Snowboarding or Skiing?

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So you’ve decided to take the plunge and head to the slopes for the first time. Then you must be thinking if you should try your hands on skiing or snowboarding first up, right? Or maybe you’re an accomplished skier and you want to give snowboarding a try. Most winter sports enthusiasts will probably say that skiing is the easier of the two but snowboarding is FUN once you know how to grip in. Like they say, the art of skiing is quite simple to follow in the beginning but mastering it can get a whole lot tougher, however, snowboarding takes a little getting used to at the beginning to master the art. This is a popular claim you’d hear a lot in the world of winter sports and while different people can take to different sports, it’s probably true.

Whatever may be the case, whether you like skiing or snowboarding mostly comes down to personal preference. With skiing, each foot gets its own personal ski and you normally face downward in the direction you’re heading and you also have the assistance of two ski poles to maneuver you around the slopes. With snowboarding, on the other hand, your feet get strapped to one wider snowboard with your face facing sideways to the slope you’re heading downwards. Assuming you’re not attached to either sport as being better than the other and having taught both, the best factor is your fitness.

Which is faster to learn?

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Well, it depends on how you look at it. Let’s get the facts first. It would suffice to say it can be easier to get reasonably proficient in snowboarding in a few days. You can have unlimited fun, cruising blues, and looking decent on a board after a week or two for sure. The first few days can be very painful and you might experience some crazy falls but that’ that. Skiing, on the other hand, takes a little longer to master but you can have good fun on your very first day out on the slopes. Skiing doesn’t involve that much painful break-in process that snowboarding does.

Statistically speaking, snowboarding involves more frequent and more severe injuries, especially the beginners, who tend to fall a lot during the learning process. A snowboarder has to be prepared both physically and mentally to take on more crashing and falls. It also requires greater overall fitness and if you’re significantly overweight or have difficulty getting up, you can say goodbye to snowboarding. With skiing, you first start by doing the ‘snow plow’ to maneuver your turning and stopping, and once you master the skills of turning and stopping, skiing becomes fairly easy.

What are the differences between snowboarding and skiing?

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Snowboarding and skiing share a lot of resemblance in many ways like they both involve sliding-down snow-capped hills and both are great stress relievers and fun sports. However, there are some differences between the two which might affect your opinion to choose one way or the other.

  • Having both your feet gripped to a single board can be unsettling for the first few days and might take some time getting used to, especially when you factor in the fact that you’re traveling at 90 degrees to the slopes your feet point. Whereas, skiing is much easier to get accustomed to as both your legs move independently and you travel with your body facing the same way as your feet.
  • Your legs remain separated when it comes to skiing, so you can always throw one leg out to help rebalance if your start to fall at low speeds. Snowboarding, on the other hand, restricts your feet movements as they are attached to the board, so the chances of falling are considerably higher.
  • Like most sports, you’re prone to injuries when snowboarding or skiing, especially if you’re a beginner. Skiing tends to be harder on your knees as your feet are moving independently to coordinate with each other which makes them more vulnerable to twisting motions. The risk of shoulder, ankle and wrist injuries are quite common in snowboarding.
  • Most people find it easier to master the basic movements and controls of skiing – stopping, turning and using lifts. Snowboarding, on the other hand, is less intuitive but gets easier in powder snow.
  • Mastering skills require a lot of practice to keep your knees together and doing everything at greater speeds. Learning to snowboard, however, requires advanced riding techniques such as park and powder, which eventually takes a lot of trial-and-error.
  • That being said, skiing allows riders to attain higher speeds, but snowboarding offers a sense of freedom as everything is based on switching your weight at the right time.

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  • At the intermediate level, a snowboarder can get away easily with limited skills, but a skier has to continue to master new skills to make his/her way down increasingly tougher runs.
  • A skier has more milestones to hit which means more opportunity as you learn your way forward. Once you get used to the slopes, you’ll go faster, maneuvering your way through trees and other obstacles much faster than a snowboarder.
  • On skis, people often get comfortable with hitting some blues on their very first day. They can maneuver their control, and most importantly, can control their movements, speed, and direction.
  • People don’t often feel as comfortable the first few days as with skiing. They often find it difficult to balance and find a perfect stance, eventually slowing themselves down. However, once you get over the initial process and find your balance, snowboarding gets easy on you.
  • When it comes to comfort, you’d most likely be sitting on snow for quite some time, which usually doesn’t happen on skis. Also, while doing various ski lifts, it requires you to detach your board, which mostly skiers don’t have to do.
  • When you take a fall or if you’re stuck on a flat surface, you don’t have your sticks to move around or forward, in case of snowboarding. So good luck with your snowboard. Skiers, however, have poles to help them keep their balance up on the slopes.
  • As a skier, poles are not only useful to keep you upright but they also help you navigate flat terrains much easier than if you’re on a snowboard.
  • Coming to body position, skiing is done with a straight-on stance where the skier has a total peripheral vision, allowing him/her to see exactly where he/she is heading, and everything that’s in front of them including people and objects. Snowboarding stance, however, is side-on which allows the boarder to have less peripheral vision, so less visibility.

