The rivalry between skiers and snowboarders is the cause of much debate on the mountain, so how do you know which one you want to try? If you ask one or the other which option to take there is no doubt they will be loyal to their own. So as an enthusiast of both I present to you a rundown of the pros and cons of both ‘Planks’ and ‘Trays’.
Learning to snowboard is a long and bruising process, on your first day it is likely you will spend most your time with your face in the snow or in the reverse. It is an unnatural feeling having both your feet strapped in, without the ability to stick a leg out to break a fall and this does take some time getting used to.
The initial learning curve of skiing is not too sharp, learning the basics of skiing is quite simple and can be relied upon by some extent to natural instinct. With skiing you have the freedom of independent leg movement, which feels natural, also with skiing you are travelling in the same direction as your feet.
After the basics:
Once you have the toe and heel turns under control, or even can comfortably leaf down the mountain you have the fundamental technique of boarding nailed. Once you have achieved this you should be able to comfortably tackle the blue runs, and as daunting as it may seem the turns get easier the faster you go (less resistance). Although the restriction of having your feet strapped in may have seemed like a hindrance at first, this quickly becomes an advantage and helps a lot with stability over the carved slopes.
Though skiing is typically easier to learn, it is harder to hone those skills and become an expert. Although after your first day you will have the basics under your belt, you won’t be able to confidently (and safely) progress up the mountain until you can parallel turn, a pizza can only do so much. Although being able to independently move your legs has its advantages, some find it difficult to simultaneously move their legs and keep the skis from crossing.
The boots are soft; this makes it easy to strut around the slopes comfortably, in combination with just one item to carry (board) getting around is quite effortless. The same cannot be said about getting on and off the chairlifts unfortunately, the snowboard is not the best thought out method when it comes to this. When riding down the mountain you have both feet clipped into the bindings however to get on the lifts you are required to remove your back foot, leaving you with only one-foot clipped in. This means to get on the lift you have to awkwardly shuffle/scoot forward with your unclipped foot as you don’t have the luxury of ski poles to help you out. Getting off the chairlift with only one foot clipped in for a beginner is a feat in itself and can take some time to master.
Walking around the slopes in ski boots is far from glamorous, the hard boots will see you awkwardly clumping around with your knees in a permanent forward bent position. In saying this, skiers have the last laugh when it comes to riding the lifts. Armed with poles to guide your way the chairlifts present no problem and you will breeze through the ques. With no need to unclip anything you can get off on the other side just as easily and transition smoothly straight into a run.
If after all of this neither appeals, there is always tobogganing!