So you’ve booked your ski holiday, now it’s time to tackle the big debate, to ski or to snowboard? If you ask either you are only going to get a biased response so as an enthusiast of both I have compiled a rundown of the pros and cons of both ‘Planks’ and ‘Trays’.
Let’s be honest, learning to snowboard is a long and bruising experience. You will spend more time on your rear than on your feet. Not many sports require you to have both feet strapped in so it is an unnatural feeling at first, travelling with your body at 90 degrees also takes a bit of getting used to.
Getting a grasp on the basic concepts of skiing is not too difficult, most people will pick it up quite quickly. With skiing you have the benefit of individual leg movement which feels more natural, you also travel in the same direction as your feet and have poles to help with balance.
After the basics:
Once you have the toe and heel turns under control, or even can comfortably leaf down the mountain you have the fundamental technique of boarding nailed. At this point the initial painful days are all worthwhile, once you have the fundamentals you can comfortably progress up the mountain, and as daunting as it may seem the turns get easier the faster you go (less resistance). Although the restriction of having your feet strapped in may have seemed like a hindrance at first, this quickly becomes an advantage and helps a lot with stability over the carved slopes.
Though typically skiing is easier (and less painful) to pick up, it is harder to hone and develop your skills. Although after your first day you will have the basics under your belt, you won’t be able to confidently (and safely) progress up the mountain until you can parallel turn, a pizza can only do so much. Although being able to independently move your legs has its advantages, some find it difficult to simultaneously move their legs and keep the skis from crossing.
Snowboard boots are soft making getting around the mountain comfortable, in combination with just one item to carry (board) getting around is quite effortless. Unfortunately, when it comes to the chairlifts, the snowboard is not the most well thought out idea. When the lifts you are required to remove your back foot, leaving you with only one-foot clipped in. This means to get on the lift you have to awkwardly shuffle/scoot forward with your unclipped foot as you don’t have the luxury of ski poles to help you out. Getting off the chairlift with only one foot clipped in for a beginner is a feat in itself and can take some time to master.
Walking around the slopes in ski boots is far from glamorous, the hard boots will see you awkwardly clumping around with your knees in a permanent forward bent position. In saying this, skiers have the last laugh when it comes to riding the lifts. Armed with poles to guide your way the chairlifts present no problem and you will breeze through the ques. With no need to unclip anything you can get off on the other side just as easily and transition smoothly straight into a run.
If after all of this neither appeals, there is always tobogganing!