It’s a question that everyone asks themselves at some point – should I ski or should I board? Which is harder?

You might be completely new and trying to decide how to approach your first try on the slopes. Or you could be a seasoned veteran of one and are considering making a change to try out the other. Either way, the key question will be – when it comes to skiing vs. snowboarding – which one are you most likely to enjoy.

Skiing

Starting out on skis

The accepted wisdom is that skiing tends to be easier for beginners. There are two very good reasons for this.

The first is that it’s more intuitive as a sport because you can move both legs independently, which helps considerably with balance.

The second is that skiers face forward – a position most humans are much more comfortable with – so you’ll have a better view of the terrain around you, as well as where you’re going.

Skiing well

This is where you might wish you’d started out on a board because getting really good at skiing takes a lot more technical skill and ability then getting good on a snowboard. While having your legs attached to two separate skis is initially a bonus, once you’re at the stage of trying to master excellence it becomes a real challenge to ensure your legs move together in perfect synconisation.

Fitness required for skiing

You need to be fit to ski well, have strong knee and ankle joints and have particularly good leg strength.

Best suited to

Cyclists. If you regularly practice a sport that focuses on leg muscles – but is also low impact – then you’re tailor made for skiing. Cycling is also the optimum sport for those looking to improve ski fitness.

 

Snowboarding

Starting out on a snowboard

When it comes to which of these is harder, many people assume that snowboarding is easier to learn as there’s less kit to deal with. However, being side-on and having your feet fastened together can be really challenging. The hardest part for beginner snowboarders is getting the heel and toe edges – once that’s done then you’re well on your way.

Snowboarding well

Progressing as a snowboarder requires some mental toughness. You need to overcome the psychological obstacle of the odd positioning and the lack of peripheral vision you’ll have with a side-on body position. However, once you’ve got past this obstacle and done your first few turns then you’ve mastered enough to start improving significantly. After that, speed and balance are your routes to getting good.

Fitness required for snowboarding

Snowboarding also requires high levels of fitness if you want to be really good at it. It’s important to be in good shape as snowboarders tend to fall more during the early stages (another thing to consider in the skiing vs. snowboarding debate…)

Best suited to

Those with great core strength. Strong abdominals and lower back strength are essential for snowboarders so yoga, pilates and paddle boarding are a good fit.

No matter which discipline you decide is for you, lessons are always a good start. Learning to ski or snowboard with a qualified instructor will make your first foray much easier to manage. An instructor can help you to make sure you’re set up correctly with your equipment and can quickly identify any issues with your technique. At Le Chardon Mountain Lodges, our concierge team will help recommend the best instructors for you. Find out more about our luxury ski lodges in Val d’isere here

Lewis McKay

Based in the Edinburgh head office, Lewis is the Sales and Marketing Manager for Le Chardon Mountain Lodges. Having spent time living and working in both Val d'Isere and Edinburgh this will be his 13th winter with Le Chardon.