Snowboarding vs Skiing: What You Need to Know
If you’re heading to the slopes for the first time, or first time in a few years, you might be wondering, “should I try snowboarding or skiing?” Maybe it’s just a day trip, or perhaps you’re looking to get right into a new winter sport. Either way, this information will help you to get the most fun out of your day, week, or winters to come!
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Learning / Starting Out
Snowboarding: Difficult to learn, easier to master. In your first day, or even week of learning to snowboard, you will fall. A lot. Snowboarding has an unnatural feel to it in the beginning. Your foot positioning, ankles, and legs are locked into place. Trying to balance will be a challenge, there’s certainly a feeling-out process. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll quickly improve. With everything locked into place, there’s a lot less room for error, and your movements are fairly basic. Turn your shoulders and your hips, legs, feet, and board will all follow along.
Skiing: As a beginner, skiing is easier to learn starting out. It’s simply more intuitive. The split skis allow for a more natural motion, with the ability to use each leg separately, as you do when you walk, run or ice skate. It’s that familiarity, combined with stability that comes from a split stance and ski poles, that makes beginners more comfortable on the hill as they start out.
If you’ve been invited out for a day trip to the hill and you’ll be renting equipment, skiing is likely your best bet to get the most out of your day.
Snowboarding: Once you’re comfortable on a board, it’s all about improving balance and speed. As you get better, you can start to cruise at a quicker pace, which actually makes turning (or carving) easier. Less of the board will be in contact with the snow, and you can carve into your turns using the edge of the board for more control. After that, it’s up to you, whether it’s joyriding epic hills, or freestyling jumps, grinds, rails, parks and more. You’ll be able to take on any challenge the mountain has to offer, and you’ll do it all in style.
Skiing: Once you’re past the introductory stage, it’s all about refining your technical skills. Skiing is about making incremental improvements along the way to become a more graceful, powerful, and precise skier. Getting better isn’t easy, but it’s noticeable when you do. Your runs become smoother and faster, your turns are tighter and quicker. It’s quite rewarding to put in the work and feel it in your performance. Once you’re ready, you’ll be taking on all-terrain, moguls, glades and speed runs.
If you’re looking to pick up a sport for the long run and you are willing to invest time into getting better, both snowboarding and skiing are great options, it just depends on your preference!
If you’re looking to buy your own equipment, there can be a significant price difference between the two sets of gear. Skiing equipment typically runs more expensive than snowboarding (especially at the higher end), but you can save some money by looking at ski and binding combos, usually available for beginner level ski gear.
Snowboarding: Board $300-$650, Boots $125-$350, Bindings $100-$300
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Skiing: Skis & Bindings $400-$1250, Ski Poles $25-$60, Boots $250-$650
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In the end, both skiing and snowboarding provide an incredible outdoor experience. They’ll both be challenging at first and rewarding in the end. Even if you’re only out for a one-day excursion, there’s no doubt you’ll catch the bug and want to get out again a week later. The best recommendation is probably to rent some gear, give it a try, and go from there. You’ll quickly get a feel for where your strengths lie, and which sport suits your style best.
Good luck out there, you’ll have a blast!
For expert advice on Ski, Snowboard, or everything Winter, come see us at your local Source for Sports winter sports store near you. We'll find the equipment that is right for your experience, level of skill, and budget. We Fit Your Game.
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