conditions you WISH you skied them most. When you say sidecountry, do you mean you are planning to do a lot of out of bounds type skiing? Or, into areas after big snows when the ropes drop? If so, then the 93s would make more sense I would say. Otherwise, honestly, pick what length you think suits you better. Or, buy the 88s and pick up a pair of 100-hundred-somethings for deeper powder days :ski:
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#18
I'll say! Congratulations!

(Seems like a lot of trouble to go through just to get free lessons, though :wink:)
LOL that's true!
We were just talking today that this will be our fourth ski season together! Holy cow!
 

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