That being said, both sports are great and fun, but skiing requires less core strength and flexibility, and the falls are less severe. Besides that, the physical challenges of both sports are not so different after all. The real challenge is that snowboarding has a bit more to overcome as compared to skiing.

Skiers vs. snowboarders: the competition

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The rivalry between skiers and snowboarders has been in the air for some time and you don’t need to be an expert to know that this fierce competition between the two has been around for almost five millennia. Just Google “skiing vs. snowboarding” and you’d come across millions of pages spanning articles and forums comparing the two sports, analyzing the conflict between the two. So is it all fun or the rivalry runs deeper?

Skiing

To better understand the difference between the two, you must first look at the roots of each sport. Skiing was believed to be invented by the prehistoric people (mainly Nordic) for hunting or transportation purposes. Downhill skiing surfaced after 1850 and then took off in Austria where it was believed to be actually developed. In 1921, the first Alpine Ski Challenge was held, and in 1936 Alpine Skiing was introduced to the third Winter Olympics Games. Skiing picked up the pace and popularity since then.

Snowboarding is believed to be a recent sport, and its origins traced back to surfing, skateboarding, and skiing. It was initiated around the 1950s where it was considered as a novelty sport back then. The first real snowboard was believed to be made in the 1960s, after which it started appealing to a niche market. Snowboarding evolved into a fun recreational sport between the 70’s and 80’s. Snowboarding is a now a popular recreational sport that’s been widely recognized as a fun snow sport.

So now we know that the history of the skiing runs deeper than that of snowboarding, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a better sport. Skiing definitely requires more expertise and provides more freedom. A snowboarder probably is a no-brainer but snowboarding is definitely cooler and easier to progress at. And skiers don’t understand the art of snowboarding – it’s not just the sport, it’s the whole experience that matters. Plus, skiers have to carry a lot – two skis, two poles, and a helmet, plus the heavy boots. On the contrary, a snowboarder only has soft snow boots and a fancy board to contend with.

The adrenaline factor

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Skiing, to some, seems like the better alternative for a beginner, but most of you would probably go with snowboarding especially if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t care much about comfort when comparing the sheer amount of freedom riding a board gives you over skiing.

Alternatively, if you’re a speed enthusiast who’s looking for some breathtaking fun, you’ll be a little surprised to know skiing beats snowboarding virtually every time in terms of velocity. Let’s not get to the science lesson. Suffice to say, if you were to take speed into consideration for both skiers and snowboarders, the skiers will excel snowboarders.

Fitness

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You need to be physically and mentally fit to be a good skier or snowboarder. But to begin with, skiing demands more pressure and exertion on your legs and thighs, whereas snowboarding requires more core strength, as the upper body is more involved with turning and balance.

Both the sports call for the same level of skills and techniques to master the art but skiing has a little edge over the later when it comes to speed and velocity, which relatively puts a great deal of stress on the knees. Snowboarding, on the other hand, targets your wrists and ankles.

The art

There’s no denying the artistic side of snowboarding, which with its more creative and underground roots, attracts fantastic artist from around the world. Most of you will see a snowboard as an oddly shaped board – but this fantastic piece of canvas is truly a work of art. You cannot say the same about the skis…can you?

Gear

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Ski gear is quite a show for sure and they are way better than snowboarding gear. There’s so much tech around skis – there’s ski poles, boots, bindings, ski jackets, head gear, ski gloves and mittens, and what not! Ski gear is going high-tech every season and it’s fun rounding up some of the more innovative ski gear for every season. Skiing gets all geeky when it comes to equipment but snowboarders definitely get the better end of the deal, plus it’s substantially cheaper.

It seems the rivalry isn’t going away anytime soon, but maybe this is for the best. For the most part, it’s in good nature and regardless of what you chooses, if you get past the initial level and get really into the sport, it’s quite likely that the sport will become a significant part of your life. After all, winter sports are just a great way to bring people together. And would they all be the same without this sense of rivalry? It’s not worth getting exhausted over the issue after all. Snowsport is like addiction, but unlike other addictions, this one’s not so bad. Skiing and snowboarding both have the fun factor – exercising in the mountains, in the fresh air and having a total blast is more than a lifetime experience.

And the conclusion is…

If you’re still not sure which one’s better than the other, there’s nothing wrong in trying them both. After all, each sport helps you get better at the others. Snowboarding is fairly easy to grasp as the basics of stopping and traversing take less time to master. With skiing, once you get used to how to properly turn and stop, skiing gets easy on you as it involves doing everything at greater speeds. Other than the small differences, it’s mostly up to you. If you just want to have fun on the slopes for a day or two, try your hands on skiing. Rest is all about personal preference – just follow your heart.

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