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Skiing vs Snowboarding - which is best for me?

March 11, 2021 4 min read

Skiing Vs Snowboarding

Skiing VS Snowboarding

The rivalry between the two disciplines is historical, with people on either side of the ‘which is best’ debate voicing their opinion, and we can attest to this more than most. Ask a skier, they’ll tell you skiing is best (it is) and ask a boarder, and they’ll tell you there is no beating snowboarding.

It’s a debate that’s difficult to get an unbiased opinion on! Many will tell you that skiing is harder to be good at, but easier to learn and in part this is true. Many people learn on skis and switch to a board, or vice-versa.

The origin of skiing dates back centuries, whereas snowboarding burst onto the scene sometime in the 80’s, and in the 90’s and early 2000’s, snowboarding became undoubtably the sport for the young and cool. It seemed if you were young, you’d snowboard. If you were old and subsequently, not cool, you skied.

This adage has very much changed in recent years. Now some of the worlds most celebrated athletes are skiers, just check out this video of Candide Thovexand tell me skiers aren’t cool! Let’s start at the very beginning, it’s a very good place to start.

The Lingo:

Pizza: Angling the tips of your skis together in order to stop or turn – making the shape of a slice of pizza.

French Fry: Skis are parallel to each other – making the shape of two French Fries!

“If you French fry when you’re supposed to pizza, you’re going to have a bad time.”

As mentioned above, skiing is easier to learn but harder to master. On skis, the movement is a little more intuitive as your body is naturally facing downhill and your legs are separated making initial balance easier.

The first week on skis is generally quite fun! Generally, the basics are easy to pick up and it’s a quick progression to the fun stuff. Usually on your first day or two, you’ll figure out how to turn and stop on the beginner hill, you may even feel comfortable enough to explore other parts of the mountain in week one.

Although skiing is the easier discipline off the bat, it’s much more difficult to attain intermediate status. Skiers have to control two skis and two poles which may require a little more strength and skill. Many skiers never progress from pizzato french fries. If we can offer any advice it is to keep at it, practice makes perfect.


The Lingo:

Toe Side: Turning the snowboard ‘forward’ towards your toes.

Heel Side: Turning the snowboard ‘backward’ towards your heels.

Snowboarding a little more difficult to pick up the basics. When snowboarding, like surfing, skating or wakeboarding, your body is facing sideways with your dominant leg facing downhill.

The first 2-3 days on a snowboard will be spent falling down, a lot. But, don’t despair! Most new snowboarders say there’s a point where it all just ‘clicks.’ Getting the balance right is the most difficult part, and once you do, progression is much faster than on skis.

Although it may take you longer to master, once you have heel side, toe side down pat, you’re pretty well set. The mountain is open for you to explore. From there, speed goes up, turns get bigger and jumps may even sneak their way into your repertoire.

So who wins? It really depends on who you talk to! If you ask us, you’re winning if you’re out on the snow at all! But whichever snow sport discipline you choose, know that once you get past the first day or two, you’re in a world of opportunity; a world that just keeps giving as your experience grows. Welcome!


Skiing vs Snowboarding FAQs

Whilst there is no concrete answer to the ‘which is better’ question, we do have some answers to some other frequently asked ski and snowboarding questions.

Q: Is skiing or snowboarding better for children?

A: It really depends on the age of your child. But ski lessons typically start from age three and snowboard lessons won’t start until a little later. As with adults, skiing is easier for kids to pick up, and as to not break their spirit, most parents will start their kids on skis and transition to snowboard once they’re a little older. This way, the kids have already fallen in love with the snow, and have basic movements mastered.


Q: Can skiers and snowboarders ride together?

 A: Of course they can! This seems like a silly question, but one we certainly hear. Regardless of your discipline, everyone ends up at the bottom of the same run and riding the same lift! Race you to the bottom!! Just remember, there are NO friends on a powder day!


Q: Which is cheaper, skiing or snowboarding?

 A: Neither. Both disciplines require a very similar investment in gear, the same lift ticket and most of the time, lessons cost the same.


Q: Should I take skiing or snowboarding lessons?

A: We always say yes! Skimping on lessons often means spending more time learning and less time shredding! Lessons ensure you pick up correct technique in practice and progression. ALSO don’t be fooled into thinking that only beginners can take lessons! Spending time with an instructor at any point in your ski or snowboard career will help you to improve technique, skill and confidence.


Q: Is there a difference between ski and snowboard clothing?

 A: There is a difference! Snowboard jackets are typically longer and baggier, to accommodate for time spent sitting on the snow and a lot of lateral body movement. Ski jackets on the other hand are typically shorter and more tailored. The differences in ski and snowboard pants is mostly the fit; snowboard pants tend to be baggier for greater leg movement whilst ski pants tend to have a slimmer fit that allows for a more aerodynamic form.

A lot of this difference, however, is in style. Some skiers wear a snowboard jacket because they prefer the way it looks. The most important thing when choosing outerwear, regardless of if it’s for skiing or snowboarding, is insulation. Check out our insulation blogs here and here to refresh your knowledge.

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