Have you ever wanted to go to a Salt Lake City area ski resort and start a debate in the lodge? There’s an easy way to do it: just ask a couple of people whether skiing is better than snowboarding. Forget about things like ski tunes and discount lift tickets. Skiing vs. snowboarding is a debate that must be settled!
All kidding aside, neither winter sport is better nor worse than the other. The general industry rule of thumb is that skiing is easier to learn but harder to master. Snowboarding is harder to learn but easier to master. If you don’t know why, it boils down to technique.
It’s important to have skis and snowboards tuned. It is important to get to the slopes and get as much practice as possible. Taking lessons helps, too. But in the end, the biggest difference between the two sports is the technique.
Learning to Ski
A lot of us who snowboard actually started out on skis. Obviously, learning to ski isn’t a prerequisite. Yet skiing is easier to learn. It has been said that skiing is more intuitive simply due to the fact that it’s more aligned with the way we naturally stand and move. Consider the following two things:
- Leg Position – The leg position when you’re strapped to a set of skis is very similar to your natural leg position. Your legs are slightly spread with your feet facing forward. Additionally, your feet can still act independently to catch you if you find yourself off balance. You don’t have to change that position to get yourself moving on your skis.
- Body Position – Likewise, your body position remains the same. This is to say that the skis strapped to your feet are parallel to your feet. They are almost like an oversized pair of shoes with a heel and toe.
Ski classes for beginners involve learning things like snowplowing, turning, and learning how to fall. Most people can learn the basics with just a couple of lessons and a day or two on the slopes. To master skiing though, you will need a lot of slope time and regular ski tuning.
Learning to Snowboard
Learning to snowboard is more difficult for the same two reasons that make learning to ski easier. It’s all about foot and body position. On a snowboard, you basically have two positions:
- Standard – Your left foot is toward the front of the board
- Goofy – Your right foot is toward the front of the board.
Though your forward foot can be slightly offset a bit, both stances have you effectively standing on the board sideways. This is contrary to the straightforward position you adopt when skiing. Going down the hill sideways goes against every natural inclination. Coupled with your legs being locked into the same position relative to each other, it’s pretty clear what makes learning to snowboard harder.
Here’s the thing about snowboarding: the hardest thing to learn is how to use the edges of the board to keep you upright and maintain whatever direction you want to go in. Compare this to skiing, which allows for independent leg movement to stay balanced. Once your brain and body get used to the edges, the hard part is behind you. Snowboarding becomes an exercise of just feeling it.
Of course, learning and mastering snowboarding requires proper snowboard tuning. So if you’re new to the sport, make sure to get your board tuned before your first lesson. Then take it in for tunings on a regular basis.
Which winter sport is right for you: skiing or snowboarding? That’s up to you to decide. Canyon sports offers both snowboard rentals and ski rentals so you can try both. You might turn out to be one of those rare people who thinks they are both equally fun.