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Setup recommendations


Certified Ski Diva
I am relatively new to backcountry skiing and have been using Nordica Sanata Ana 105 165cm with shift bindings. I am 5’4”, 135ibs. I ski in Colorado.
Looking for something narrower- i mostly do side country, low angle meadows and hut trips.
My resort ski is nordica santa ana 93 161cm and that’s the ski i am in love with.

I generally don’t like light skis so looking for something with dump feel and good in crud/crust etc.

I was thinking Nordica Sanata ana unlimited 93 (not sure which size to get 158 or 165cm?) or kastle tx93 162cm.

any other suggestions?

Demo backcountry skis are 175/day here so demoing multiple skis is not an option.
Also should i stick with shifts binding or change to tech bindings? Is there a significant difference?

Thank you!


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Are you looking to cut weight compared to the SA104? The Santa Anas (especially the era where it came in a 161) are pretty burly - in the 1800-1850g range. The 104 Free weighs in at 1760. There's a lot of options between those and the SA Unlimited 93 (1300-1350 in those sizes) and tx93 (1215).

Crud performance & weight tend to go hand-in-hand, but there are a few materials that tend to punch above or below their weight class in stability. Titanal really helps create a smooth ride even in small quantities (lightest options tend to weigh 1600-1650g). Carbon tends to struggle with suspension, especially when used heavily in really light touring skis. But heavier skis with carbon laminates (like the Line Pandora) or skis with just fiberglass (like the Volkl Blazes) can weigh around ~1450g and offer a middle-of-the-road option.

As for bindings, some people notice a difference. Others don't notice at all. For most, there's less surface area between boot and binding and you feel a bit more vibrations in chundery conditions and a bit less power transfer. But there's also a spectrum here where there's ultralight tech bindings, then some that have DIN certifications and elasticity in the heel that are better, then "mullet" bindings with tech toes and an inbound-y clamp style heel piece that'll be a slight step down in ride compared to the Shift.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
From purely personal experience I can say that I wish I went with a full pin binding from the jump. Nothing against my shifts, but for my ski style, which is not “chargey” I don’t notice a performance difference between the shift bindings and pin bindings once I got on them and I prefer the transition with the pin bindings. I do believe the shift bindings keep improving though! Mine are 4+ years old and a little finicky to get into in walk mode. Sounds like you won’t use at all on hard, resort conditions so don’t fear the pin (edit: my pin bindings do have some elasticity in the heel and din cert)! I didn’t believe my boot guy when he said I might come to enjoy the up more than the down and start optimizing for that experience, but it turns out he was right :smile: If I did more night uphill on resorts, I’d still stick to the shifts bc sometimes you end up riding down in very unfriendly surface conditions on the east coast and I would want the extra cushion.

Good luck in the ski search!


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
If you love your resort skis stick to it. If you mostly ski resort hybrid bindings may be best. Agree with @Verve tech bindings have been getting better. Last year I was able to demo skis that had tech bindings. I like G3 ion 10 & I tried kingpin 10. They are the only 2 models that have DINs that go low enough for me. Toe pieces of kingpin froze which has me worried. G3 ion 10 has improved the toe pieces (the spring used to last only 1 season).


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
It really depends on exactly what you are planning on doing.

I have both kinds of setup, and use both regularly for different things.

My "heavy" setup is 2014 Blizzard BPs (88) with shift bindings, upgraded about 2 years ago from frame bindings. I use these in Scotland, where a day out often involves multiple short skins rather than one big long one, and where the rapid freeze-thaw cycles we get means that conditions are usually firm with re-frozen windblown crud on the surface. I don't spend much time on pistes, but when I do, these are also my piste skis, and I use them for lift-accessed off-piste too.

My "light" setup is Elan Ripstick W 88 Tours with ATK Raider bindings. These are new, and I've only used them a couple of times. Technology seems to have improved since my last light setup! The Ripstick Tours are significantly lighter than the standard Ripsticks, but don't feel massively different to ski. I bought the freeride inserts for the bindings (these come as standard with "Freeraider" bindings, but you can fit them as an added extra to Raiders). These increase the contact area for your boot and make them really smooth to ski compared to other pin bindings I've used. They are supposed to be pretty good for safety too, but I haven't come out of them yet, so I can't comment first hand. I use these when I'm anticipating a long skin (more than 2 hours) or when I'm touring more than 2 days in a row. This is generally on a vacation in a location with nicer underfoot conditions than we regularly see locally, but they've behaved pretty well for me in Scottish crud too.

I love and regularly use both setups, but they are good for different things.


Certified Ski Diva
Thank you everyone! I just saw that next years Santa Anas will again have 161cm size so i think i am just gonna get another ones with shift bindings as i really love both my 93 and 104 Santa anas and i dont have a problem skinning up with Santa Ana Free 104s. i tried a few times in a past but could not like lighter skis, so this is probably the safest choice.

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