There were over 9.2 million skiers and snowboarders during the 2017/2018 season. These numbers may make you curious to try skiing or snowboarding yourself to see what all the fuss is about.
However, if you’ve never skied or snowboarded before, you have a choice to start with either sport. A good factor that can help you make this choice is which one is easiest for beginners to learn.
This article will go over skiing vs snowboarding and give a fair assessment of which sport is best for beginners. Read on to choose between the two more easily on your next mountain vacation.
The Basics of Skiing vs Snowboarding
Are you completely unaware of what either sport looks like? If so, you can read the sections that give basic descriptions of either sport directly below before moving on. If you do have a basic understanding of either sport, you can probably move on to the how to ski and how to snowboard sections.
What is Skiing?
Skiing has been around much longer than snowboarding. It involves using two skis, which are like long flat poles that curl up in the front. These are attached to the skier’s feet via a special boot.
The two most popular styles of skiing are downhill skiing and telemark alpine, but there are also several more that have some specific needs. In general, the main goal of each of the styles is the same. Skiers must get from one location to the next on the skis.
What is Snowboarding?
Snowboarding has a far shorter history than skiing as the earliest attempts at the sport happened in 1917. Like with skis, the snowboard is also attached to the feet. This time, however, the snowboarder is left in a sideways position rather than the front-facing one a skier has.
The main purpose of snowboarding is pretty much the same as skiing. A snowboarder must get from one point to another using the snowboard to travel. There are also several types of snowboarding that may have different smaller goals alongside the main one.
How to Ski and Snowboard
Now that you know what either sport looks like, you can learn how to perform skiing and snowboarding yourself. There are some very specific techniques here that weren’t covered in the last section.
How to Ski
To start with, you’ll get the best results if your body is at a certain fitness level before you start. For skiing, you’re going to want well-developed legs and thighs as the sport uses these body parts the most. You can prepare these by cycling in the months before you plan to go skiing.
Your ski instructor should start you on the basics of how to ski during your first day. You’ll learn wedged turning, how to use ski lifts, and how to brake by turning the tips of your skis inward. It’s normal for beginners to fall a lot.
Over the next few days, you’ll be falling over less and less. You’ll also progress from beginner turns to parallel turns and from the ‘pizza’ brake stance to hockey stopping. With more and more practice, you’ll get better.
How to Snowboard
Snowboarding also requires a certain amount of starting fitness. Unlike skiing, however, it’s best to strengthen your core to get a good snowboarding result. Crunches, pilates, and paddle boarding can help you achieve a stronger core.
With snowboarding, you’ll spend a lot of the first day falling into the snow. It will also take you many days to start picking up the basics of turning, braking and balancing. However, it is possible to learn backside and frontside turns in a few days and confidently make your way down a smaller ‘baby’ slope.
Once you have the basics down, though, it will be very easy to progress further.
Is Skiing or Snowboarding Better for a Beginner?
To make one thing clear from the start, you don’t need to fear getting seriously injured as much as you think. According to statistics, you have a one-in-a-million chance of a catastrophic injury. Also, about 3/4 of the injuries that come out of skiing and snowboarding happen because of muscle and joint overuse.
Thus, you shouldn’t necessarily go for the sport where you will fall less. What’s easiest for a beginner can depend on each individual’s temperament. You can learn more about what this means in the sections below.
Skiing is Easier During the Basics
If you need immediate success, skiing is better. It’s much easier to master the basics of skiing and start getting down the more advanced slopes faster. You’ll also fall a lot less at the beginning.
This is mostly the case because you have one ski for each leg. This makes it far easier to recover if you’re about to trip. You also have a lot better peripheral vision when you’re facing forward instead of facing sideways.
However, once you master the basics, it is difficult to learn more advanced skills. This can be frustrating for those who are competitive.
Snowboarding is Easier After the Basics
If you can delay becoming successful for a bit, snowboarding is great. Due to the struggles of keeping your balance on a single board, you will likely fall a lot in the beginning. You’ll also not have the advantage of peripheral vision that skiers do.
However, once you do start making it down the advanced slopes easily, the rest will be smooth sailing. It is much easier to learn advanced skills than basic skills with snowboarding.
Get Ski and Snowboard Rentals From Us in Keystone and Copper Mountain
So you could easily argue that skiing is better for beginners as it’s easier to pick up. However, some beginners may not like how steep the learning curve for skiing gets after learning the basics. In the end, the skiing vs snowboarding choice is up to you, and you’re sure to find good and bad in either sport.
You can also easily try both before spending tons of money on equipment. Our service offers both snowboard and ski rentals in Keystone and Copper Mountain.
There’s also no need to wait until you’re at our store. Click here to book online, and everything will be ready for you when you arrive.