It’s the age-old debate that has split families and friendship groups for years. Skiing vs snowboarding?
Since snowboarding began (commercially around 1965 but snowboarding styles have been around since 1929!) there’s been a divide between skiiers and snowboarders with snowboarding often seen as “the cool” option. Before people go on a snow holiday, they often ask which sport they should take up. Really, there is no set answer and they each have their own benefits, it’s just personal choice.
In our team we’re split 50/50 with Andy and Annaliese being skiiers and Dan and Sarah being snowboarders. We talk through some of the differences between the two. This conversation did spark a heated discussion within the team!
In general, we’d probably say that skiing is easier to learn but harder to “perfect” and snowboarding harder to learn but easier to “perfect”, but of course everyone is different!
Skiing is often a more natural position for people. Facing forwards so you can fully see where you’re going, and effectively you just have two really big wooden feet, which are separate. This often starts off feeling more comfortable as if you do feel like you’re falling or unbalanced it’s more natural to just move your feet to balance yourself again. Although the idea that your two feet can go opposite directions often worries people.
On the flip side, with snowboarding your facing the side but looking forwards down the mountain. Your feet are strapped down which often feels quite awkward to start with. If you’re going to fall, you’re going to fall so be prepared to have a VERY sore bum and knees! Snowboarding also gets quite technical straight away. It revolves around using your edges from the start, which isn’t introduced into skiing until later on.
When it comes to snowboarding once you’ve got your edging and the basic ideology down, it’s pretty easy just to build on that and get better/faster, especially if you’re brave! Eventually having your feet strapped in becomes useful (we’ve seen endless beginner skiiers running down a piste after their skis…) whereas with skiing, crossing your skis might become an issue and learning to use both your legs symmetrically is a skill which might take a while to get right.
“For me, I was more used to being on one object. I had longboarded as a teenager and was into wakeboarding and windsurfing, so for me the natural progression was to stick with the board theme and facing the side. I hadn’t been on a snow holiday growing up and my first time on the mountain was actually on my first ski season when the snow was so poor I was thrown into the deep end on a red run (which I think was actually a massive blessing in disguise). I was so infuriated by the fact my skiing mates were shooting off and I was still falling over every 5m. After a week or so, I got myself a lesson and then it just clicked!” – Sarah
“We went to Chill Factore when it opened for something to do one day and then we ended up going to the freestyle night every week. I’m not 100% sure why we chose snowboarding but I think it had something to do with the amount on Tony Hawk we played when we were younger and it’s kind of similar…” – Dan
“I snowboarded for 10 years before I swapped to skiing. I would like to say the swap because snowboarding used to be cool and now it’s just for people that think they’re cool, but in reality, I’ve got older and I can’t be bothered with doing the bindings up and drag lifts…” - Andy
Overall, it’s important to just go with what feels right for you. If you’re use to waterskiing, the natural progression would be skiing or if you’re used to skateboarding etc, it may be more natural to go for snowboarding. Remember to not give up! Both sports are hard and you will fall over (if you aren’t falling over, you’re not trying hard enough) but at some point it will click and then it will feel amazing when you’re zooming around the pistes!
When it comes to on-the-mountain action there are a lot of stereotypes between skiiers and snowboarders. Some common issues are “snowboarders just zoom past you in a straight line with no warning” or “skiiers zigzagging across the whole piste makes it hard to go around then, and they cut up the snow!”. These rivalries are probably never going to stop (we all just like to moan too much) but it’s important to remember to have good etiquette when on the mountain. We look some ways to stay polite on the mountain here.
What do you think, skiing vs snowboarding?