There is a common quote that says it is easy to learn to ski, but not master it, whereas it is hard to learn snowboarding but easier to master it once you do. So which is easier, skiing or snowboarding, particularly as a beginner?
When learning to ski, the technique can be split into different elements making it simpler to learn, and having your feet still able to move independently makes it feel more natural for most people starting out. However, to master it is very technical.
Learning to snowboard involves having your feet both attached to a board which feels strange and can result in lots of falls, but once you manage to learn the technique it’s easy to improve your skill levels.
One of the other things which make skiing easier to learn is the stance, as you are straight on and can see where you are going and what’s around you very easily, whereas snowboarding is side on and you have limited sight of what’s in front of you which can feel very challenging as a beginner.
So let’s take a look at each sport in turn:
As a beginner snowboarder once you have got used to having your feet both attached to one board and the sideways stance, it is fairly easy to make progress, compared with skiers who have to learn quite quickly how not to cross their skis, which can be a challenge.
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You do need to bear in mind that getting used to having your feet attached to something does make you more likely to fall over a lot more than a skier when you first start out, but it’s just a case of focussing on your balance.
As a snowboarder, you just need to learn how to turn and get that turning your shoulders will turn your hips and then your feet, which makes your snowboard turn. For most people, it only takes a couple of weeks to master this, and then you can hit the slopes.
The next stage is to work on getting up your speed and improving your balance. The key with snowboarding is that going faster makes turning and balancing easier, making it quicker to progress and master your skills.
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Once you have mastered balance and turns, all you need to do is focus on speed, making those turns perfectly, and spending time out on the slopes. There is no more to it, so hard to learn but easy to master sounds about right.
When learning to snowboard you do need to have a basic level of fitness so doing some exercises that focus on building up your core muscles will help with balance and stop you from falling so frequently. Pilates and paddleboarding use the same movements as snowboarding.
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Once a skier has started learning, they need to work out how to move both legs in harmony, without crossing their skis, as the first major hurdle. There are several techniques which can be applied to learn this, to get people out on the slopes and practising.
Once a skier has learned the basics of how to move on skis, which can be a lot quicker than balancing on a snowboard, the tricky elements start to come into play. Skiers need to learn how to turn without creating a snowplow effect.
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It takes time to start doing runs on the slopes and progressing from beginner runs to more advanced ones takes a lot of time and practice. Getting better at skiing and beyond beginner level is very technical and can take a long time.
You need a good level of fitness for skiing but it is harder on the legs and thighs than the core area so it’s a good idea to bring in some extra leg exercises into your regular fitness routine if you want to become a regular skier.
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Whether you decide to learn to snowboard or learn to ski, or maybe even try both, winter sports are great fun and provide the opportunity to enjoy some amazing scenery and places, make new friends and have some great winter holidays.
Both are more than just sports and often become a way of life for people in the winter, looking forward to their snow holidays. They both have a strong community built around them and are a great social activity as well as a great way to get fit.
Whether you choose to stay at beginner level at both sports and just have fun or aim to master one or the other with years of practice, both will enable you to enjoy winter views, mountain scenery, and lots of fresh air, as well as burning calories by the hour and keeping you fit and healthy.