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Skiing vs snowboarding is potentially the biggest question to ask in the ski world and one that causes much debate. The truth of it is, they’re both awesome.
You’re sure to have the best time, whether it be skiing or snowboarding. You’ll have the most fun snowboarding if you’re looking for a comfortable kit and a surf-like feeling. But if you’re into higher speeds and familiar with forward-facing sports like cycling or ice skating, skiing is the one for you!
This article will give you an idea of what might suit you best and by the end of it, you should have an idea of which you’ll prefer.
Should I Ski or Snowboard?
If you’re new to skiing, you might find yourself pondering whether to try skiing or snowboarding. When I began skiing, I was the same. Unfortunately, with skiers telling me to ski and snowboarders telling me that snowboarding is the best, it was difficult to find an unbiased viewpoint.
That being said, there are a few ways to figure out which is for you. First, look at your sporting experience. If you’ve found a liking for skateboarding or surfing, you may find snowboarding suits you best. With a similar body position and body feel, board sports go hand in hand.
If you’re a cyclist or have ever given rollerblading a go, the forward-facing position may feel familiar in skiing. Additionally, the side-to-side, dynamic motion used in field and racket sports is transitional to the ski technique.
Take a look at both skiing and snowboarding videos and see what you prefer. When watching the Olympics or YouTube videos, which discipline are you drawn to? Whether you realize it or not, you will most likely prefer the look of either skiing or snowboarding. Having this underlying interest will increase your desire and willingness to learn. Go with your gut!
One more thing you may want to consider when picking up skiing or snowboarding is what discipline others you’re riding with are doing. It may not be beneficial for you to be the only skier in a group of snowboarders and vice versa.
Having a reference point for your technique to look at is always helpful, and the general pace can differ between skiing and snowboarding.
Beginner Tips Skiing
Commonly, skiing is seen as the ‘easier’ of the two in the beginner stages. This isn’t necessarily true, as mentioned before; depending on your experience and preference, this will differ from one person to the other. Listed below are a few things to keep in mind when starting out skiing, but it always comes recommended to get a skiing beginner lesson as well.
Keeping your body relaxed will always make for better skiing. It’s a scary thought to put two planks on your feet on a slippery mountain for the first time, but try not to let any anxiousness stiffen you up. Remaining relaxed will make for more control over your body and the movement of the skis.
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Focus on your stance; your ankles and knees should be gently flexed. Don’t try to stand up straight; go with the flex of your ski boots, and you’ll find the movement much more comfortable.
Try and lean forward, only enough so that you’re gently leaning into the cuffs of your boots. This will help put pressure onto the front of your skis which will help with turning and give you a feeling of support.
Beginner Tips Snowboarding
While skiing is done in a straightforward stance, note that snowboarding is side-on. This decreases the peripheral field and can be off-putting for some, but with time will start to feel natural.
Snowboarding is all about keeping your body stacked and finding that sweet spot. It may take some time to find your balance point, but once it’s in your muscle memory, it’s difficult to lose. The aim when stacking your body is to avoid going into a squatted position with your bum sticking out and to keep your shoulders on top of the board.
Learning how to get up is super important in snowboarding; it will often involve minor falls but will save you lots of energy when perfected.
There are a few fundamental skills when learning to snowboard, heelside, and toeside slides that involve finding the balance point on each edge and moving down the mountain. Falling leaf incorporates these slides and has you moving down the mountain while sliding from left to right before introducing turns.
Taking the time to perfect these small skills on both sides of the board and not rushing them will build up your confidence on the mountain.
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Much the same as skiing, snowboarding requires patience. When linking your first turns, don’t try to rush your edge transfer. Keep relaxed and let the turn happen naturally.
Tips for Both
Don’t be tempted to try more advanced terrain too fast; develop your skills as much as possible first, and when they are mastered, you can progress.
Kit and Comfort
Snowboarding is famously seen as the more comfortable sport in terms of kit. The softer, sneaker-like boots as opposed to hard plastic ski boots have caused many to switch disciplines.
Yes, if you’re taking out rental boots for the day, snowboard boots will probably triumph in comfort over ski boots. However, if you’ve got your own kit, you’ll probably have a pair of custom-fit ski boots which should feel just as good as snowboard boots. With many new ski boots including a walk-mode, getting around town doesn’t have to be as stiff and uncomfortable as you might think.
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Whilst snowboarding kit tends to take the lead in terms of comfort, on the mountain this could be a different story. Having to shuffle yourself along on the flats and unclipping/clipping back into your bindings before getting on the chairlift can be tiring as a snowboarder.
It’s important to take into account any ailments when choosing between skiing and snowboarding. If you’ve got tight hips or a history of hip problems then skiing may not be for you. This is due to the rotation movement of the femur when skiing. Best to consult your doctor if you’ve any concerns about past injuries.
Best Conditions for Skiing vs Snowboarding
There are certain types of snow and certain situations that will be more fun to ski or snowboard in. Slushy snow is known for being more fun on a snowboard, with a surf-like feel to riding on this type of snow.
Whereas when it comes to moguls, well, there’s a reason why mogul snowboarding isn’t featured in the Olympics where mogul skiing is. Unless you’re an advanced snowboarder, moguls will prove very demanding.
Traversing across a mountain is not easy on a snowboard as opposed to skiing, and any inconsistent snow will also make snowboarding a challenge. Powder skiing, however, is a great reason to love snowboarding.
Many people find powder much easier on a board than on skis; perhaps due to no threat of your legs splitting, it seems that snowboarders tend to progress to powder runs sooner.
Art, Skiing vs Snowboarding
If you’re a creative type, there are many reasons to be drawn to snowboarding. There’s a richer history of snowboard art, much like in skateboard culture. You’ll find bright, wacky patterns across snowboard brands such as Burton and Bataleon. Whereas skiing has taken some time to catch up on this.
Ski graphics used to be fairly dull compared to their snowboard counterparts, but this is starting to change. Where freestyle skiing is increasing in popularity, there seems to be a correlation with a more experimental art and design culture in ski design. Brands such as Line and J skis are bringing artists in to help bring this creative flair to ski design.
Key Takeaway: The creative, expressionist nature of freestyle sport is kin to art.
Snowboarding vs Skiing Park
Freestyle skiing used to be dominated by snowboarders, but setting foot in a snow park nowadays, you’ll see many more skiers. Each discipline will bring a different park experience, but both guarantee an amazing one.
Certain snowboard tricks like Ollie’s, manuals, and presses tend to be easier for boarders. So, if you want to impress in the park and progress quickly as a snowboarder, give them a go.
Snowboarding is commonly viewed as easier when starting out in the park, possibly due to its connection to skateboarding. Having skateboarding experience could lend itself to less fear and more soft skills to use in the snow park. In addition, many express comforts in having both feet strapped to the board rather than on skis where knee twisting and leg splitting seem to be frequent fears.
It’s up to you! As for whether you’ll prefer skiing or snowboarding, or which one is more fun, there’s no right or wrong answer. Certain conditions may suit one discipline more than the other, but it’s not to say that you won’t have an awesome time whichever you go for.
One plank or two planks they’re both creative, fun sports that will allow you to slide down a mountain and get a rush like no other while doing so!
Key Takeaway: Snowboarding and Skiing are not mutually exclusive, while most people stick to one or the other – you can try both sports to see which one suits you best.