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Ready to Hit the Slopes? Find out If Skiing or Snowboarding Is Better for Beginners

Learning a new sport can be frustrating, and winter sports are no exception. Getting started on something new can be daunting at first. Especially if all of your friends are discussing their ski or snowboard vacations, but you’ve never tried skiing or snowboarding. 

You might have heard the expression “skiing is easier to learn, but harder to master” and “snowboarding is harder to learn, but easier to master”. Let’s break it down, so you can choose which winter sport is right for you. 

Skiing for Beginners: The Basics

winter sports
Image by Flo Maderebner

When learning to ski, you will face forwards with your legs separated, making it an intuitive sport to learn for beginners. You will have total peripheral vision, and you may use a leg to regain balance when learning the slopes at low speeds. Most people find it easy to pick up initially in the first day or two.

The snow plough turn (or pizza turn) is one of the first things you will learn, followed by straight skiing (where the skis are parallel), allowing you to tackle your first downhill slopes. Skiers will also find chair lifts at ski resorts easier to access, while snowboarders will have to unstrap their back foot to take the ride. Drag lifts, which pull you up the mountain, are also much easier for skiers to use.  

However, moving both legs together simultaneously is a technique that can take a while to master. Finding perfection as a skier can take years, and, as you advance, it can become quite technical. You will feel the burn in your legs and thighs as you learn.

Need some gear? Check out our guide to the best ski backpacks.

Snowboarding for Beginners: The Basics 

snowboarding
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On the other hand, snowboarders only have to worry about one piece of equipment—a board attached to the feet. Once you can conquer balance on the board at a sideways angle, you can start practicing turns, and this will be your focus for the first week or two. Anyone with experience facing sideways on a board, such as surfers or skateboarders, will be at an advantage when learning to snowboard. 

If a snowboarder can get used to the unique balance and turn techniques, moving onto speed and tricks will be the next step, as well as tackling steeper slopes. 

Snowboarding relies greatly on core strength to ensure balance and stability on the board. Both sports require a certain degree of physical fitness, as well as patience.

Where to Try Skiing and Snowboarding 

skiing
Image by Daniel Frank

There are amazing ski resorts for beginners all over the world. From Beaver Creek in Colorado to Big Sky Resort in Montana, the options in North America are excellent for all levels of ability. In Europe, resorts such as Grandvalira in Andorra and Les Arcs in France frequently top the lists of best beginner ski resorts. 

Discover Colorado’s top ski resorts. 

What Do You Need to Buy? 

Ski equipment
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If you are new to both sports, it’s a good idea to start with lessons at a ski resort. You will need to purchase or borrow the appropriate snow gear and what to wear skiing.

You can rent skis, snowboards, and appropriate footwear at ski resorts. Why not try out both sports and decide which one you prefer? 

Both sports can be tricky and take time to master, but all snow gliders across the globe will always argue that it’s well worth the effort. If it’s not for you, there’s always the après ski scene. 

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