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Skiing or Snowboarding: Which One is Easier to Learn?

by Grant Draper
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If you’re looking to hit the slopes for the first time, there’s one big decision you need to make; do you ski, or do you snowboard?

In this guide, we’re going to explain whether skiing or snowboarding is easier for beginners to learn. Afterall, it’s likely you’re only going away for 7-14 days. You want to spend the maximum amount of time on the slopes, rather than on your bum.

Skiing or Snowboarding: 5 factors to consider before choosing

Here are the 5 things to consider when trying to determine whether skiing is harder than snowboarding.

1. Is skiing or snowboarding easier for beginners?

Snowboarding

Snowboarding is harder to learn initially, for example, learning to turn and carve.

However, it’s much easier to master snowboarding long-term, than it is to master skiing.

Skiing

Skiing is much easier to learn initially, so you can get onto the slopes within a few hours.

However, skiing is much harder than snowboarding once you transition from a beginner, to intermediate and expert level.

2. Is it easier to progress to intermediate/expert level in skiing or snowboarding?

So, is skiing easier than snowboarding to improve long-term? The simple answer is no.

Whilst beginner skiers are likely to get onto the slopes quicker initially, you’ll find progressing to intermediate or expert level much more difficult on a skis, than on a snowboard.

Planning multiple trips? It will be frustrating for the first few days of your trip, but after that, skiing will be the easiest option for a beginner.

3. How important is core strength in skiing and snowboarding?

Core strength plays a big part in how easily you pick up both skiing and snowboarding. Given the expense of a ski trip, it’s advisable to work on some core exercises before you leave for your trip. Otherwise, you’re going to burn out half way through the day, or have to have a full rest day before you ski again.

Both skiing and snowboarding requires a reasonable degree of core strength and fitness. However, due to the locked position snowboard bindings have, you’ll find that leg muscles are put to the test more when snowboarding than when skiing.

4. Is skiing or snowboarding easier to pick up for those with skate/surf experience?

Have skateboard, wakeboard or surfboard experience? You’ve already mastered a lot of the fundamentals that a beginner snowboarder is going to need.

So, whilst the typical person is going to find snowboarding easier to learn initially, yet harder to progress, it’s likely you’ll find progression much easier than the average person.

5. What's your personal preference?

You’re hitting the slopes to have fun. Don’t get too caught up on whether skiing is harder than snowboarding, or vice versa.

The fact is, if you like the idea of snowboarding over skiing, go for snowboarding. Whilst typically you find beginner skiers learn faster than beginner snowboarders, that’s just a guide. Some people take to snowboarding better than most, and vice versa.

In summary

Although skiing is easier to learn initially, it’s harder to progress. So, we’d head straight for snowboard lessons.

Whether you pick skiing or snowboarding, you’re going to have a ball. Don’t get too caught up on which discipline you choose.

Instead, make sure you get a few lessons at a local dry slope. If needs be, you can try a 2 hour taster of BOTH and decide for yourself whether skiing or snowboarding is easier for you. Plus, that way, you won’t be wasting half your holiday falling on your backside whilst trying to learn the basics!

First time skiers and snowboarder FAQ

Still got questions? We’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions for beginner skiers and snowboarders.

Is snowboarding easier on the knees than skiing?

No. Skiing is easier on the knees than snowboarding. When snowboarding, you’ll be locked into your bindings, so a slight bobble could injure your knee.

Having two separate skis means you’ve got more leeway if you make a mistake, less likely to injure yourself, so skiing is easier on the knees than snowboarding.

Do ski resorts offer lessons?

Ski resorts offer lessons for beginner skiers and snowboarders. BUT, we’d always advise getting lessons before at your local slopes. If you don’t live an area with snow, then search “dry ski slopes near me” instead.

Should I rent or buy a snowboard or skis?

For a first time skier or snowboarder, it’s going to make economical sense to rent, rather than buy. If you plan to go once a year after that, it’s worth researching the kit, and investing in top quality brands. Check out our reviews of ski gear here, and snowboard gear here.

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