Are Skiers Faster Than Snowboarders?

Are Skiers Faster Than Snowboarders

The argument of who is faster, skiers or snowboarders, is a very common question that comes up time and time again. 

While there are many variables involved, such as the condition of the snow, and equipment, skiers are faster than snowboarders. The fastest speed that has been recorded from a skier is 250 kph, whereas the highest speed from snowboarders comes at 200 kph.

However, to understand the variables that make up this argument, we must understand how biomechanics work. A biomechanical system is an object or organism that moves based on the laws of physics and biology. 

In this case, we’re talking about the human body and its various parts. To understand how to define speed and how certain elements control it, we must first understand biomechanics.

Personality On The Slopes

The style, size, and fitness of the person skiing or snowboarding will also play a vital role in the biometrics of this argument. Snowboarding and skiing are both extreme sports that require physical strength, endurance, and agility. 

Smaller riders are usually faster than larger riders because smaller riders have less weight to carry around and need less energy to move.

Strong riders are often faster than weaker riders because stronger riders can push harder and longer before tiring out. Biomechanics are important as they determine how fast you will go on the slopes. If your legs are in good shape, then you will be able to move more quickly. 

However, if you are not strong enough to lift your own bodyweight, then you will not be able to move as fast. This is why some people find themselves struggling when trying to ski down hills with heavy packs and bulky clothing.

Biomechanics also play a role in determining how much power you use while riding. Power is defined as the rate at which work is done by a force. For example, if I were pushing a car across the ground, then my power would be equal to the amount of work that I am doing (force x distance).

When you ride downhill, you apply pressure against the slope through your feet and legs. Your legs do most of the work, but your upper body plays a part too. Because of this, your upper body needs to be strong enough to support your lower body. 

If you don’t have a strong enough upper body, then you won’t be able to exert enough power to get down the hill as quickly as someone with a better upper body.


Skis and snowboards come equipped with different features that help them perform well. For example, skis are designed to glide over the surface of the snow, whereas snowboards are designed to jump and spin. These differences affect how each piece of equipment performs.

Skis are made for gliding over the snow, so they are lighter and easier to turn. They also tend to be narrower and longer than snowboards, meaning there is more surface area to ski on.

If there is more surface area, then the weight of the person skiing is more evenly distributed, which leads to a higher speed. 

Snowboards are designed to perform tricks and jumps, so they are heavier and wider than skis. They also tend to have a higher center of gravity. This makes them more difficult to control, especially when turning.

Another important factor in snowboarding is that the rider is only balancing on one surface, meaning all their weight is on one single board. With skiing, the rider has two skis, meaning their weight is divided, which makes them go faster. 

Another equipment advantage that skiers have over snowboarders is their sticks. Occasionally a mountain slope will even out, but because skiers have sticks they are able to push themselves along, allowing them to regain their speed. 

If a snowboarder doesn’t have enough speed before reaching this point, they are likely to get stuck and lose speed altogether. 


Positioning is also very important at acknowledging who has the ability to go faster. When it comes to wind resistance, skiers are able to compress themselves into a small position to make them less resistant to the wind, which slows them down. 

They can move their feet and skis so they are closer together, and bend at the knees, allowing themselves to maintain as small a position as possible.

Boarders’ legs are farther apart, and they can’t adjust them as they are strapped into this position on their boards. While they can bend their knees, they still aren’t able to go into a contracted position like skiers do, so evidently, they win this argument!

Which Is Faster For Beginners?

Which Is Faster For Beginners

Snowboarders have to really concentrate on their center of mass, as it shifts between their edges. Skiers have it much easier, as they have two skis, so it is easier to balance. These can result in more speed in skiers as it affects confidence levels. 

If a skier is confident with their balance, they are likely to go faster than snowboarders as they are not having to worry about their center of mass. 

Which Is Faster For Intermediates & Advanced?

Even as you progress in both sports, snowboarders are still likely to go slower. Even if you had a snowboarder and skier at the same level of experience, on the exact same slope, the boarder is always going to experience more drag, as mentioned earlier when it comes to wind.

However, there are also several other factors that add to this point. Human bodies will move better when they are in a forward motion, rather than laterally (try power walking sideways!).

Also, when it comes to turns, the symmetry of a skier’s body will remain the same on right and left turns, allowing them to keep their speed. Snowboarders have a lot of asymmetry going on between turns, which results in them slowing down. 

As mentioned earlier, the skier’s front-facing position also allows them to crouch into a smaller position that snowboarders cannot reach, resulting in less drag that slows them down. 

Final Thoughts 

When comparing the speed between skiers and snowboarders, skiers are faster. Their positioning and equipment give them the upper hand when it comes to speed, but both forms of sport are fast anyway. 

The important thing is not who is the fastest, but who is having the most fun on the slopes. When you are enjoying the sport to the fullest, it does not matter who is the fastest.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Difference Between Skiing And Snowboarding?

Skiing and snowboarding are two different activities performed by people wearing special boots called “skins. The skins are attached to the bottom of the boot and allow the person to slide across the snow or ice without sinking too deeply.

The main differences between these two sports are:

  • Skiing uses poles, while snowboarding does not.
  • Skiers have a front-facing position, while snowboarders face sideways. 

How Long Does It Take To Learn How To Ski Or Snowboard?

This will depend on your skill level and how often you practice. If you are a frequent ski/snowboarder, you can pick up the skills pretty quickly. 

How Many Hours Per Week Should I Practice To Be Good Enough To Compete In Competitions?

This varies depending on what competition you’re participating in. For example, an Olympic event might require 3 hours of training per day, whereas a local race may only need 2 hours per week.

In general, though, you want to spend at least 6 months practicing before competing in any major events.

Is It Possible To Get Injured When Learning To Ski Or Snowboard?

Yes, injuries are common among newbies. It takes time to build up muscle memory and coordination, and beginners often fall over themselves trying to do things like a kickflip. 

When you first start out, you may experience a few sprains and injuries, but eventually you’ll get used to falling and picking yourself back up again.

If you’ve never tried skiing/snowboarding before, don’t expect to become a pro overnight. You’ll make mistakes, and sometimes you won’t even know why you made those mistakes until a few days later.

Can I Use My Own Equipment When Learning To Ski Or Snowboard?

Yes. Although some schools teach students to use the rented equipment, it’s perfectly fine to bring your own equipment with you. 

Just remember that rental equipment has been pre-tuned for experts, so you might find that you need to adjust your settings to compensate for your lack of experience.

What Are The Most Common Injuries When Skiing And Snowboarding? 

The most common injuries snowboarders and skiers experience tend to be sprains and fractures. These can be a result of a bad fall, or excessive strain on the body.

Skiers can also have wrist sprains from using their sticks too vigorously when going down a slope. 

Is Skiing Or Snowboarding Harder On Your Body?

Both skiing and snowboarding are strenuous activities that carry the likelihood of causing your injury. It is highly recommended you wear helmets and the appropriate clothing to prevent serious injury.

About the author

Jesse Blaine

Jesse is the owner of, contributes to a lot of the material, and directs day-to-day operations. He lives in Colorado with his wife and kids and loves the outdoors. He’s an avid skier, hiker, kiteboarder, and adventure sports explorer. Jesse has also traveled the world and lived in five different countries. He speaks several languages and loves communicating with people

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