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.