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Skiing vs Snowboarding: which is easier to learn?

If you’re new to snowsports, you might be wondering which is easier – skiing or snowboarding? While it’s difficult to say, from our team’s experience skiing is easier to get to grips with initially. However, the sport is harder to master!

Snowboarding, on the other hand, is very difficult at first, mostly because of the difference in balance. But once you’ve got the basics under your belt, you’ll catch up to skiers fairly quickly!

At the end of the day, however, the speed at which you learn depends on the individual. Find out more about the differences between skiing vs snowboarding to help you decide which one to learn first…


What age should you start?

Although it’s better to start learning when you’re younger, if you’re brand new at either sport, we would recommend you learn how to ski first. This way you’ll spend less time falling over and can start to nail the basics before moving on to the harder sport!

Balance

This is probably the biggest difference between skiing and snowboarding. Many people have tried sports such as ice skating or rollerblading before, but sports such as skateboarding and surfing are notoriously harder to get to grips with… The same applies to skiing and snowboarding!

Skiers face head-on, which tends to feel a bit more natural than facing sideways; but through practice and the right teaching, you can quickly get adjusted to boarding.

is skiing or snowboarding easier
For most people, it is harder to find your balance on a snowboard than on skis!

Speed

Speed is another factor that makes learning skiing a better option for beginners. It’s quite a bit easier to control your speed whilst skiing because you can “snowplough”; just turn both skis in to make a triangular shape. This is a technique used by beginners to slow down or stop quickly.

Snowboarding, on the other hand, can be harder to slow down initially. This is because there’s more room for error! The technique is more difficult, and you can easily catch an edge which can cause you to crash.

Snow conditions

Harder snow conditions (for example icy slopes or hard-packed pistes) lend themselves better to skiers. On the other hand, powdery, softer snow is easier for snowboarders, as snowboards have a larger surface area than skis. Skiers may find that it’s easier to sink into soft snow than boarders – so be sure to check what the snow conditions are before you book your equipment!

How lifts work

Drag lifts, which include button lifts, rope lifts and T-bars (i.e. lifts which require you to be in front of the lift and drag you along the surface of the snow) were pretty much built for skiers. Snowboarders will find these lifts much more difficult at the beginning as drag lifts are much easier if you are facing forwards.

Chairlifts can also be a challenge for boarders as you have to undo one of your bindings and twist your body to be able to sit comfortably.

If you want to learn how to snowboard, we would recommend you use bubble lifts. Fortunately, these types of lifts are the same for both skiers and boarders; all users have to remove their skis or board before using them!

Some resorts have a wider variety of ski lifts than others, making them better suited for beginner snowboarders. Be sure to have a look at our team’s top destinations for beginner snowboarders here.

Book your ski in / ski out chalet today

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skiing vs snowboarding
Chairlifts are harder to use for snowboarders, as you have to undo one of your bindings in order to sit comfortably.

The physical demands of snowsports

Next, consider the physical demands. Before hitting the slopes, you should always make sure your physical fitness is in good condition. Doing warm-up exercises and making sure you have done plenty of cardio training will help you embrace the mountains to the max.

But which sport is more physically demanding?

When snowboarding, you’ll be doing a lot of sitting down and standing back up again (as well as bending down to undo and redo your bindings!). This alone can make it more physically demanding than skiing.

However, much like any other sport, practice makes perfect and the more you do it, the easier it will become!

Comfort

Snowboarding boots tend to be far more comfortable than ski boots. The bindings on a snowboard offer more support than on skis; this means that the boots are far less rigid and therefore more comfortable.

You might also want to consider the ease of transportation as well. When you’re heading to apres ski, for example, you’ll find carrying just a snowboard far easier than skis and poles!

While skis are generally easier to use for beginners, they can be quite a hassle to carry around!

If you want to learn more about skiing and snowboarding, you can check out the other blog post in this series:

Alternatively, you can head over to the activities section of our blog.