Last Updated on 18 May 2023 by Rebecca
Hit the Slopes This Season for Some Skiing or Snowboarding
So you’ve decided to head to the mountains to try a winter sport. More specifically, you can’t decide whether you want to go skiing or snowboarding. Both sports are very similar and come with their benefits, but is skiing or snowboarding easier?
In this post, we’ll look at the pros and cons of the two sports, helping you to decide if skiing or snowboarding is the right choice for you.
Is Skiing or Snowboarding Easier?: Pros and Cons
Whether you’ve been on a winter’s snow sports holiday before or this is your first time considering skiing or snowboarding, both of these outdoor activities are fun and exciting to do. Which one you decide though will, ultimately, be up to you.
When learning to ski, it’s often easier to grasp as each component is broken down into segments, giving you more time to master each step.
Here are a few of the pros of learning skiing:
1. It’s Easier to Learn
With skiing, it’s easier to pick up in the beginning because your legs are separated by the two skis, giving you better control over adjusting your position to maintain your balance.
Facing forward is another benefit as you can see where you’re going without having to turn your head and body sideways as you would with snowboarding. By facing forward, your position is more natural, enabling you to master your snowplough down the mountain in a controlled way.
2. Cat Tracks Are Your Friend
If you’ve ever been skiing or snowboarding or seen people doing it, you may know that cat tracks (the flat runs) are a skier’s best friend. Unlike snowboarders, who have to use speed to clear cat tracks, skiers can use their poles or the motion of their body with their feet to ski them easily. You rarely see skiers struggling on cat tracks, unlike snowboarders…and I’ve certainly been there before!
3. Drag Lifts Are Easier to Get Off
Skiing has been around longer than snowboarding, so you’ll tend to see resorts favoured more toward skiers. This is true when it comes to some of the ski lifts available, such as the drag lifts or button lifts.
Some snowboarders avoid these lifts like the plague; however, with practice, you can master them. For skiers, it’s simply a case of sitting down on the bar and letting it lift you to the top of the mountain. Ski lifts are also favoured toward skiers as they simply have to sit down, whereas snowboarders need to unclip one foot from their board before sitting on the lift and then have to clip back in again when they get off.
4. Ski Poles Help You Turn
When you first learn to ski, you don’t use ski poles, but as you progress you may find them a useful addition. Whether it’s to go fast or slow, ski poles give you better control on the mountain and help turn you in the direction you want to go.
Now let’s look at a few of the cons to skiing:
1. You Won’t Progress As Quickly
After a few days of skiing, you may notice that your progress is a lot slower than that of a snowboarder. While there are exceptions, the saying “skiing is easier to learn but more challenging to master, and snowboarding is easy to master, but more difficult to learn” is certainly true.
2. Ski Boots Are Uncomfortable to Walk In
When you’re not attached to your skis and you’re walking around, you’ll notice that snowboarders have an easier time in their boots than you will with yours. Ski boots are a hard plastic that can only be worn for so long whereas snowboarding boots are more comfortable and can be worn for longer periods.
Unfortunately, if skiing is your chosen winter sport, this is something that you’ll have to get used to.
3. You Need to Control Your Skis
One thing you’ll need to master when skiing is making sure that your skis don’t cross over. This is a technical skill that you’ll progress to, and it’s one you’ll need to be comfortable doing if you want to get to where you want to go. While it’s hard on the knees, you have to control both legs, ensuring they don’t separate too much or get too close.
Unlike skiing, snowboarding involves having both feet attached to one board at all times. For some, this is the ideal sport as they have less to worry about when it comes to where their feet are going.
Let’s see a few of the pros of snowboarding:
1. You Progress Faster Snowboarding
When beginning to snowboard, you’ll spend a few days getting used to your edge control, either your toe or heel edge. This is when you apply pressure to either your heel or toe to help guide you down the mountain. Once you’ve nailed this component of snowboarding, you’ll be surprised how quickly you progress with it. It may take a few days of tumbling, but stick with it to advance.
2. Speed is Your Friend
Once you’ve mastered the basics of your edge control, you’ll soon be off those green runs exploring more of the mountain. With this, you’ll be picking up speed too, which is what you want on a snowboard. The faster you go, the easier it is to turn as there’s less contact between your board and the snow, creating less resistance.
Another area where speed is your friend is on cat tracks. Keep your speed up if you want to clear these and avoid having to take your board off and walk.
3. Your Boots Are Comfy
Unlike your skiing counterparts, snowboarding boots are much more comfortable to walk around in when you don’t have your board strapped on. With excellent support, snowboarding boots feel like you’re wearing a casual snow boot, perfect for an after-board drink when the mountain closes.
4. It’s Easier Riding Through Powder and Wet Snow
When it comes to skiing or snowboarding, boarders tend to enjoy riding through powder and wet, slushy snow compared to skiers. Snowboarding on powder gives you a better float because of the wider board surface and slush feels like riding through water when you turn in it, which feels great on a snowboard.
Now, let’s look at the cons of snowboarding:
1. Riding Sideways Isn’t Intuitive
When you’re snowboarding, your body is facing sideways as you point your board downhill. Because of this, it can feel less intuitive and make it harder to grasp when starting out. After a few days, you’ll get used to it, so if snowboarding is what you want to do, stick with it.
2. It’s Easier to Fall
Snowboarding downhill involves being on one edge, meaning it’s a lot easier to fall. Without relying on a separate leg to compensate for your fall – as you would with skiing – you’re likely to see a few tumbles as you get used to snowboarding during those initial days of learning. It can feel exhausting and like nothing is falling into place, but after a few days, you’ll see everything start to click.
3. There’s Less Control Over Ice
Unlike the favoured powder and wet, slushy conditions snowboarders like, ice is one area that isn’t. With only one edge to rely on, there is less control and a greater chance of losing traction and sliding out. This is compared to skiers who have two edges, providing greater security and control.
5 Tips for Skiing or Snowboarding
If you think you’ll enjoy trying a winter sport, why not consider skiing or snowboarding? That way you can answer the question: is skiing or snowboarding easier? Both are similar in that they involve snowy conditions and both are incredibly enjoyable sports to do. The only way you’ll see if either one is for you is to try them out.
Consider these 5 helpful tips to make your experience a good one.
- 1. Practice, practice, practice. The only way you’ll get better is by practising your new skills. When you’re not on the mountain skiing or snowboarding, check in with your local dry ski slope where you can continue mastering your skills. Remember, practice makes perfect!
- 2. Have fun. It’s not going to be easy taking up a new sport, but you’ve got to have fun doing it if you want to continue. You’re less likely to carry on if you’re not having fun.
- 3. Don’t worry about falling. Falling is part and parcel of skiing or snowboarding, so don’t worry when it happens. Think of it this way, if you’re not falling, you’re not trying hard enough.
- 4. Pick the right gear. Before hitting the slopes, make sure you’ve got the right kit. Before leaving the rental shop, check that your boots fit and ensure you have the right board or skis for your ability. Make sure you have enough layers on as it can get cold up the mountain.
- 5. Wear sunscreen. You’re up the mountain, there’s snow, and the sun is out. Make sure to wear a protective layer of sunscreen to stop you from burning. Even if the sun isn’t out, make sure you’re covered.
Is skiing or snowboarding easier? Now is a great time to find out. Don’t stress about deciding on which to pick. If you want, try both and that way you can see which is the best winter sport for you.
At the end of the day, both of these sports are designed to get us out and enjoying the fresh air. Whichever one you pick is going to get you whizzing down a mountain with the biggest smile on your face.