Chances are, you’re heading to the mountain for the first time, and you have to choose between skiing or snowboarding. I’ve helped many people through this decision, and the best part about it is you can’t really go wrong.
That said, there are definitely a few factors to consider:
Which is easier to learn?
Is one harder to get really good at?
Which is more fun?
Is one more expensive/dangerous?
This post aims to break down these questions logically, so you can head to the mountains with confidence that you are choosing the right option for you.
Which is Easier to Learn? Snowboarding or Skiing?
Generally speaking, snowboarding is harder to learn initially. You should expect to fall a lot more in the beginning, and it may take a few days on the mountain before you’re turning comfortably.
Skiing, on the other hand, is something you can do without as many falls. You’ll by no means be an expert, but you should be able to pick up on the fundamentals by skiing the bunny slopes and greens.
Is Skiing or Snowboarding Harder to get Really Good at?
While snowboarding is harder in the beginning, once you have the basics down, it is very easy to advance into a solid snowboarder.
Once you are getting down the hill skiing, learning the proper carving fundamentals takes significantly longer.
Conclusion: If you’re only going for a couple times, you’ll make it down the mountain easier on skis. If you want to commit to going a fair amount (5-10 times), you’ll see advancement in your skills much quicker on a snowboard.
Which is More Fun?
Skiing. Next question.
Just kidding, I’m biased. I’m partial to skiing since I’ve done it my whole life, but snowboarding can be just as fun.
I will say on extreme terrain with moguls, cliffs, and deep powder, skiers tend to have an easier time. Skiers also have an easier time moving on flat surfaces like catwalks (thank you, poles). Snowboarders, however, have more versatility when it comes to the terrain park.
Is Skiing or Snowboarding More Dangerous?
I asked an ex-snowboard instructor, Nikolai, about the injuries they see on skis vs snowboards. Here’s what he says:
“We see more frequent injuries on snowboards, with a lot of broken wrists. Ski injuries are less frequent but tend to be more serious, like a knee injury.”
It also appears skiing is done more often into older age than snowboarding, since it’s a bit more forgiving.
Is Skiing or Snowboarding More Expensive?
Skiing and Snowboarding at a mountain with daily rentals is about equal in price. Lift tickets cost the same and rentals generally do too.
Skiing becomes more expensive when you buy your equipment, because the boots are higher-tech, and you also have to buy poles. High-quality equipment can last you about 10 years, so expect to spend a little more on ski equipment than snowboard equipment every decade.