Every year millions of people hit the slopes worldwide. Beginners and experts flock to alpine wonderlands around the globe to partake in exhilarating winter sports.
The speed, the enjoyment of being in the great outdoors, the sense of unencumbered freedom, the acrobatics, and being one with nature all combine to make skiing and snowboarding popular winter sports. However, like any sport, skiing and snowboarding are more complex than they seem, and it is a good idea for beginners to familiarize themselves with the basics.
In this blog, we examine the differences between skiing and snowboarding and highlight the pros and cons of each so that readers may better decide which sport is for them.
Skiing is a popular outdoor recreational activity that uses two flat and long runners attached to shoes or boots. These runners, or skis, allow the wearer to skid through the snow.
While it’s mainly used for winter recreation and sport nowadays, it was used as a practical mode of transportation from its earliest inception thousands of years ago, up until the mid 19th century when the first skiing competitions were held in Norway. Today, there are various ways to enjoy the sport. Some of the most popular include downhill skiing and cross-country skiing.
If you’re looking to hit the slopes for the first time, here are some of the things you should know about the popular winter sport first:
1. Pros of Skiing
- Skiing is easier to learn for beginners. Skiing is often considered an excellent winter sport for beginners due to its low learning curve and ease of use. In addition, most ski resorts have dedicated beginner slopes that can help beginners learn to ski and build their confidence and skills.
- Skis are easy to control. Skis are easier to control and maneuver compared to snowboards. Unlike snowboarding, skiing lets you move your legs independently, and you can rely on your poles to balance. Skiing also requires a forward-facing stance that provides a better view of the slope ahead of you when going downhill.
- Skis are easier to use in ski lifts. Another advantage of skiing is that it is easier to get on and off lifts, and there’s no need to sit down when removing your skis.
- You can enjoy skiing on a variety of terrains. When discussing skiing vs snowboarding, skiing enthusiasts will often note its versatility and the fact that it can be enjoyed on a variety of different terrains.
2. Cons of Skiing
- Skiing takes more work to progress. It is easier to learn skiing, but it can take several years to master. Plus, it requires a certain amount of physical fitness and stamina.
- Skiing tends to be more expensive. Skiing is an expensive sport when factoring in the cost of equipment and clothing. In addition, you also have to pay for ski lift tickets and ski lessons.
- Ski boots are uncomfortable. Skiing, like most other sports, requires specialized equipment including ski boots. However, ski boots are known to be painful to wear for a long time for both beginners and experienced skiers. Getting used to walking in ski boots might take a while, and first-timers frequently trip and stumble when wearing them.
- Skiing makes you prone to knee, wrist, and leg injuries. Prolonged wear of boots and bindings can lead to “skier’s toe,” a type of bleeding caused by trauma to the toe tip. In some cases, skiing can also result in head injuries due to collisions.
Snowboarding first appeared on the winter sports scene in 1965. Snowboarding involves descending a snow-covered slope or a snowboard course with both feet strapped onto a single board.
Snowboarding requires good coordination and balance, but once you’ve mastered the basics, exploring the mountains or engaging in spectacular aerial acrobatics can be exhilarating. Here are some of the snowboarding pros:
1. Pros of Snowboarding
- Snowboarding equipment is more affordable and comfortable. For some people, affordability is one of the great reasons why snowboarding is better than skiing. Snowboarding equipment is more affordable than skiing equipment and generally more comfortable because it is composed of more flexible materials. You also do not have to carry lots of equipment; you’ll only need one board, boots, and bindings.
- Snowboarding is better for learning tricks and jumping. When discussing skiing vs snowboarding, snowboarding fans are quick to point out that snowboarding provides greater freedom of movement than skiing, which makes it easier to ride and turn. Greater control over your movement allows more room for creative and experimental stunts, jumps, and tricks.
2. Cons of Snowboarding
- Snowboarding has a more complex initial learning curve. The initial learning curve for snowboarding is steeper than skiing and requires a long process before you fully grasp controlling your board. However, once you have mastered the basics, your skill level progresses faster than skiing.
- Snowboarding can lead to upper-body injuries. Most snowboarders use their arms to break a fall, putting pressure on their wrists and shoulders. Tailbone injuries are also common for beginners who frequently fall on their backs.
- Snowboards are harder to get on and off ski lifts. Unfortunately, ski lifts can be challenging for snowboarding beginners because you must constantly strap in and out of your boots before getting on and off the lift.
Other Points To Consider
Aside from the skiing vs snowboarding pros and cons, there are also other factors to consider when choosing which winter sport is best for you.
1. Fitness Level
Skiing or snowboarding for beginners requires the use of your body strength. You must gauge and match your fitness level with the appropriate activity level.
For skiing, you need good leg strength, a strong core, and endurance for balance and stability. You would also need good upper body strength for balancing and turning. As for snowboarding, you must work on overall body control, balance, flexibility, and core strength.
It is easier to learn skiing or snowboarding if you play a similar sport. For example, if you skateboard or surf, you’ll find it more appealing and enjoyable since the basics are identical.
Both skiing and snowboarding are fun winter sports that offer a thrilling experience for people of all ages. But the question still remains: skiing vs snowboarding—which one would suit you best?
Choosing between skiing and snowboarding boils down to personal preference, skill level, and what experience you are looking for on the mountain. If you prefer to learn the basics quickly, skiing is your best choice. On the other hand, snowboarding might be a better fit if you want to practice extreme stunts and tricks.
Start exploring new adventures in the great outdoors at New Denver Lodge!
Step out of your comfort zone and explore new activities to take you on an adventure. Whether backcountry skiing in British Columbia or snowboarding on a mountain, you’ll have a blast exploring nature and all its wonders. Then at the end of the day, relax in a cozy room at New Denver Lodge surrounded by the spectacular untamed beauty of British Columbia.