Maybe you’re aware of it, maybe not, but there’s sort of an unspoken rivalry between skiers and snowboarders. (Actually, sometimes it’s not even unspoken! We’ve seen many après-ski sessions turn competitive!) Snowboarders are often seen as cooler and more hip. Also, as our previous posts have shown, snowboarding is actually cheaper than skiing, too.
But is snowboarding easier than skiing? Well, that’s a different kettle of fish entirely! There are many benefits to each sport. Still, neither is easy-peasy, at least when you get started. It takes a bit of time, patience and a willingness to scoot around on your butt because you’ll be falling over. A lot!
We’ve listened to both sides though, and drawn on our own experiences, too. And we can report that one sport is indeed seen as easier than the other, especially for beginners. So let’s jump in and find out which one!
Which is Easier to Learn?
Most people are in agreement that of the two, skiing is easier than snowboarding when you’re starting out. There are a couple of reasons behind this logic:
With skiing, you’re balanced between two boards. Meaning when you’re going slow (which you should be, as a beginner!) it’s pretty safe to throw a leg out and rebalance yourself if you feel a bit wobbly. It feels instinctive and, considering you’ve plenty of new things to deal with, instinct is a handy thing to have on your side.
With snowboarding, both feet are attached to a wider board. It’s less intuitive – because we’ve never moved this way before – and when you fall in those first few days, there’s little you can do to stop it.
When you learn to ski, it’s all very step-by-step and it’s easy to get these basics down. With snowboarding, there’s a lot to consider at once. You need to get a feel for both your heel and toe edges and it may take time for your ‘aha’ moment to occur. So it’s likely that you’ll be able to navigate a gentle slope on skis quickly – maybe even on your first day! With snowboarding, you’ll be gliding around on your bum for most of that time.
Our advice? Get some padding for that first week. You can wear protective shorts with pads across the back and sides – or just really take advantage of that hotel buffet breakfast! Either way, you’ll be glad of some extra cushioning.
Another thing that makes many fans answer yes when asked if skiing or snowboarding is easier, is that it’s easier to stand when skiing. At least, it’s much simpler as a newbie! When you ski, you use a straight-on stance. You can see all around you, where you’re going and, most importantly, any hazards lying ahead.
Snowboarding takes place from a side-on angle. Meaning you can only see half of what’s ahead as you cruise down the slope. This can be pretty tricky, especially when you’re concentrating so hard on your technique! Wipe-outs with other ice-lovers are common.
Which is Easier to Master?
If you’re a patient person, and you make it through these initial hardships, then it’s far easier to snowboard. Once you have the technique down, and the muscle memory built, you can progress far quicker as a snowboarder. So while you might be tempted to quit in those early days, stick with it! Because snowboarding may just deliver you longer-lasting satisfaction in the end.
Although dealing with one board instead of two can cause balancing issues at first, it actually works in your favour once you get used to it. You won’t be that person tripping up over crossed skis, for instance. Turning is much easier, as is building up speed. So you’ll look far more confident zipping around the bends after a week than a skier, who may still be struggling with graduating from the snowplough!
This may not be something many people consider but walking in snowboarding boots is much easier than skiing ones. So when you’re getting on or off ski lifts, or simply finding your footing on a slope, it’s less likely you’ll trip over your own feet as a snowboarder. It does happen, of course, especially as lifts are actually designed for skiers. Again, a problem you’ll be faced with when starting out as a newbie snowboarder.
But in general, you’ll feel a lot less clumsy walking around in snowboarding boots. Plus, since you only have one short board to carry instead of two long ones, you run less risk of taking someone’s eye out! So it’s actually safer, in that aspect.
So, Is it Easier to Ski or Snowboard?
We’ve looked at arguments from both camps and we’ve seen that one is easier to learn, the other is easier to master. But which one is the best to develop as a new hobby? It depends on the person.
If you’re a patient type, who’s willing to experience falls and frustration in the first few days but will keep trying, your patience will be rewarded. You’ll progress quickly and you’ll likely find snowboarding much easier than trying to ski.
But if you’re the sort of person who gets annoyed easily, who quits at the first sign of difficulty (and hey, we all get like that sometimes!), skiing might be a better option. You’ll find it a pleasure to learn and ok, maybe you won’t develop into a top athlete soon. But it may just be for the occasional holiday, and that’s enough.
Our final verdict if snowboarding is easier than skiing; Well, if you don’t plan on doing all that much of the sport (just as a hobby), we recommend skiing. If it’s going to be a regular passion, we strongly encourage you to take up snowboarding. Because after a shaky start, you’ll be whizzing down those slopes like you were born to be a boarder. You’re gonna love it!