Snowboarding VS Skiing for Beginners

If your new to winter sports, you might be wondering is it better to get into skiing or snowboarding.

There are always going to be people new to the sport and are thinking about getting into one but can't decide which one is best for them.


Ski shop

Neither of these sports are cheap.

Skis, boots, bindings, snowboard boots, snowboard, snowboard bindings. All of those things added up are going to roughly be even depending on what brands you go with.

Both sports require the same outerwear:  snow pants, coats, goggles, helmets, gloves, all of those things. Those are equal across the board as well.

Lift tickets and lessons are going to be equal across the board.

For the most part, entry price is going to be identical for either one of these two sports. So if you were hoping that one or the other was going to be much cheaper, that is just not the case.



Woman choosing ski boots

Arguably, snowboard boots will feel significant better and more natural than ski boots.

Snowboard boots are very similar to just regular snow boots that are just a little bit more rigid and give your ankle and lower leg a lot more support.

Ski boots, on the other hand, are hard shell boots. When you put them on for the first time, you're going to be shocked that anybody could wear this for longer than 20 minutes because they are not comfortable. They're weird, they're bulky, they're heavy, they're awkward to walk in.

Snowboard boots

If you're somebody who prioritizes comfort, then you're really going to want to go with the snowboard boots.

You can even drive to the resort in your snowboard boots because ski boots are so awkward. You're going to have to carry ski boots, skis and ski poles. Whenever you're walking anywhere with a snowboard. You just have to carry your snowboard because your snowboard boots are already going to be on and there's nothing else to worry about.

So walking around with all your ski gear is super awkward. It's one of my least favorite parts of skiing, and snowboarders have it so, so much better here.


Ski bindings

Bindings are a big difference in the two sports as well.

With skiing, you just step into your bindings. It takes a millisecond and you're ready to go.

With snowboarding, you have to manually strap them on by hand and every single run you are going to have to unstrap your boot at the bottom of the run, get on the lift, and then at the top of the run re strap your boot in and then you're going to be ready to go.

SNowboard bindings

Just keep in mind that you're going to have to be fidgeting with your snowboard bindings much more often than ski bindings.

One other note on ski bindings is they will pop off if you crash bad enough they have brakes built in, so they're not going to go flinging on the trail. But keep in mind, you might have to re-enter your ski bindings in the middle of the trail and that could be a little bit awkward. Snowboard bindings are never going to release.


Ski poles

Skiers will use poles, but snow boarders will not.

It's really not a big deal. Poles can help on flat ground. They can help with balance a little bit.

If poles are going to sway you one way or the other between these two sports, you're probably looking at this all wrong.

Learning how to ski vs snowboard

Learning to ski

This is something that is going to make or break a sport for you if you just cannot figure it out and you're having a miserable time through the first few days trying it, then you're probably never going to want to do that sport again.

Skiing is generally easier to pick up for pretty much anybody, especially people that have no board sport experience.

The exception that you may be able to learn snowboarding quicker than you could skiing is if you have spent your life doing board sports like skateboarding, surfing, wakeboarding, stuff like that.

Beginner skier

The advantage of skiing is you're in a much more natural riding position. There's not as much edge control needed in order to stop and slow down and do all of those things that you need to do. You can just "pizza" and "french fry" and not really worry about too much as a new skier.

With snowboarding, you have to learn your edge control. Otherwise you're going to be catching your front edge, which is going to throw you right to your face or your back edge, which is going to throw you right on your tailbone and whiplash your head.

It's going to be a lot of picking yourself back up off the ground, and that can be exhausting and extremely painful.

Learning to snowboard

With skiing, you generally don't fall as much. You're going to fall. It's going to happen, but not as much as you would on a snowboard.

Something else to keep in mind with a snowboard is you're going to have to learn how to push with one foot because you're going to be unstrapping that back foot often and you need to know how to push yourself around the resort on a flat ground with that one foot.

And keep in mind, when you unstrap that back foot at the bottom of the trail and get on the lift at the top of the lift, you're going to be getting off of the lift with one foot. That is a skill to learn in and of itself.

Group on ski lift

It's not an easy skill to learn. Lifts are harder, toe ropes are going to be harder on a snowboard.

In general, I would suggest if you're brand new to both sports, you have no board sport experience. Start with skiing. It's probably going to go much smoother for you.


Falling snowboarder

The toll on the body while snowboarding means you're going to be landing on your wrists a lot. You're going to be landing on your tailbone a lot.

You're going to be whiplash in your head into the snow a lot. It's going to require you to be in better shape because you are going to be sitting down and standing up every single run to strap in your bindings.

You're going to be pushing yourself up off the ground a lot more at first. So it's going to be more tiring. It's going to be more exhausting.

With skiing you have a lot more risk of twisting injuries with your knee.

But at the end of the day, they're action sports. They're not the safest things in the world.

Mastering skiing vs snowboarding

Snowboarder overhead shot

In general, snowboarding, while it might be harder to learn at first, is actually going to be quicker to master because the two main skills in snowboarding are going to be your toe side and heels side calves.

Once you learn those, there are other techniques that you can work on, but you don't really need much else in order to get down all of the trails on the mountain with skiing.


On the other hand, to carve properly, to do a hockey style stop, to get away from a very beginner friendly way of skiing (pizza/snow plow, etc) is a lot more technical, but its needed to be able to tackle the more difficult terrain.

Once you start getting better and better and better at the sport, snowboarding is going to be more fun on just a regular old average trail because there's much more creativity that you can do with a snowboard. You can entertain yourself on a snowboard on regular trails compared to skiing.

Which sport is more enjoyable when it's a powder day?


When you get a fresh couple inches of snow on the ground, it's a magical time, but which sport is going to enjoy this more?

Snowboarders think they have it better because it just feels like you're floating on top of the world and you're surfing.

Number two, you don't need a separate powder snowboard because it's much more easy to stay on top of the snow on a powder day, on a snowboard than it is with skis.

There are specific skis for fresh powder versus groomed snow. Generally you'll need to buy a much wider pair of skis to keep yourself up on top of that fresh snow.

Backcountry terrain

 backcountry ski

If the snow is groomed, then it's a toss up.

You're going to be able to tackle the most difficult terrain no matter what sport you choose. But if it is an groomed trail and it's bumped out, there's moguls everywhere, there's bumps everywhere, then skiing is the right choice because you can manage it much more easily and you can even learn how to ski moguls. Many snowboarders will unstrap and walk past the moguls.

Terrain park

Terrain park

If your goal is learn a sport and start hitting rails and jumps as fast as you possibly can, snowboarding is going to get you there quicker because of the fact that learning rails is so much simpler on a snowboard compared to skis.

With skis, you have to learn how to hit a rail sideways. You have to do a 90 degree rotation, land on the rail sideways and then slide down the rail and then once again do a 90 degree rotation.

Snowboarder on rail

When you pop off with a snowboard, you just have to point it right at the rail, hop up on top of the rail, go straight and you're good. Once you learn how to go down trails on a snowboard, you can probably learn how to 5050 that same day.

That being said, hitting a jump at first might be a little bit more easy on skis just because you're going forward. But as you get into more advanced tricks than riding, skiing just exponentially gets more difficult.