Snowboarding VS Skiing for Beginners: The Pros & Cons

When you hit the slopes for the very first time, the question on everyone’s mind is whether you should start snowboarding or skiing. You might want to know which is easier to learn as a beginner, which one might be more fun to learn, and which path might be the right path for you when it comes to winter sports.

Luckily, we have written this article to tell you a little bit more about each of the sports and help you find out which one you might want to try for yourself.

Before You Begin

It’s important to understand that winter sports are personal to you, and whichever way you choose to explore the mountains after reading this article, we promise you will have lots of fun either way!

Though for years there has been a classic rivalry between snowboarding and skiing, each sport is unique and both draw many passionate, committed people to them.

If you have the time, and the money to do so, why not explore both options! Though a lot of people pick a sport and tend to stick with it, there’s no harm in occasionally switching it up if that is a possibility for you.

Snowboarding VS Skiing for Beginners

However, if this is not the case and you only have a few days on the slopes, you’ll want to use your time wisely, and this might mean narrowing it down to your favorite sport and perfecting your technique on that one, whilst exploring the mountain in style.

With that being said, let’s jump into the article.

Which Sport Is More Expensive?

When it comes to the gear you need for either snowboarding or skiing, it is usually relatively similar in price, however, in some places, ski gear might be around 5-10% more expensive. Before now, there was a much bigger difference in the price.

Yet with so many affordable skis now being introduced to the market, the price should not be the determining factor of which sport you choose to explore the slopes.

You might save or spend up to $200 during a lifetime depending on which sport you choose, but this should not be a deciding factor.

If you want to rent gear, skiing gear is sometimes a little more expensive as you need to rent boots, binding, and poles. Whereas for boarding, you simply need the board, bindings, and boots.

Is One Sport More Dangerous?

Both sports are high-impact and with any high-impact sport, therefore carry a risk of injury. We, therefore, suggest you always wear a helmet to protect yourself.

Snowboards and skiers suffer different types of injuries throughout the season, but where you injure yourself will be dependent on the sport. Skiers are prone to leg injuries, whilst snowboarders might injure their tailbone, wrist, or any other upper body part.

Snowboarding requires a greater level of overall fitness and a better range of motion at a beginner level. This means if you are older or not as fit as you once were, it might be better to stick to skiing.

This also applies if you are overweight or have difficulty standing. In this case, however, both sports might be difficult, but skiing will be a lot easier.

Which Sport Is More Fun?

Since a lot of people base their decisions on how much fun they are going to get out of an activity, before we get onto the technical pros and cons, you might be wondering if one sport is more fun than the other.

Although both sports can be incredibly fun, since skiing is slightly easier to learn in the beginning, people often label it as the sport that is more fun. Snowboarding can be just as fun, but this usually comes when you have learned to edge control, and it all starts fitting together.

You will have ups and downs and it can be amazing when you have perfected your technique, but in the long run, you can have just as much fun with each sport so we recommend you pick the sport based on the other factors mentioned in this article.


When it comes to which sport is easier, to put it simply, skiing is easier when it first comes to learning the sport. However, it is much harder to progress. Snowboarding on the other hand is harder to learn, but once you have mastered the basics, progression is a lot faster.

When you learn to ski, the initial learning curve is fast and hard-hitting. This is because like learning to walk when you were a baby, it involves independent leg movements.

Many might agree, however, that initially, it is easier to pick up skiing than it is to snowboard as a lot of the time, you will be on your feet and on your way down the smallest of slopes a lot faster than if you were on a snowboard. The reason for this is that for beginners, skiing is intuitive.

When you ski, your legs are apart and you move each leg independently. This means you can balance faster and stay up off the snow at slower speeds.

Skiers face forward and their legs remain parallel in a straight-on stance. Many beginners feel this stance is more natural and therefore, it becomes a lot easier to master.

Skiing Timeline

Though you might be convinced that skiing is easier to learn, you might be wondering how long it will take you to learn. Well, unfortunately, there is not a broad time frame for learning this skill.

Instead, it will depend on prior experience with other sports that involve balance, fitness levels, confidence, and agility. Though there is no set time frame, however, below is a rough guide on what the expectations are on your first skiing trip.

Day One

A reason skiing is so popular, especially with holidaymakers is because you should be up and on your feet within day one of learning to ski.

You should however expect to fall over plenty of times when you are learning how to stop using pizza and starting to learn the process of wedged turning. You will also learn at this stage how to use ski lifts.

Days Two-Four

After you have stood on your feet and got a feel for the skis, you will be able to start working on your beginner turns.

You will then need to get to grips with how your body and weight will affect your skis and this should help you to fall over less.

Days Five-Ten

Between the days of five and ten, you should be getting more fluid and confident in your turns and be working towards the elusive parallel turns.

You should also expect to be good at getting on and off lifts but you might still trip over your skis every so often or lose balance.

You should become good at turning, but you might find that one ski never gets into line quick enough.

Days Ten-Twenty

Between these days, you should be able to parallel ski and hocket stop. This means no more pizza. You should no longer be scared of faster skiers than you and you should be able to comfortably turn at higher speeds.

Days Twenty+

After at least twenty days on the slopes, you should be working on might tighter parallel turns and more intermediate skills.

You might have come this far and you should be proud of your achievements, but bear in mind, there is still so much more to learn. Embrace this and keep improving those skills over the next few days, months, or even years!

Learn skiing

Skiing Pros and Cons

As with every sport, skiing comes with a list of pros and cons and the next section is going to go through a few of these commonly noted by experienced skiers.


