The Nordica Astral 88 and Santa Ana 93 both belong in the All-Mountain East genre by dint of their waist width, but they do not spring from the same soil. The Santa Ana is the slenderest of a family of off-trail skis; the Astral 88 is the fattest member of a clan of what you might call on-trail skis with off-trail benefits. The Astral 88 purloined its snub-nosed shape from the Santa Ana series, giving the Astral 88 off-trail adaptability without disconnecting the shovel from the rest of the ski. The squared-off tail traces back to the on-piste Sentra series, with a focus on sustained edge grip. The same Titanium Hex Bridge that makes the men’s Navigator series one of the best values in skiing powers the Astral 88’s crisp, accurate turns.
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