Aside from New England’s charming, quaint towns with seventeenth-century colonial architecture, delicious pure maple syrup, and iconic New England images such as lobster and moose, there are also the long, harsh, bitterly cold winters.
If you’re familiar with anything like a Nor’easter, you can sympathize with what it’s like to get sucker-punched by snow. But, just like the old saying goes, when life gives you snow, hit the slopes!
If you don’t ski or snowboard, you may want to consider one of these two popular winter sports. Whether you’re from New England or any state with heavy snow, you should think about getting comfortable with a winter sport or two to ward off cabin fever. If not, you’re in for the long-haul of Netflix, nachos, and naps. Winter hibernation may sound good until you step on the scale next spring. Hello, same ol’ New Year’s resolution!
I know what you’re thinking, “How do I choose which winter sport is right for me? Skiing or snowboarding?” Now you seriously can’t go wrong; after being cooped up for the majority of 2020, you’ll find that this outdoor sport is a breath of fresh air, literally! So get ready to hit the slopes. But first, let’s figure out whether skiing or snowboarding is the right choice for you!
Is Skiing Or Snowboarding Easier?
Snowsports are exciting. Whether you choose skiing or snowboarding, both are incredibly exhilarating, offering a rush that most other sports can’t. Both skiing and snowboarding require a level of immense concertation, which elevate your mood, help your body feel more relaxed, and encourage you to overcome fears of the slope. Yet, for those who haven’t spent too much time around boarders and skiers, there is a common saying; “Skiing is easy to learn, but harder to master.” While snowboarders claim that, “snowboarding is harder to learn but easier to master.”
For those wondering, these sayings are indeed very much true. If you’re hoping to experience some downhill speed sooner rather than later, then skiing may be for you. It won’t take much time to become a competent beginner. Novice skiers will undoubtedly advance from the bunny slope to easier downhill slopes in no time, where they may spend years practicing their ski technique in a variety of conditions.
Unlike snowboarding, a skier will have their legs remain separated on two skis. For some, this can feel less restrictive than having your feet attached to one board, plus it offers complete peripheral vision. Skiing is tackled with a straightforward, straight-on stance. Skiers can glide down the slope and stop smoothly by moving their skis into a pie or pizza position (snowplough position). Skill is built by learning how to simultaneously move both legs on the skis. Keeping symmetry and harmony takes a tremendous amount of time and devotion to the sport.
Skiiers will also find that it’s much easier to hitch a ride on a ski lift. With skis, you’ll never have to worry about unclicking your bindings every time you use the chairlift. All you’ll need to do is face forward and put your ski poles to the side. From there, sit back and enjoy the ride until you have to dismount.
Finally, skiing gear differs slightly from snowboarding gear. Aside from the apparent difference in boards, skiers wear ski boots that clip into bindings that are notoriously heavy and cumbersome. One walk across the ski lodge to warm up next to the fire, and you’ll feel like a robot. Skiers will also manage two ski poles, which aid in balance and rhythm on the slopes. Poles are also an excellent tool for when you’re going to and from around the ski resort. But, for beginners, the extra gear can seem awkward to carry coupled with the robotic-like walk, which can lead to an embarrassing skiing faux-pas.
Overcoming the anxiety of having both feet strapped onto one board can be difficult. Yet, with time and practice, beginner snowboarders will have this down-pat in no time.
Unlike skiing, those new to snowboarding shouldn’t expect to graduate off of the bunny slope any time soon. Basic skills on the snowboard, such as learning how to balance, turn, glide downhill, and face sideways rather than straight on as you would with skis, will often be achieved within two weeks or less, depending on how much time is devoted to learning.
Beginners can expect many painful falls and body soreness. With multiple falls, boarders have a natural instinct to fall directly on their hands to catch their fall, resulting in a broken wrist. It’s highly recommended for this reason that wrist guards are worn at all times, especially by those learning to snowboard.
Although getting started with snowboarding can take significantly longer, mastering advanced techniques can be achieved sooner rather than later, which often makes snowboarding slightly more desirable. Snowboarding may be for you if you’re looking to get to that more enjoyable “fun stage” of independence a little quicker, whereas those impressive skills can take years on skis.
Finally, snowboarders will also find themselves feeling more comfortable on the slopes with less cumbersome gear. Unlike skiers, boarders have comfortable boots and only have to worry about their board. But, with the notable difference in comfort comes a worrying tradeoff, the dreaded getting on and off the ski lift, which may be enough to give some first-timers a mini-anxiety attack.
Skiers have it easy in the chairlift department. They graciously glide on over and only have the exiting of the lift to worry about if they’re new to skiing. On the other hand, a snowboarder must unclick their rear boot from its binding and skate their way into the line. Exiting a lift gracefully without a fall is slightly more complicated with one foot secured to a board. But, it’s all part of the fun—everyone was a newbie once and took a tumble or two.
Final Thoughts: To Ski or to Snowboard?
So which is better, snowboarding or skiing? It’s a personal preference. Both winter sports are incredibly rewarding, fun, and great ways to get outdoors and spend time with family and friends. But, to enjoy either skiing or snowboarding to its fullest, be sure that you’re physically fit and you follow a healthy balanced diet. Stay active with home workouts so your body is physically prepped for either a skiing or snowboarding trip.
If you’re wondering, “How fit do I need to be to ski or snowboard?” The answer is quite simple. Skiing and snowboarding require a great deal of endurance, balance, and flexibility—which demand both upper and lower body strength. Those who are not physically fit will find themselves severely exhausted and leave the slopes early.
Please acknowledge that although snowboarding may not be considered the most challenging sport, it will take someone with perseverance to continue. The first few days on the mountain will be the hardest with the most body aches. But, those sick days of shreddin’ the slopes are just around the corner!
If you’re the impatient type and not up to looking forward to falling on your arse all day, perhaps skiing is more for you. Don’t expect to be fall-proof with skis; it’s just more of a promise that your bottom won’t be as soaked, and you’ll be waving bye-bye to those bunny slopes sooner.