Ski or snowboard? – PlanetSKI
September 28, 2021
If you are a beginner or going with someone who has never been on the slopes before, should you ski or snowboard? Our good friends at Crystal Ski Holidays have a few tips. NEW
“There’s an old adage that skiing is easier to learn, but harder to master, and windsurfing is harder to learn, but easier to master,” Crystal explains in her blog post: Ski buzz.
At PlanetSKI, who are we to disagree?
Crystal has put together some of the main differences to help you decide:
• In addition to having more comfortable shoes, snowboarders only have one kit to carry while skiers have two skis and two poles.
• It is good news for snowboarders if there is new snowfall as well. Snowboards are best in powder because they float on fresh snow, while skinny skis dig below the surface.
• But it’s much easier for skiers to maintain speed on long, flat sections – and if you’re lacking momentum you can always use your poles to push yourself.
• You are also always facing the direction you are going on skis, so you will generally be able to see what to expect. On a board you are facing sideways or even uphill as you turn, which can make it difficult to see things further down the trail.
• Skis also have brakes to prevent them from slipping downhill if you need to take them off in the mountains, unlike boards.
• For chairlifts, snowboarders will have to stop and take one foot off the board before they can sit down. If you’re on a pair of skis, you can just slide straight into the queue and onto the lift.
• As for the cost, the equipment rental prices are roughly the same regardless of your choice. If you fancy investing in your own gear later, ski gear tends to be more expensive.
The Crystal Blog then details what it is to learn to ski and what it is to learn to snowboard.
Learn to ski
Beginning on skis?
Here’s a look at what it’s like to learn the ropes on the slopes:
• Being able to move each leg separately means you can get a wider stance, so you should find your balance fairly quickly – and you’ll also have a pair of poles to help keep you stable.
• There is usually a separate nursery area just for beginners away from the main slopes. The slopes are wide and gentle, and there are often conveyor belt-type lifts called magic carpets to make it easy for you to reach the top of the hill.
• The first skill to learn is to control your speed by making a pizza-shaped wedge with your skis – in ski jargon this is called a snow plow.
• It normally only takes a few hours to master the slowdown, and some people even start spinning at the end of the first lesson.
• Making parallel turns, with your skis side by side, is an important goal for beginners. It can take several weeks to learn, and since your feet are closer together than in a snow plow, it will be more difficult to keep your balance at first. Keep practicing on soft trails before trying it on steeper terrain.
• When you start exploring longer trails away from the nursery area, you will use many button lifts – a kind of lift where a plate-shaped disc goes between your legs and pulls you up. These are much easier to tackle on skis than a board, so you can spend more time working on your technique rather than learning to ride the lift.
• Make sure you keep working on the basics, such as your general body position. This won’t even change as you progress, so sticking to the ski school early on will help you improve later.
Learn to snowboard
If you prefer snowboarding to skiing, you might be on the beginner slopes a little longer than the skiers, but all this practice definitely pays off.
Here’s what to expect when you’re just starting out:
• It is difficult to keep your balance when you are stationary on a snowboard, so try sitting down or taking one foot off your board if you are on a flat section. If you stop on the trails, remember to pick a spot where people coming down the mountain from above can see you, or move to the side to get out of the way. Once you get started and pick up speed, it is much easier to stand on your feet.
• You’ll start by making simple turns in each direction just like skiers, but stringing those turns is more difficult – shifting your weight from one edge of your board to the other is essential and takes time to master.
• Ski lifts can be more difficult for snowboarders, even for intermediates. Lifts are especially tricky because you have to balance yourself while standing sideways on your board – and skiers also often create ruts in the lift trail, which can be difficult to navigate. When looking for the best places to learn to snowboard, try to choose resorts with many chairlifts in their ski areas.
• Once you turn and take the lifts, you have ticked the main skills, so you can move over steeper terrain and explore more of the ski area while the skiers still practice on easier slopes .
And our opinion on PlanetSKI?
“It doesn’t make a difference, just go with your heart and ideally learn both over time, get out there and do a few laps,” said our editor, James Cove.
“But be warned, whatever you choose, you’ll probably be hooked for life. Whether you’re on a pair of skis or a snowboard, the mountains are pretty addicting.
And what about the rivalry between skiers and snowboarders?
Let’s just say things have improved since 1985.
There are still a few resorts in the US that ban snowboarders.
Alta and Deer Valley in Utah to name a few, but Utah’s neighboring resort Snowbird welcomes everyone.
While it is still not that easy to take a T-bar together …
Crystal blog article also has additional advice on adopting either discipline and the best resorts for beginners – whether on a snowboard or a pair of skis.