Simply put, skiing is the easier sport to learn, though it can take some time to advance to a proficient level of skill. Conversely, learning the basics of snowboarding requires practice and learning how to shift one’s feet on their toes and heels. Once that skill is learned, however, beginners can master snowboarding far sooner than those who choose to pursue skiing.
Starting Your Training
Skiing is easier to learn for beginners for a few reasons. One major difference between these two winter sports has to do with your mobility. In snowboarding, both feet are bound to the board, which means you can’t really avoid a fall once you begin to lose your balance. Instead of correcting your balance, you’ll likely have to commit to the fall and begin again.
In skiing, you can move both feet separately, which means you can adjust your path to correct an imbalance. By throwing one leg out, you can regain a solid stance and avoid the fall, continuing on your way. This makes it easier to get a feel for the skis and how they handle on the slopes.
Another difference that gives the skier the advantage over the snowboarder has to do with how the stances affects one’s vision. In skiing, the individual is facing forward with a full field of vision, including peripheral vision on both sides. Alternatively, snowboarders face the side so they can only see about half of what’s in front of them. This makes it more difficult to know how to maneuver. It will likely require more practice to adjust to this aspect of snowboarding.
After You’ve Learned the Basics
With snowboarding, getting a grasp on the basic techniques is the hardest part and, once you do get a handle on that, you can advance fairly quickly. Many experienced snowboarders say that the hardest part about beginning is learning to adjust to having both feet bound to a single board and accommodating the limited vision. After that, it’s just a matter of learning how to add style to your turns and increasing your speed, which makes your turns even easier to handle.
Conversely, skiers will find out over the course of time that having two separate skis is more of a curse than a blessing. It becomes difficult to keep them from crossing and just learning to control your legs is a skill in itself. Beginning stances are the pizza, also known as the snowplough, and the french fries. The pizza places the toes of the skis together and the rear of the skis apart, while the french fries require that the feet be parallel. These positions are practiced on a beginner’s slope to help the individual learn maneuverability, and to help them get comfortable with faster speeds.
Getting into Shape First
For both sports, you’ll perform better if you’re already physically fit. Bicycling is best for skiers because it strengthens the lower body without subjecting the legs to the hard impact that results from running.
For snowboarding, beginners should work on developing their abdominal and lower back muscles. Crunches, pilates, and paddleboarding are great ways to develop these muscles and to improve your overall physique and balance.
No matter which sport you choose to pursue, a little practice will soon have you well on your way. Once you learn to handle yourself, you’ll find this is a great way to spend time outdoors and get some physical activity. Snowboarders and skiers alike often find themselves addicted to these mountain sports, finding it a great way to let off some steam away from the hustle and bustle of their busy lives.