Snowboarding is easier than skiing.
End of story. Let’s move on. Next question, please!
Except, as with most questions related to extreme sports, it’s not quite that simple. Sure, it’s easier to take your first steps—metaphorically speaking—on skis than it is on a snowboard, but there’s more to it than that.
It all depends on how you answer a few key questions:
Do You Have Any Experience?
When we say “experience”, we’re obviously not referring to skiing or snowboarding. That would be cheating. We’re talking about board sports, roller skates—anything with wheels.
Take skateboarding as an example. If you know how to ride at speed, flip tricks, and keep your balance throughout, snowboarding will be a much easier transition for you. Sure, it’s a different board and different terrain, but your skills are transferable, and the same can’t be said for skiing.
Think of it in the context of musical instruments. If you play acoustic guitar, you’ll feel much more comfortable moving onto a banjo or lute than you would a piano. They’re still different instruments, but one of them feels much more natural.
Beginner snowboarders often have some experience with board sports, and for many, that’s the reason they are drawn to snowboarding in the first place.
What are Your Fitness Levels Like?
Are you in good physical shape? Do you have a strong core and high stamina levels? If so, both snowboarding and skiing can be mastered. You may need more time to get to a very high level in skiing, but you have a strong foundation to build upon and if you put the time in, you can master both of these sports.
On the flip side, if you have aching legs, sore abdominal muscles, and tired arms after a few minutes on the slopes; if you’re out of breath and ready for a fire and some hot rum, then your learning curve will be much steeper.
In such cases, and assuming you want to get to the highest level possible, it might be best to stick with snowboarding.
Do You Have Willpower?
Beginner skiers can have a lot of fun on the slopes. The ski poles will keep them upright and the skis themselves ensure that they can move at speed and stay on their feet. It’s also easier to get on and off a ski lift.
Snowboarding is a little more unnatural for beginners, though. Not only is it harder to get on ski lifts but they have a body position that they are not used to and will likely fall more frequently. If your first few days at the ski resort are spent picking yourself up from the cold and wet snow, you’ll very frustrated and may give up.
It’s a similar story with skateboarding—you need patience and a strong will to keep going through all of those falls, fails, and bails.
Why is skiing better than snowboarding?
The answer to this question is completely subjective. The one thing we do find true in this conversation is that you can ski anywhere there is a resort. You cannot snowboard everywhere.
So, if your group of friends are all skiers, where they ski and if you can snowboard there will be a consideration at some point.
Summary: Is Skiing or Snowboarding Easier?
As you can see, there is no easy answer here. The good news is that both of these sports have something to offer and if you’re willing to put the time in and get ski lessons or snowboard lessons, you can adapt pretty quickly.
Regardless of your prior experience with board sports, and regardless of where you want to be in the future, make sure you stick to the beginner slopes, listen to what the ski instructor or snowboarding instructor has to say, and don’t try to do too much too quickly.