Are you planning a ski trip? Are you thinking about learning one of these sports? Either way, it is extremely important to learn the benefits and disadvantages before you go on your trip. Choosing the right sport is essential if you want to enjoy every single minute at the ski resort. For this reason, I will give you information that every beginner needs before hitting the slopes.
Which One Is Easier to Learn?
Many websites will tell you that skiing is easier to learn but harder to master, unlike snowboarding which is harder to learn but easier to master. However, like many things in life, the learning process is up to you and your past experiences. For example, if you know how to do ice skating, you will find skiing easier to learn because these two sports require identical techniques. Similarly, if you know how to do skateboarding, you will find balance and weight distribution faster than other beginners when you start learning.
If you have never practiced ice skating or skateboarding, there is nothing to worry about. You can keep reading this article and choose whether skiing or snowboarding is more convenient and fun for you.
Equipment And Clothing
Different equipment and clothes are needed for skiing and snowboarding. If you choose skiing, you will need the following: skis, poles, bindings, ski boots, and a ski helmet. You can rent these items at the resort, or you can purchase them if you want to practice frequently. Moreover, in this kind of sport, wearing warm clothing is as important as breathing. You cannot rent ski clothes at the resort, but you can purchase them at special stores. Make sure they are insulated, and wind and water resistant. Every skier should wear: a ski jacket, ski pants, base and mid layers, gloves or mittens, ski socks, goggles, long underwear, a neck gaiter or balaclava, and a backpack (this one is optional, but it can be useful to carry sunscreen, lip protection, scarves, hats, and medical kits).
Ski clothes are usually sleek to allow skiers to increase their speed, compared to snowboard clothes which tend to be looser. Even though it is possible to use most skiwear for snowboarding and vice versa, the boots are not interchangeable. Snowboard boots are looser and more flexible, compared to ski boots which have a rigid shell, as skiers face downhill. In addition, you will need a beginner-level snowboard and bindings. Remember that snowboards and bindings are different depending on the various levels and types of riding. Please keep this in mind when you go to buy or rent your equipment.
Skiing and snowboarding require different techniques as well. When it comes to skiing, there are several steps that you need to follow before going to the snow. Above all, it is necessary to learn how to put on the ski boots properly, how to identify the parts of the skis, how to get in and out of the skis, and how to carry the skis to the hill. Understanding the gear before sliding down the mountain is crucial to prevent accidents. After that, you need to learn how to glide on the snow, duck walking, side-stepping, and how to get back up again after falling. The snowplow, also known as “pizza” or “wedge” is the most important technique for beginners as it allows you to slow down and turn.
In snowboarding, having the proper gear is essential for beginners. Your feet have to be comfortable to maneuver correctly. Don’t forget that your body will go where you are looking, so please don’t look at your feet or you will fall. It is also important to slightly bend your knees, so you can increase your speed and keep control of your snowboard. Also, instead of going down the mountain like when you are skiing, you should go sideways. This means that you should go across the mountain, and the longer you ride from one side to the other, the slower you will go.
It is highly recommended to get an instructor when you start learning any of these sports to help you fully understand how to master the gear and techniques.
The truth is that both sports have their risks, thus, it is necessary to make sure that the equipment fits you and gets adjusted correctly. According to the Center for Injury Research and Policy, most skiing and snowboarding injuries usually happen during a fall or a crash and tend to result in bruises and broken bones. Traumatic brain damage can generally cause other serious injuries and it can even be fatal.
Snowboarders are more prone to get injured, but they are less likely to suffer from fatal injuries. This probably happens because snowboarders jump and do more tricks compared to skiers. Some body parts are more likely to get injured than others. In fact, the number of injuries on the wrist, hand, thumb, and upper extremity is higher than injuries on the legs, lower extremity, head, and spinal column.
Skiers, on the other hand, normally suffer from injuries less often and are more at risk of death than snowboarders. However, there are very few cases of skiing deaths every year. Collisions at speed with fixed objects are the main cause of these deaths. Non-experienced skiers are prone to sprain the MCL (Medial Collateral Ligament) from hyperextension. Nevertheless, there are precautions to protect beginners. For example, the skiers can detach their skis from their boots during a crash which protects their legs from twisting and bending.
Therefore, when learning either one of these sports, beginners should hire an instructor, so they can prevent injuries and be prepared physically and mentally before going down the slopes. Another recommendation is to get in shape for the winter season. This does not mean that you should start working out a week or a few days before your trip, instead you should work out regularly so you can be more resistant and avoid fatigue on your first time snowboarding or skiing.
To be or not to be a skier or a snowboarder
Now that you have some information about the different techniques, equipment, and risks of snowboarding and skiing, you are definitely more prepared to choose one for your next trip to the resort. Just remember to be prepared and informed before you go skiing or snowboarding for the first time. These experiences will be a great challenge but also a wonderful adventure for you.