So, you’ve decided to get into Snowsports, but now you’ve got to make that big decision; am I a skier or a snowboarder. It can be a tough choice, both can be exciting and adventurous, leisurely and social, there’s so many pros for both sports.
To help you make up your mind, we’ve listed a few things you should know before you decide which snowsport to take up. No pressure, remember, once you’ve taken your pick, you don’t have to stick with it, you can always swap back and forth.
If you haven’t heard, in relation to snowboarding, skiers have a famous saying, ‘skiing is easy to learn, but harder to master.’ While snowboarders might tell you, ‘snowboarding is harder to learn, but easier to master.’
Generally, these points are both very true. As a beginner snowboarder, you’re likely to spend much more time on your bottom than a beginner skier. Snowboarders shouldn’t always expect to be able to stand and slide on their board straight away. That said, nor should skiers, but as a generalisation plenty of skiers can stand and slide at least a little bit straight away.
For snowboarders, determination and grit is needed at the beginning of the learning journey, to balance on the board, stop, control the edges, and learn to turn. Meanwhile, usually those learning to ski can get to a level that allows them to potter around on the easy slopes relatively quickly.
Once snowboarders have mastered the basics, snowboard progression is often thoughts to be quicker, than that of skiing. With either sport, the learning journey has its pros and cons, but both can be very rewarding and enjoyable.
It’s not often talked about when you take up a snowsport, but the differences in equipment can be a deciding factor for some snowsports enthusiasts. For starters, snowboard boots are far easier to walk around in than ski boots. This, plus the fact that carrying just your snowboard, rather than two skis and two poles makes reaching the Après bar that much easier, is definitely a selling point. For snowboarding
However, on the slopes, skiers will be pleased they have their poles, as they use them to push themselves past those snowboarders on the flatter parts of the mountain. Plus it's much quicker to head off after getting off a lift, as skiers pass weave their way around snowboarders who need to strap in.
Before making a choice, the type of snowsports experience you’re hoping to have should also be considered.
On the mountain, some slopes or terrains can be more enjoyable for skiers, and others can have greater appeal to snowboarders. If the social side of snowsports is important to you, and you’re planning to hit the slopes with a group of skiers, it might be an idea to ski, so you can agree on which runs to do. Alternatively, if all your friends are snowboarding, perhaps picking up a board is a better bet.
If you’re looking to explore the slopes, and see some truly breath-taking views, you can do this on skis, or on a snowboard, but you’re likely to reach a level where you’re ready to cover more ground sooner on skis. In a similar way, skiing is a geat choice if you're looking for some gentle runs, at your own pace in a beautiful setting.
There are also different snow conditions to consider. If the idea of and adrenalin buzz from slashing powder (thick, heavy, ungroomed snow) and making the most of every bump with a few flatland tricks on the way down sounds like more your thing, perhaps cursing on a snowboard is for you. Although you can also do this on skis, snowboarders tend to be known for this kind of riding.
If you love the idea of picking up some speed, skiing is probably better suited to your needs. Skis normally run over the snow more quickly than snowboards, and racing down steep, packed powder is often far more popular with skiers than snowboarders.
Whichever snowsport you choose, there is plenty of fun to be had on one plank or two. If you still can’t make up your mind, consider taking a lesson in each snowsport at a UK indoor slope before you visit a mountain resort.