  • Easier to learn the basics
  • Beginners spend more time on their feet
  • There is a lot more visibility of the mountain when you are facing downhill
  • Balance is usually learned in other sports that are similar and can transfer more easily
  • The straight-on stance feels a lot more natural to beginners
  • It’s easier to get on and off lifts
  • There is no need to sit down when you are removing your skis
  • You might feel more in control and have better balance than snowboarding



Snowboarding was discovered in 1965. Despite being such a late arrival to the winter sports world, it’s now almost as popular as skiing, hence the rivalry between the two sports.

Snowboarding is centered around your toe and heel edges and this can be hard to get to grips with, especially for beginners. Most people think learning to snowboard takes longer than skiing as it is so hard to get to grips with and takes a lot of practice and patience.

When you snowboard, you are attached to only one board, which is known as a monoski, with both legs. It’s slightly more restrictive this way but snowboarders might tell you this way, they are more connected to the snow.

Newer snowboarders have a much harder time staying on their feet than new skiers, and you might spend a lot of your first day on your bum!

In general, you might find yourself falling over a lot more if you choose snowboarding over skiing as a beginner. Balancing on the board, getting the feel of the board, stopping, and learning the skill takes days and days of practice and you can expect a fairly slow progression.

Once you have got the basics down, however, you should have a more advanced edge control and skills can be acquired much faster than with skiing. Unlike skiing, you use your whole body to move the board and this means the sport requires a lot more movement.

Snowboarding Timeline

Learning to snowboard takes a lot more time and patience, and you cannot master the basics as quickly as the skiing timeline above.

Learning each different style of turn: both the backside and frontside which is either edging with your heels or edging with your toes, to make your way down the slopes is going to take you a lot longer.

However, you should be able to be on your feet and turn down a baby slope in just a day or two.

To carve your way down the piste takes longer than this, especially if you want to do so with confidence. This could take you around 2 weeks, plus the rest of the season to practice.

Snowboarding Pros and Cons

As with skiing, the following pros and cons may help you decide which winter sport you might want to pick up to explore the mountains.


  • Once you have mastered the basics, it’s a lot easier to progress than skiing
  • It’s a lot easier to go off-piste, or backcountry on a beginner board
  • Boarding on powder, according to Martin Bell, is ‘one of the greatest sensations known to humankind’
  • Snowboard boots are easier to walk in
  • You don’t have to hold on to any ski poles
  • Snowboard boots are known for being comfortable
  • You only have one board to carry with you, making it a lot easier to navigate through the ski resort
  • Your ski buddies can help to pull you along the flat
  • You are less likely to suffer from leg injuries
  • It is easier to stop as a beginner, just fail backward


  • It can take you longer to learn the basics
  • You will spend a lot of time falling over when you are learning to board
  • You will not be able to stand on your board straight away
  • It is harder to move on the flat without using poles and you have to instead unbind one foot and use it to propel you
  • You will need more determination and grit to learn how to snowboard
  • Upper body and tailbone injuries are more common
  • It can be harder to make sharper turns when you are first starting as a snowboarder until you learn to carve
  • You might find you are always strapping in or out of your boots when getting on and off ski lifts

Learn snowboarding

Are There Factors that Impact Your Learning Curve?


You can start skiing or snowboarding at any age, however, the younger you are, the faster you usually tend to pick up skills.

Strength And Fitness

Both skiing and snowboarding require you to have good core strength and stability. The less your poses, the longer it will take you to get up and on your feet.

Attitude To Risk And Fear Of Falling

If you are timider, or scared at trying new things, it will take you longer to progress. You will need determination and bravery at the start of your learning and you need to commit to just ‘going for it’ and heading downhill. If you are holding back, it is more likely that you will fall over.

Balance And Stability

If you have a history of taking part in other sports that train your reflexes and balance, like juggling, slackline, or rollerblading, then you should be able to react a lot more quickly to the movement of your skis or your board

Clothing and Gear

The jackets and trousers people often wear whilst snowboarding usually have a baggier fit than other skiing clothes. This is influenced by skateboarding and surf culture and a lot of boarders prefer the extra space and the feel of a looser fit over jumps and whilst doing tricks. Boarders also like to wear mittens rather than normal gloves as these provide greater warmth in colder climates.

Skiwear is tighter but aerodynamic and underneath their coats, you often find skiers wearing braces and much more form-fitting clothing.

Despite the difference in fit, however, you can wear the gear for both sports interchangeably and if you are a beginner, you do not need to buy two different sets of kit for each sport.

So, Skiing Or Snowboarding?

Since we have gone through how fun the sports are, the expenses, the dangers, and most importantly, the pros and cons, it’s time to make your mind up as to which one you might choose to try out next season as a beginner to the winter sports world.

We suggest you forget about how long it takes to learn a sport, as if it is something you want to do, the initial struggle will be worth it in the long run.

Both sports are highly demanding and take a lot of time and patience to get right, which means sometimes neither of these sports could be right for you. To a friend, snowboarding can seem as natural as walking, yet to you, it could feel impossible and this is completely normal.

When picking, you might find yourself naturally gravitating toward a certain sport and we suggest always going with this decision. However, if you are going on a particularly long trip, why not give both sports a try and see which one you like best?

Final Thoughts

We hope by reading this article you have learned a little more about skiing and snowboarding, and we have helped you decide on which sport might be your best choice.

We hope you consider each sport by weighing out the pros and cons and if you have time, even try both sports out! Just remember, when trying them, give it your all and don’t hold back.

We also recommend getting professional tuition to make the most out of your time on the slopes and get you off to a flying start!

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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