When asking friends and colleagues, the common answer is that skiing is easier to learn but harder to master, whilst snowboarding is harder to learn but easier to master.
But the question is one plank or two? Undecided? Give our guide a read to help you make that all important decision in snowsports.
Learning to ski
When it comes to skiing, learning the basics is a lot easier. You can quickly master snowplough turns and will be able to slowly make your way down a green or blue run after a few days and you’ll be able to pick up parallel turns after that. The familiarity of being able to move your own feet is also a mind easer and makes mobility a lot easier.
But not having the technique in skiing that can take a while to get to grips with is when problems can arise and yard sales can happen. It can be tricky learning the core technique of rotating your feet under your upper body whilst keeping your upper body facing down the mountain. You can easily fall into bad habits of leaning too far back in your ski boots and throwing your shoulders which can knock you off balance when hitting a bump in the piste.
Learning to snowboard
Getting to grips with your balance on a snowboard takes longer. Having your feet strapped to a board and not being able to manoeuvre your legs separately is a very unfamiliar sensation. You’ll find yourself on your bum rather than on your board during lessons which can be frustrating, so perseverance is key for learning to stop, turn and control your edges on the board. But after tackling the basics, snowboarding is a lot easier and quicker to progress. Once you’ve overcome the first hurdle, you’ll be ready for the mountains.
Equipment and convenience
As with everything, there are pros and cons for each. Snowboarding boots are known to be comfier than ski boots (although I do beg to differ, it depends on what ski boots you have as mine are snug) and are a lot easier to walk around in. Carrying a snowboard is a lot less faff! You’re not hoisting your skis over your shoulders, juggling two poles in your hands whilst your goggles are dangling from your helmet. Skiers, I’m sure you know the struggles when you were a newbie of your skis sliding apart on your shoulders, trying to look like you’ve got your stuff together when you’ve realised you’ve actually dropped a glove. But it’s all part of the learning process!
When it comes to lift access, skiers do have the convenience of hopping on and hopping off lifts and not having to remove your back foot from the snowboard binding to ride a lift and clip back in when you get off.
Flat slopes aren’t too much of an issue for skiers. But for snowboarders, flat green runs are a dreaded territory. Unable to pick up the pace, the options are scootering along with your back foot unclipped, asking your fellow skier pals to offer a pole and give you a tow or accepting defeat and walking the rest of the way!
Other factors to take into account
What decision you’ll make also depends on whether your friends or family are skiers or snowboarders. You may be more comfortable taking on the snowsport they do, not only for help and guidance but also when you're skiing or snowboarding in a group.
Going with what you’ve got is also another factor to take in account. Have you been surfing or wakeboarding before? Or roller blading or ice skating? It is a big advantage in learning the basics of snowboarding and holding your balance and learning how to snowplough stop in skiing.
Both are as exhilarating as the other, it just depends on whether you have the patience to slide down the mountain on your bum when learning to snowboard or you want to learn the basics to get around the mountain quickly on skis.
Have a browse through our ski holidays to give you some inspiration to kick start your ski trip plans!