Skiing Vs. Snowboarding - Which One Best for You?

Updated on October 11, 2016

When winter hits, most people tend to take to the warmth and comfort of the indoors, forgoing all outdoor activity that they might otherwise enjoy. For those who are physically active, this can feel like torture, not being able to get outside every day doing what they love to do. There are plenty of winter activities available for those types of people - the ones who want to stay fit and active no matter what the weather. Skiing and snowboarding are two of the most popular sports, allowing you to fly down a steep mountain hill at high speeds with the cool, crisp air in your face. While the terrain is the same, the two sports are quite different.

Body Strength
Both skiing and snowboarding require and develop different types of physical strength. Skiing requires more strength in your legs. Therefore, skiing is often recommended to those who bike during warmer months, as the necessary strength is already there. Or, if you know you want to try skiing in the winter, you can always build up the muscles in your legs by riding in the warmer months leading up to the winter season.

Snowboarding, on the other hand, uses more core body strength. If you want to prepare for this particular sport, crunches and Pilates can help you prepare.

Safety First
No matter which sport you ultimately choose, the proper safety equipment should be worn. At the very least, put on a snow helmet. Snowboard helmets are specifically designed to protect your skull and brain in the event of a catastrophic fall. The developed MIPS (multi-directional impact protection system) helmet can help protect your brain from serious injury.

Another item you shouldn't head off without is ski glasses or snowboard goggles. It is important to pick snow goggles to enhance your vision, protecting your eyes from sunlight and glare from the snow, which could otherwise obscure your sight. The right goggles also keep snow and other random flying debris from getting into your eyes, which can lead to a serious injury.

Other safety gear you should consider:

  • Chest and back armor. When you hear the word armor, you probably get the mental image of the medieval suit of armor. While it may be an interesting thought, seeing a suit of armor flying down the mountain slopes, ski and snowboard armor is quite different. It is lightweight and flexible, providing you both protection and complete freedom of movement.
  • Elbow and shin guards to protect areas that often get banged up during a fall.
  • Gloves. Gloves serve a couple of purposes. First, they keep your hands from getting scraped up if you take a tumble. They also keep your hands dry and warm, allowing you to stay out all day enjoying the fresh mountain air.

There are also a whole host of high-tech ski gadgets to provide you with some extra safety. Heated gloves can keep your hands and fingers warm on especially cold runs. Clothes such as the Forcefield Pro Shirt X-V provide you with padding that is created using bike technology. This padding is also removable. Or, you can get a pair of Bluetooth goggles.

Initial Learning
When it comes to initially learning skiing or snowboarding, skiing is often easier to pick up. Your legs are separated, like they are naturally when you walk or run. If you lose your balance, you can easily stick out one leg or the other to help regain it. The other advantage that makes skiing easier to learn is that you are facing forward the entire run.

Snowboarding, on the other hand, is a little bit more difficult to grasp initially. Your feet are strapped into a single board, so if you lose your balance, you can't move your feet as you might otherwise instinctively do to regain it. This often leads to a lot more falls, bangs and bruises. For this reason, snowboarding is usually recommended for the younger crowd, who can recover much more quickly.

Time to Master
Once you get the basics down, skiing becomes the more difficult sport to master. Skiing is more technical than snowboarding. Having two skis, which was once the advantage when learning, becomes a detriment. You need to have both skis work in sync, which can actually be rather tough, as you really need to think about what you're doing.

Snowboarding is the easier of the two sports to master once you get the basics down. Progress is quick. You don't have to worry the whole time about keeping two separate skis apart as you descend down the hill. The only things you have left to work on, unless you want to learn tricks, is balance and speed.

Skiing and snowboarding are two sports that get you outside in the fresh air even though the air is cold. If you're looking for something to keep you active when winter hits, consider giving one of them a try.


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