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Skiing vs Snowboarding

For those of you heading up to the slopes for the first time, you may be trying to decide if you should try skiing vs snowboarding
first up. Or perhaps you're an accomplished skier and you've decided to give snowboarding a go.

In this article, we'll attempt to break down the differences between the two sports so that you can make an informed decision and also be aware of how fast you can realistically expect to progress with your current skiing skills.

Differences Between the Skiing vs Snowboarding

Skiing and snowboarding are alike in that they are both downhill and are both the source of countless hours of fun and exhilaration Some of the differences, however, that you'll find between them include:

  • Snowboard riders constantly have to sit or exert energy to remain on edge while they are stationary. Unlike skiing, you will not have poles to help you remain upright and standing when you are not moving.
  • Snowboarding is a lot easier on the knees compared to skiing. Knee injuries are not as common in snowboarding as they are in skiing. Snowboarding can, however, be a lot more brutal on your wrists so make sure you wear some wrist guards.
  • You'll start to develop a deep hatred for flats when you're starting out with the snowboard. Again, you won't have your ski poles to bail you out.
  • You will, however, begin to fall in love with deeper and softer snow. Snowboards work nicely in powder and crud while skis are better in bumps and ice.
  • Getting up after a fall on a snowboard is a skill in itself but once mastered should prove to be easier and faster than having to put your stuff together again after falling on skis.

The Adrenaline Factor

If you're just looking for speed, more speed and nothing but speed, you may be surprised to know that given a skier and boarder of equal
ability, skiing beats snowboarding virtually each time in terms of velocity.

Since this isn't a science website, we can't get into the physics involved which explain why skiing has an edge. Suffice to say that if you were to compare speed records for both skiers and boarders, the skiers will always be faster.

Skiing has also exploded onto the park scene with skiers having the ability to bigger and faster than any snowboarder. In the 2005 super pipe Winter X Games, Simon Dumont, a skier, went 22 feet out of the pipe while Shawn White, a snowboarder, only achieved 16 feet. (Thanks to Nathan Mattar for pointing this out).

From Skiing to Snowboarding

So you've been skiing for several years and you've decided that it's time for a change. Around the resorts you see people having the time of their lives on snowboards and your friends certainly think you should give it a go.

So, should you? Is it hard? Will all those years of skiing make it easier to learn? The answer is probably yes, to a certain extent. Apart from being familiar with the mountain resort environment and being comfortable with descending fast, as a skier you would also be familiar with the concepts of edging and carving.

As with other beginners, you'd be best served with investing in some lessons or at least doing some reading to get an idea of the basic maneuvers involved with snowboarding. Expect to end up with a sore backside and/or a mouth full of snow during the initial stages.

Many skiers do, in fact, report to have progressed much further in their first few days of snowboarding than they did with skiing within a similar time frame back in their early days. This, of course, varies between individuals with some claiming that there is absolutely no difference in the amount of time it takes to become proficient in one or the other.

You can, therefore, expect to reach the intermediate stage without too many hassles. Beyond that, however, you'll have to put in the miles just as you do, or have done, with skiing. Don't expect to be carving up those double black diamond runs like a pro in just a few days.

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