You’re living the dream. Flying down a beautiful snowy slope in the Alps, towards a tasty glass of glühwein, without a care in the world. You feel happy. You feel free. You feel invincible. (Until, of course, you get home and check your bank account. Ouch.)
While snowboarding and skiing are fun hobbies to have, they’re going to cost you. Unless, of course, you’ve grown up in a cute mountainside village with snowy peaks in your backyard, you’re using equipment that you’ve owned for years and ‘hitting the slopes’ is as common an activity as going to the supermarket.
But for the rest of us, going skiing or snowboarding for a holiday can get pretty expensive. The cost of rental equipment, insurance and day or weekly passes all adds up. So if you’re looking to get the thrill of the Great Outdoors for less, read on as we answer an important question: is snowboarding cheaper than skiing?
Costs of Skiing and Snowboarding
Before we get into which sport might save you more money, it’s handy to know what kind of costs you’ll be facing when you book your trip. That way, you’ll have no nasty surprises when you get there! You’ll need to pay for flights, accommodation, food and drinks as well as the following…
- The Gear: We’re not just talking about the boards or skis themselves. Nope, both snowboarding and skiing need essential outerwear, plus a few accessories. We’re talking boots, decent gloves, hats, goggles, and more. Aside from boots, these things are interchangeable, whether you’re skiing or snowboarding. But the amount of gear involved in one sport is a good bit cheaper. More on that soon.
- Lift tickets: You’ll need them for access to the slopes, unless you wanna trudge all the way up in your snow boots. Not recommended.
- Insurance: Most regular travel insurance policies won’t cover ‘extreme sports’ – which include snowboarding and skiing, unfortunately. So you might need to take out extra cover for this particular adventure.
- Lessons: If you’re new to either sport, taking a few lessons – whether it’s just at the beginning or throughout your trip – is highly recommended.
Now you know some of the costs involved, let’s see which sport manages to keep those costs to a minimum.
The Gear: Snowboarding vs Skiing
There’s a pretty big difference between the gear you’ll need for snowboarding and skiing. When snowboarding, for instance, you won’t be needing poles! Plus the boots are far more comfortable. So you’ll be doing less of a “walking on the moon” pace and more of your usual gait with a bit more cushioning. Yay!
The equipment you’ll be using for snowboarding is also cheaper on average. Beginner skiers can expect to spend at least $500–$600. For newbie snowboarders, it’s more like $300–$400. More money for those warming glasses of glühwein…
Lift Tickets: Is it the Same Price for Skier and Snowboarder?
These will cost you the same amount whether you’re skiing or snowboarding, so no difference there. But we will say, we find it easier to get on and off these lifts as beginner skiers than beginner snowboarders. With your feet spread evenly, you can maintain your balance and emerge from a button or chair lift without falling face first – most of the time, anyway! Getting tangled in your skis is always a threat.
For cable cars, it’s much less effort to carry a single compact snowboard than a giant pair of skis. And there’s less likelihood you’ll accidentally smack someone in the face when turning to look at the view.
Insurance: Is There a Cost Difference Between Skiing and Snowboarding?
Another cost that doesn’t normally differ between the two sports, as both are typically categorised under ‘winter sports’. Taking out additional insurance before you travel might seem like a waste but, as is the case of all insurance, you’ll be very glad you have it should the unthinkable happen. You may not want to think of it but airlifts off a mountain don’t come cheap. Nor do less dramatic, but still costly, bills such as those for a sprained ankle or wrist.
Lessons: Which One is Cheaper?
Ski school and snowboarding lesson costs vary quite a lot. In general, snowboarding lessons may see smaller groups with more intensive training while ski school might have a big class, and be spread out over your entire trip. Although it’s hard to say which you’d spend more on, there is a theory that snowboarding is “harder to learn, easier to master”. So maybe you’ll need just a few lessons to begin but then you can fly solo, quicker – saving you more money down the line.
Is Snowboarding Cheaper Than Skiing?
You betcha – at least, it looks that way from our breakdown of costs above. Because while both skiing and snowboarding even out in terms of lift tickets and insurance, there’s a pretty big difference between the prices of kitting yourself out to look like a regular snow bunny. Mainly because you don’t need to rent/buy as much equipment when snowboarding, and the boots you’ll wear are cheaper, too!
Plus, since you’ll likely see more progress in terms of your skills with snowboarding, you mightn’t need as many lessons as you would when skiing.
Final Thoughts: No Boredom with Snowboard-dom!
We set out to answer the question: is snowboarding cheaper than skiing? And we’ve seen how snowboarding wins in terms of price. But there’s also less hassle involved in lugging around equipment, plus the fact that you can become a great snowboarder faster than you’ll become a good skier.
There’s also one last advantage that snowboarding has over skiing: it’s just cooler. We don’t know why it is that way, but it just is. Snowboarders get a better rep. And if the mountain was a high school, you betcha snowboarders would be the ruling clique. If that sort of thing matters to you (and if price is a factor, too!) then go for the single board over double skis.
Whatever sport you choose, be safe, have fun and enjoy the ride!