Dobermann Spitfire 72 RB FDT

Nordica ‘s Enforcer and Enforcer Free series – now spanning six models – have garnered so much attention that hardly anyone in America even knows the Dobermann Spitfire 72 RB FDT exists. Combining a slalom-shaped shovel with a GS chassis, the Spitfire 72 knows how to attack the fall-line. Note the 20mm drop in tip-to-tail taper, indicating a ski that treats turns like protected trout: catch and release.

The Spitfire 72 isn’t meant as a learn-to-carve crutch; it demands a pilot unafraid to rail it on a high edge. The alphabet soup at the end of its name refers to the plate that’s integrated into this ski/binding system, another clear signal that posers need not apply. If you like a power-mad carver that hums at high speed, the Dobermann Spitfire RB FDT belongs in your locker.

Nordica 2022 Boot Brand Profile

2022 Nordica Boot Brand Profile         No other leather boot maker profited more from the transition to injected plastic shells than Nordica. During most of the 1970’s and 80’s, Nordica’s unit share of the world market was so dominant the only...

Wild Belle DC 84

When ski makers start from scratch to make a women’s ski, the usual target isn’t the most talented lass, but those less likely to succeed without a little help. All the features that make the Wild Belle DC 84 adapted for women are attuned in particular to ladies who are still ascending the learning curve. It’s cushioned Double Core, two-tiered binding platform and soft, round flex all work to promote better balance and reduced effort on the part of someone still learning the ropes.

The “DC” in the Wild Belle DC 84 stands for Double Core, its tip-to-tail damping technology that inserts a rubber mat between the upper and lower poplar and beech cores. The core makes a ski that’s supple and damp, with a sidecut that promotes early turn entry and a gentle release.  Its whole shtick is making a smooth, carved turn on groomed slopes while the pilot operates from a comfortable stance.

Santa Ana 98

It’s not entirely coincidental that the Santa Ana 98 debuted last season along with Terrain Specific Metal, Nordica’s way of doling out just the right amount of metal for each of its five Santa Ana models. The Santa Ana 98 was needed because its predecessor, the Santa Ana 100, used wall-to-wall, end-to-end sheets of Titanal, so they skied like supercharged rockets. Skiers who just wanted a ski to make powder easier were over-served.

So, unlike its sister Santa Anas, the 98 was born on a Ti diet, but just because the Santa Ana 98 doesn’t ski like an Enforcer 100, don’t think for a second that it’s been gutted.  Within the Santa Ana clan, the 98 falls on the side of the threesome that are intended to live at least part of their lives on hard snow. It wasn’t created to ski powder at the expense of competence when carving up groomers; it’s meant to live comfortably on the border of both worlds.

Every ski in this genre alleges that it’s like the mythical Super Mom who can manage the boardroom, the boudoir and the household books while learning Mandarin. They can do it all and never break a sweat. But Women’s All-Mountain West skis almost never live right on the 50/50, hard snow/soft snow border.

Santa Ana 93

Last season, Nordica’s 5-model Santa Ana collection was finally unified under a single design concept, Terrain Specific Metal, that closes the gap between the top edge and a single, sculpted, Titanal topsheet as the waist width shrinks. On the Santa Ana 93, TSM moves the metal fairly close to the edge, to improve edging power on the groomed conditions it’s fated to experience.

“Being light and fairly flexible makes them fun all around,” notes Stacy Kellner from Squaw Valley Ski School, who felt the Santa Ana 93 handled better on-trail. “They’re a bit beefier ski that carves great and is easy to get on edge.  Groomers were lots of fun,” she notes.  Becca Pierce from Bobo’s encountered the Santa Ana 93 on a spring day when the snow evolved into porridge off-trail.  “A great ski for these sloppy, slushy, sticky conditions,” she says, evidence that it’s meant for more than mere groomers.  Jolee from Footloose agrees with Becca, citing the Santa Ana 93 as “Great for a one ski quiver. It can charge on hard pack and off-piste. Doesn’t have a speed limit,” she adds admiringly.