Differences between skiing and snowboarding

February 27, 2024
To ski or to snowboard? That is the biggest question for most people who are about to embark on their first wintersports holiday. Obviously, snowboarders will tell you snowboarding is better, while skiers will tell you skiing is. In this article, we will try to explain the main differences in an honest and objective way, so you can make an informed decision between sliding forward or sideways.

What are the main differences between skiing and snowboarding?

Skiing and snowboarding are two ways to slide down a snowy mountain. The biggest difference is that snowboarders ride sideways using a board, while skiers go forward with two skis on their feet. In addition to that, skiers usually use ski poles to manoeuvre down the mountain.

Which one is easier to learn skiing or snowboarding?

This is quite a tricky question, because there is no consensus among experts as of yet. However, it’s often said that skiing is easier to learn, but harder to master. The reason for this is that on skis, you face forwards and can move both legs independently. Thanks to the poles in your hand, it’s not hard to keep your balance while standing still or at lower speeds. Especially if you have some experience with ice skating or rollerblading, skiing can feel quite natural.

Snowboarding, on the other hand, might be a struggle at first. With both feet strapped onto one board and trying to ride sideways, it’s harder to balance and maneuver. As a result, you will spend a fair amount of time falling and sitting on your knees and behind when you just start. But once you have survived those first one or two days, it’s often easier to progress. After one week, you’re often able to turn in both directions, and with a bit of luck, you can even perform some basic tricks.

“IF YOU ARE ON TOP OF THE MOUNTAINS YOU CAN FORGET THE DAILY BUSINESS AND JUST LIVE IN THE MOMENT.” - YANNECK KONDA

Which one is faster: Skiing or Snowboarding?

In general, there are only small differences between skiing and snowboarding in terms of speed. Trained skiers and snowboarders you will see around the resort will reach similar speeds. The speed someone can reach depends more on a rider's comfort level, skill, and preferences than on the choice between a pair of skis or a snowboard.

When you look at world records however, skiing is the fastest of the two.

  • The world speed record for skiing is 255 km per hour by Simon Billy in 2023
  • while the speed record in snowboarding is ‘only’ 203 km/h. by Edmond Plawczyk in 2015

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Differences in style between skiing and snowboarding

Skiing is often seen as more elegant and graceful than snowboarding. This is largely due to the upright stance and parallel movements. Snowboarding, on the other hand, has a more loose and nonchalant style – a sort of swagger. Advanced riders are often able to express themselves in a creative way. This is especially true for freestyle snowboarders.

Is there a difference in equipment for skiing & snowboarding?

Of course, there is a difference in equipment between skiing and snowboarding. To begin with, for snowboarding you need a snowboard with bindings, and specific snowboard boots. These boots are often softer and more comfortable than ski boots. That is why they are called soft boots. For skiing, you need a pair of skis with bindings, and ski boots. In terms of clothing, you need the same equipment. We advise a water and wind resistant snow jacket and pants, plus insulating and moist-wicking layers underneath to keep you warm and dry.

Have Fun!

Snowboarding and skiing are both great sports that we deeply love. The question whether skiing or snowboarding is better, is impossible to answer, just like the question which sport is more fun. Consider what you find most important, and if you can’t decide, just try them both!

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