You or someone you know has almost certainly heard the old classic that skiing is easier to learn, but harder to get really good at, while snowboarding is the other way around. In the most basic, stripped back terms, this is true, but it’s not always the case for everyone, simply because we’re not all robots, so people learn in different ways.
With this in mind, you can check out a few of the most-asked questions when it comes to the ol’ ski and board learning FAQs here…
Skiing came way before the relatively new sport of snowboarding. This is why the places you head to are called ski resorts, people naturally say ‘ski lessons’, and you jump on ‘ski lifts’. So, for the boarders among you, there are always a few factors to overcome that skiers don’t as the infrastructure was designed and built specifically for them.
One of the prime examples snowboarders will all relate to it getting on drag and chair lifts. You’ll need to unstrap your back foot, which then has to be clipped back in again at the top of every run… and then there are the not so smooth dismounts you’ll become accustomed to.
Another example is the regular flatter areas that knit a lot of the pistes together – this is a time when you could well find yourself walking as the skiers casually cruise by, still clipped in. If you're lucky, you might just get a tow from a helpful skier!
Snowboarders definitely have the upper hand when it comes to getting around off the mountain. Ski boots are clunky and awkward to walk about in, and they’re nowhere near as comfy to wear as snowboard boots. Also, carrying just a snowboard has its appeals when you see skiers walking like robots while holding on to skis and poles!
If you do, or you have been surfing or skateboarding, then you might find the fundamentals a little easier to grasp - but not necessarily, so don’t think you’ll be shredding the snow because you can own your local break! Chances are though, if you’re comfortable with either of those sports, you will find snowboarding slightly easier to get into than a complete beginner to board sports.
What we just mentioned applies to skiing too, as a lot of people find the setup of skiing more natural; facing forwards and having feet separated. Skiing usually gives beginners a steep curve of progression as there’s less to contend with. Before you know it, the snowplough is out of the way, and you’ll be carving and linking turns, leaving the shouts of “pizza!” (the snowplough) behind you!
Essentially, what you want to remember is that even if you can tear up reds and blues, you still want to have lessons to hone your ski skills.
Skiing has many allures, and snowboarding has just as many too. If you decide snowboarding is the one for you then that’s cool, and likewise for skiing.
There are a few things you need to remember when it comes to snowboarding, and if you can cope with them then you’re fine;
There’s going to be A LOT of falling on ya' butt and hands because both feet are strapped to one board.
Learning to shift your weight to go from the novice zig-zags turns into the into flowing, linked turns is a significant step. This could take up an entire week’s worth of your budget snow holidays, but once you’ve got them down, there’s no looking back.
It’s worth remembering that on days when it’s a bit icy on the mountain, skiing will always dominate snowboarding. Having two edges to work with will always be better than the one. Snowboards have a wider surface area, so when you get to the stage where you can do some off-piste, you’ll be gliding over the pow compared to skiers who have to work much harder in the fluffy stuff!
At the end of the day, it’s a case of choosing which one suits you most of all. Give both a fair crack at the whip if you want to really aren’t sure which to go for, but normally people have an idea in their heads of whether skiing or snowboarding is the sport for them.