A snowboarder finds fresh powder with an open slope and a chairlift visible behind

Skiing vs Snowboarding: Which One Is Better For Me?

I’ve been sliding on snowy slopes for decades, and truly believe that skiing and snowboarding open up worlds. On skis or a board, you experience some of the most exhilarating sensations and connections available outdoors. It’s a fine-tuned balance of control, rhythm and freedom that, on the best of bluebird winter days, is incomparable. 

So you’re ready to learn the art of glide, but find yourself questioning skiing vs snowboarding. It’s a common debate, and knowing which to get started with is a tough decision.  As similar as both winter sports seem, the execution of each is quite different. 

This guide delves into skiing vs snowboarding and covers the top questions on beginner skiers’ and snowboarders’ minds. For instance, which is safer, more comfortable, and easier to learn. Read on to help you decide which may be the best fit. At least for now!

Which Is Easier To Learn: Skiing Or Snowboarding?

Working as a snowboarding instructor at a ski resort, it’s the question I get asked above all others: is skiing or snowboarding easier to learn? 

From my experience, the learning process varies from person to person. For one, whether someone takes private lessons greatly impacts how quickly they progress. So does age, physical fitness, and crossover activities. 

Usually I find in those first beginner hours, the basic maneuvers of skiing are simpler to nail down. Skiing requires a more intuitive, straightforward stance. That means better peripheral vision and balance. Perfecting technique and progressing into an advanced skier tends to take a lot more work, though.


With snowboarding, those first hours are usually more of a struggle. Learning toe/heel edge control and having  enough body-board connection to stop and make turns is a far longer process. Boarders also have limited peripheral vision, and are falling far more than their skiing counterparts. That alone will make snowboarding feel harder! Once you nail the basics, though, progression tends to come faster with a snowboard.

Is Snowboarding More Tiring Than Skiing?

Depending on where you are in the learning process, both snowboarding and skiing can feel tiring at times. Especially when you start progressing with longer runs, steeper slopes, and deeper snow. That’s why having a good level of fitness and all-around body strength is important in both sports. 

In particular, strong leg muscles -quads, calves, hip flexors, and core strength are invaluable. They’ll not only make learning easier, but help prevent the most common skiing and snowboarding injuries.

From what I’ve seen first-hand on bunny slopes, though, beginner snowboarders are definitely falling far more often. They also tend to struggle to get back into a standing position after falling. That expends energy and starts to wear on muscles quickly. With skis, however, you have ski poles to help get you up. If necessary, you can unclip ski boots after a fall to aid in repositioning as well. 

Can You Go To More Places With Skis?

Twenty or thirty years ago, the answer might have been yes. That has changed with the innovation of splitboards. These are snowboards that split into two pieces. This makes uphill touring possible and lets you reach the most remote alpine locations.  

Any place you can get to on skis you can now get to with a snowboard. Both require more specialized equipment, like touring bindings, uphill touring skins, and poles. And if you venture off-piste and into backcountry terrain, definitely avalanche safety gear. But the adventures are endless for those with the proper knowledge and tools to get there.

A skier heading down a ski slope with dark snow clouds in the background and a ski lift to the right
The control and speed you get from skiing is amazing. (Photo: Timo Holmquist of AlpInsider)

Which Is More Comfortable: Skiing Or Snowboarding?

For both skiing and snowboarding, , comfort varies depending on the length of a run, and on the type of snow and terrain we’re working with.

If we’re talking about comfort with ski boots and snowboarding boots, the latter wins hands-down. Walking around with ski boots will never replicate a normal gait. Ski boots are stiff, and feel pretty awkward to walk with.

However, Most snowboard boots are designed to replicate street shoes and offer far more flexibility and comfort when walking. 

Is Snowboarding Safer Than Skiing?

Debating the safety of skiing vs snowboarding? The truth is, both are relatively safe sports if the proper precautions are taken. 

Protective gear, like a helmet, is key, of course; head injuries are no joke! You can also incorporate wrist guards and padded protective shorts when learning to minimize the risk of injury.

There are inherent risks any time you put yourself in direct contact with the winter elements. Add a waxed, fast piece of equipment, an unpredictable environment and bad luck into the mix? Things can go awry sometimes. Naturally, risk increases with certain terrain, like in the park amongst jumps and rails, or on steeper, tree-studded slopes. 

If it’s statistics you crave, read on with a grain of salt, because they include all levels and styles of riding; including advanced riding on complex terrain. But studies do show that snowboarding is nearly twice as likely to result in injury when compared to skiing. Wrist injuries and tailbone fractures in particular are common with boarders. With that said, studies also show that skiing injuries tend to be more serious; and deadly. Skiers frequently contend with upper body and knee injuries, like ACL / MCL ruptures and shoulder sprains.

Is It Cheaper To Ski Or Snowboard?

These days, the costs involved with skiing vs snowboarding are pretty equal. There are, of course, ways to go about both on a budget . Or, you can dive in purchasing all top-tier, new gear and learning at the most exclusive resorts. How cheap it is depends on the choices you make. 

As with any sport, the equipment purchased can be either new or used, or entry-level, or specialized. On average, though, the price of ski boots, snowboard boots, and bindings run in the same price range. The same goes for most unspecialized skis and snowboards. For new gear, expect to pay anywhere from $1000-$1500 for a full setup of boots, bindings, and skis or a board. 

You can also learn at a larger ski resort, where lift tickets tend to be quite steep, or a smaller local resort. Your choices in equipment and location will largely predicate how much money you spend with skiing or snowboarding at the get-go. Choose wisely, do your research, and you won’t have to break the bank.

Which Is More Fun: Skiing Or Snowboarding?

Both skiing and snowboarding involve gliding down snowy slopes in pretty darn beautiful surroundings. Depending on your style and personal preference in riding- be it fast downhill skiing or slow, surfy snowboard turns- it can be as relaxed or adrenaline-pumping as you wish. 

And that’s part of the magic. You have the freedom to personalize your riding experience every season, and take it as far as you wish. Want to stick to gentle slopes, or kick steps up steep backcountry lines? Prefer to explore winter playgrounds close to home at local resorts? Or do you dream of flying to the deepest snowpacks around the world in search of powder? It’s up to you!

No matter how you go about it, skiing and snowboarding both offer a world of endless snowy wonder.

How To Tell If Skiing Or Snowboarding Suits You Better?

Which snow sport is better suited for you? It’s simple: give both a try! 

When teaching beginners who haven’t purchased equipment yet, I always recommend dedicating time to giving skiing and snowboarding a try equally. There’s no better way to know which you’ll connect with more.

There will often be those set on sticking with one over the other - and I get it! Maybe all your friends are snowboarders, or skiing has been in the family for generations and trying a monoski would be sacrilege. But unless you try each for yourself, you’ll never know which feels better for you.


If you’re itching to hit the slopes but you're torn between skiing and snowboarding, my suggestion is this: try both! There is no better way to know which winter sport you connect with than to give each a fair shot. 

Also, know that making a decision to start with skiing or snowboarding doesn’t mean you have to stick with that sport. Take each season at a time, and if you’re compelled to cross over, do it! I can attest that the ability to be both a skier and a snowboarder is a pretty special feeling. And it makes you a better all-around glider of snow!

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*The information on this site is based on research and first-hand experience but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new activity, we recommend consulting with a physician, nutritionist or other relevant professional healthcare provider.