If you happen to visit a store that sells winter equipment, you may have wondered which sport is easier to master: skiing or snowboarding? Experts say that skiing is easier to learn as a beginner; however, it is challenging to master. On the other hand, snowboarding may be difficult at first but is easier to master as time goes by. These connotations are common in winter sports, and most of the people in the field can vouch that these claims are valid.
According to instructors, it is easy to know the fundamentals of skiing as they can be broken down into parts. However, to perfect these fundamentals, you have to be really technical, which is why it is difficult to master.
As per snowboarding, it is difficult to get used to being on your edges (toe and heel); that is why many beginners find it difficult to start learning the sport. However, the beginning is the most challenging part of learning it. Once you know the basics, you can level quickly.
In this blog, we will break down how learning to ski or snowboard starts so you can have a gist of which sport you would like to master first.
Skiing or Snowboarding? The First Few Days
During your first or second day of learning, you may find yourself picking up skiing a little faster. This is because skiing involves intuition for the following reasons:
Body position: Skiing is done in a straight-on, straightforward stance. A beginner in skiing will have total peripheral vision and is aware of where they are going since the only direction is at the front. This is an advantage for skiing since you have a vision of where you are going, including objects and people on your way.
On the other hand, snowboarding stances lean towards side-on poses. Because your body is positioned with the side leading your way, you only see half of your course, which can be uncomfortable at first, especially down the slopes. This may take time to get used to, so be patient.
Separation: In skiing, your legs are separated and are running at low speeds. If you feel like you are falling, you can throw one leg out to maintain your balance.
On the other hand, snowboarding requires having both of your feet attached to the board. This position can feel restrictive and awkward at first glance. Like the snowboarding body position, it may take some time to get used to it. If you are starting to fall, you cannot just throw one leg out to re-balance— you have to take the hit.
Skiing or snowboarding: Which sport can I progress easier?
What makes snowboarding challenging to learn at first may be the psychological obstacles you need to overcome. Once you get past these, you can quickly progress in the sport. Once you become comfortable having both of your feet together, you are already at an advantage.
Unlike skiing, where they have their legs apart, crossing skis can become an issue. But if you have mastered this in snowboarding, it would not be much of a challenge already. Moreover, beginner snowboarders using a monoski can already grasp turning basics that will allow them to glide smoothly on slopes.
The next step when learning how to snowboard is to work on increased speed and improved balance. Learning how to increase speed will make turning easier because there is less contact between the snow and the base of your snowboard. This decreases resistance during a turn.
Usually, these fundamentals (simple turns and riding down) can be achieved within one week or two. So, finessing turns, increasing speed, and improving your riding will be the first lessons you have to deal with if you decide to start snowboarding.
As per skiing, the good one or two days will be over soon. Having separate skis may seem like an advantage at first, but having to move both your legs simultaneously, in harmony and symmetry, may take some time to master.
Beginner skiers usually start with a pizza or snowplow— getting the tips of the skis together, ski tails apart, and straight skis (french fries) on a nursery slope to train the learner to travel straight down the slopes. The next step would be the snowplow, wherein the skiers will turn in the opposite direction.
Unlike snowboarding beginners that progress fast, beginner skiers usually find themselves doing well in achieving the snowplow turns by the end of the first week. But even though the progression may be more technical and complicated, once beginners learn to take on red and blue runs, they will look for sports that are more inclined in skill and technique. Skiing mastery, even though challenging, is still rewarding because of the difficulties you have to endure to get there.
Being Fit for Snowboarding and Skiing
It is undeniable that you have to be pretty fit to excel in snowboarding and skiing. Skiing is a bit more demanding on the thighs and legs, while snowboarding uses more core strength in the upper body since it focuses on balance and turning.
If you are interested in skiing, cycling can be an excellent way to get fit. It strengthens your legs and only makes a low impact on the knees and joints. Generally, leg strengthening exercises are ideal.
For snowboarding, core strengthening exercises are the key, especially those focusing on the lower back and abdominal muscles. You can try crunches and pilates, or if you are also fond of summer sports, you may also try paddleboarding.
In addition, the risk of falling is higher in snowboarding. So you may consider this sport if you are younger or in good physical shape.
Verdict: skiing or snowboarding?
Given all the factors you have to consider for both sports, you may already have an idea of which sport is more suitable for you. Learning about these sports can be addictive and exciting. And good equipment will not only take you to a memorable and fun experience, but also to safety and convenience as well.
If you plan to learn about skiing or snowboarding and need some equipment for the sports, Rocky Mountain can equip you with the latest sports equipment you will need. Browse through their vast collection of equipment and choose one best suited for your needs. Enjoy your first skiing or snowboarding gear!