Jaza's World Trip

Snowboarding: the good, the bad, the painful

After six years of skiing, and after one week of snowboarding, I can now say with confidence that I've experienced both of these alpine sports, and that I'm able to talk about them a bit and to compare them. So here's a few reflective points in favour of snowboarding, and a few more in favour of skiing. I'm not making any decisive call here on which one I think is the better — just spelling out my views on the advantages and the disadvantages of each. The verdict, I leave in your hands.

Some reasons why snowboarding is better than skiing:

  • You can go from beginner to semi-advanced within your first week
  • You can go down any run, no matter how difficult, in "chicken mode" (i.e. by "boardploughing")
  • Snowboard boots are about 6 x 1013 times more comfortable than ski boots
  • Stopping and sitting down on the snow (to relax, to enjoy the view, to massage your bruised a$$, etc) is easier and more natural on a board
  • Falling down isn't such a big deal: your board never comes off your feet, like skis do; and getting up is a bit easier on a board (once you get used to it)
  • It just feels way cooler

And some reasons why skiing is better than snowboarding:

  • After the first week, falling down is very rare
  • You can go down "catwalks" (narrow, slightly steep downhill paths) quite easily, by snowploughing now and then, and by using your poles to push yourself along the flat bits
  • There's always more to learn with skiing: every time you ski, you can still improve by leaps and bounds, and you can still learn more of the technical aspects
  • Going up (and getting off!) chairlifts and pommers is much easier on skis
  • Most skiers aspire to going down harder runs, not to doing crazy jumps and looking like hot stuff
  • Good skiers look sleek and graceful — these words simply don't fit as descriptions of anyone who snowboards
  • Skiers don't wreck the slopes by scraping away masses of snow with each stop
  • When you're skiing, you're always more-or-less looking down the hill and in front of you; when snowboarding, half the time you're facing backwards, and you have to twist your head around to see in front of you
  • Most skiers aren't dickheads (and most snowboarders are)
  • Learning to ski doesn't involve so much pain, whereas learning to board leaves you black and blue
Filed in: BarilocheSnowboardingReflectionSkiing