Skiing vs Snowboarding: Which is Harder?

Published by Harry Sowers on

Is Snowboarding Harder Than Skiing?

Skiing is the act of riding down a snowy hill using a pair of long flat runners called “skis,” it can, therefore, be categorized as a recreational activity, a mode of transportation or a sport. Snowboarding, on the other hand, involves the use of a snowboard to ride down the hill either as a recreational or a recreational sport.

Important facts on snowboarding and skiing 

skiier looking at snowboader

For starters learning how to snowboard is much harder than learning how to ski, but then again the mindset of the individual rider plays an important role, remember that if you get into any of these snow sport activities with a negative mindset then you are going to have to struggle to learn and master the various techniques, which will take way longer than it would have if you went with a conquering mindset. 

Ever heard of the adage that says your body can take anything, it’s your mind that you have to convince, well that greatly applies to skiing and snowboarding. You really do have to be your own cheerleader if you ever plan to glide down the snowy mountains. 

Differences between skiing and snowboarding 

Let’s begin with the fact that snowboarding tends to hold both legs captive so riders have to master the art of fully controlling their upper body movements in relation to the hips and legs for successful gliding. Skiing, on the other hand, gives riders full control of the skis on both legs, as they don’t fully depend on each other for balance and movement when compared to snowboarding.  

Apart from the differences in equipment used for skiing and snowboarding, the body and feet position between the two sports are significantly different. During skiing, the body and the feet both face straight ahead, and the rider will lean towards the front as they glide; with snowboarding, the riders face sideways and for stability and ease of gliding the feet have to be in line with the body, and perpendicular to the direction of movement. 

A rather concerning question between the respective sporting enthusiasts is whether skiing is harder than snowboarding. The bare facts are that learning skiing tends to be a lot easier for newbie’s more especially because it allows riders to move with both their legs and that is what makes snowboarding harder to learn because you have to use your entire body to successfully ride through the mountains. 

Skiing also puts a lot of pressure on the legs and thighs while snowboarding requires the riders to have more strength on their core because they use the upper part of their body to turn and balance. When riding the skis it tends to be easier to navigate the bumps and ice, while snowboards easily navigate on powder and crud. 

Why learning to ski is harder than learning to snowboard

You might be tempted to think that the varied snowboarding stances and angles help orient the new riders, which isn’t true, snowboarding restricts the legs and this is the biggest challenge that riders face when they are taking their first snowboarding lessons. When you are riding down the snow mountain with skis you can regain balance by simply moving one of your legs out. 

If you are snowboarding on the snow mountain and you panic, and lose balance there is only one way out and that is to fall, you can never escape that at least for the newbies. Beginner snowboarders also have another challenge that they will not be able to escape easily, and that is being able to see where they are going.

The stances while riding the snowboard are on the side, so you only get to see 50% of what is in front of you while gliding down the slopes. Skiing on the other hand is done on a straight forward stance, so the new skier on the tracks has full vision of where they are heading to and that is inclusive of the trees, stumps, and other people. 

Snowboarding gets easier than skiing  

Isn’t it interesting how with little effort things change, so once the above two snowboarding and skiing strategies have been mastered, tables turn and this time the snowboarders tend to have full control of the board when compared to skiing, read below as we discuss further. 

If you are using the ski keeping them apart or crossing them is a hurdle of its own, for the snowboarders, once they are psychologically over the restrictions on their feet, all they are left with is increasing their speed, balance, and finessing their turns. And the best thing about the next snowboarding step is that once you can move at a faster speed then turning becomes much easier because there is minimal contact between your snowboard and the snow, the above consequently limits resistance whenever you want to turn. 

And here is why skiing becomes harder than snowboarding, your legs while on the ski will have the freedom that cannot be achieved on the snowboard for the first time. However, with time you will have to master the art of moving both your legs in harmony and simultaneously, which is going to take longer. 

We must, however, agree that mastering the various skiing techniques, is a lot harder, such as the snow plough and the straight skis; but with progression and the riders consequently finding their way into the red and the blue runs, mastery of the various stunts turns to be challenging but rewarding when compared to snowboarding. 

Physical Fitness

As mentioned earlier skiing will put your legs and thighs to task, while snowboarding will have you master your core, so for you to successfully ride either the ski or the snowboard, physical fitness is not an option but a necessity. For the snowboarders, you could do exercises that target your lower back, and the abdominal muscles, such as pilates, crunches, and paddleboarding among others. 

For the skiers, you can do the leg strengthening exercises, such as cycling, squatting, lunges, planks, squat jumps among others. And the good thing about the ski exercises is that most of them can be done from home. 


Harry Sowers

Harry grew up outside of Denver Colorado and has been skiing and snowboarding since he was 3. He is most passionate about skiing and when he was in college at UC Boulder he even participated in the olympic trials for the USA Olympic Downhill Ski team.