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Ski vs Snowboard: The Ultimate Slopes Battle

If there is one battle on the slopes that we all have an opinion on it is the fight between skiing and snowboarding. So, which one of these sports is the best?

Ask a few people out on the Alps right now which they prefer and you can expect to hear some strong opinions on both sides of the great divide. So which of these styles is the best and most enjoyable ways of getting down to the bottom of the slopes in style?

To find out, we asked keen skier Matt and snowboarding enthusiast Mike about the pros and cons of their favourite sports.

How Thrilling Is It?

For many of us, the first thing to think about is how thrilling each of these sports is. Our two experts have some differing opinions on this, as you would expect.

Matt – Skiing is always going to beat snowboarding in terms of pure speed. If you ever want to prove to a snowboarding friend that skiing is the best then just challenge them to a race. If you are both of roughly equal ability then you should win every single time.

For me, there is simply nothing more exhilarating than putting on my skis and racing down the snowy slopes. The world record for skiing is 252 km/h (157 mph), which is astonishingly fast. In contrast, the snowboarding record is 203 km/h (126 mph). This is still pretty fast, of course, but skiing wins in this aspect in my opinion.

Mike – I think that some people are surprised to find out that skiing is faster than snowboarding, as they instinctively feel that snowboarding offers more of an adrenalin rush. At the end of the day, the difference between these two great sports doesn’t come down to pure speed, though. Snowboarding simply feels more like living life on the edge and having an incredible time on the snow.

Just look at the expression on any snowboarder’s face and you will see how much fun they are having. There isn’t any sport in the world that can touch it, as far as I am concerned. Sure, some skiers might pass you on the way down but that doesn’t mean that they are having a more thrilling day than you are.

How Easy Is It to Get Started?


Getting started on either of these sports might sound like a bit of a hassle. Do our experts think that their chosen sport has an advantage in this respect?

Matt – A lot of people feel quite nervous about getting out on a pair of skis for the first time. This is no surprise, as we have already seen that this sport involves high speed action. However, as long as you get got advice from an expert trainer there is no chance of you hurtling down the slopes out of control in the way you might fear.

You can start off on a gentle slope and with the easy starter’s technique that leaves you completely in control from the start. As for the equipment, you can hire it at any good ski resort until you are hooked enough to buy your own. Even a whole family of novices can get going in no time and be pretty good by the time their trip ends.

Mike – It is clear that becoming a skilled snowboarder is hard work. In fact, I would suggest that a top snowboarder needs to master more skills than a skier of a similar level does. However, it is probably easier to get started on the basics than it is with skiing. Even if you fall over a few times you just need to pick yourself up and get back on the board.

A lot of skiers try their hand at snowboarding and find that they can get going really easily, while complete novices will obviously take a bit longer to get confident and to find their balance. There are tons of amazing snowboarding slopes of different levels of difficulty to try in the Alps. The fact that there is less equipment needed to get going is another advantage it has over skiing.

Since snowboarding is not as easy as skiing is ... you could check the following video.

How Much Exercise Is It?

Skiing and snowboarding are both seen as terrific ways of getting some exercise while on a fun trip. Is one of them more effective at getting you in shape than the other, though?

Matt - I know that it is common for people to take up skiing as a way of keeping fit. It is certainly just about the most entertaining and enjoyable way of losing a few pounds than I can think of. The big advantage that skiing has here is that the use of the poles means that you work your entire body while doing it.

Normal downhill skiing will see you burn up between 400 and 500 calories per hour, which is fantastic. It can really help give you firm legs and a tight stomach, as well as losing weight. The only possible downside I can see is that the best resorts offer such tempting food and drink that you might end up eating more calories than normal while there.

Mike – The truth is that you are unlikely to do any exercise that is more thrilling than snowboarding. The amount of calories you burn through will be similar to those used by a skier, while it also depends upon how hard you go at it.

The lack of poles in snowboarding means that you need to work harder to maintain your balance using your own strength. I reckon this makes it a better muscle builder than skiing. The fact that you can’t go along flat stretches using your poles also means that you need to work harder at certain points.

Any Negative Sides?


It is clear that Matt and Mike love their respective hobbies, but is there anything negative about them that they can say?

Matt – I honestly can’t see any reason not to give skiing a try. It is amazing fun and it is pretty easy to get started with. Anyone of any age can try it too. The only people I would advise to try snowboarding instead are those with some sort of knee problem. For everyone else, skiing is a massively addictive sport that they will soon fall in love with.

Mike – There are few negative points about snowboarding that I can think about. Perhaps there is still a perception that you need to really cool to do it or that you might make a fool of yourself out on the slopes at first. However, you will see that all sorts of people try sport and that the other snowboarders will make you feel at home right away.

Speaking of negatives... you might want to check this Infographic about how dangerous each is!

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