So what do you prefer and why?   Skiing or Snowboarding?

December 14, 2003

As most of my friends know, I have always enjoyed spending time on the mountains skiing.  Ever since my 70+ a week work hours have been reduced to a more reasonable schedule, I have managed to find more time to enjoy the different resorts in the Sierras.  While it's true I do spend more time on skis, I enjoy both skiing and snowboarding and appreciate both for what it is.   I have friends who ski and ride.  While I have no problem with someone who simply enjoys snowboarding, one thing I do grow tired of hearing is someone saying they like snowboarding better because it is an easier sport to learn after complaining about one day of falling while trying to learn skiing.  That is such crap and those who typically say that tend to stink at snowboarding as well and after three or four years have really not advanced far beyond the bunny slopes.  
When it comes to learning how to go downhill on skis or a snowboard, there is one important thing that will get someone down the mountain.  That is BALANCE.  If you don't have that, you're pretty much going to fall regardless of whether you're strapped into a board or a set of skis.  (Work those abs)   One of the typical images I give to someone learning how to ski is the J. Lo stance.  Bend your knees and stick your butt out in the rear.  I've been responsible for sending a few people out on the slopes singing "don't be fooled by the rocks that I got."   Keep that rear up and you'll find yourself balancing out pretty good.
I know it sounds like an old cliché but to simply put it, practice makes perfect.  It doesn't matter which of the two you are learning, the fact is you won't learn unless you work at it.  Either way, you'll have to take your falls before you get better.  You'll never learn if you give up.  Take my word for it.  My first couple of times on the ski slope were a great embarrassment to all amateurs.   I should have taken lessons my first time out because I was definitely without control.  That of course is also an important step to learning.  Take lessons at the resort.  Don't try to figure it out on your own because the probability is you won't.   There's no shame in learning how to do it right.  It will reduce the chances of breaking something valuable such as any of the 206 bones in your body. 
I always intended on learning both skiing and snowboarding.  But I always had it set in my mind that I needed to know how to ski before learning how to ride.  People would tell me that people who ski can't learn snowboarding because of the differences in techniques.   That was such bullshit because I picked it up under 30 minutes practicing the standard techniques.  In a half hour I was already on the lift and making my way down the mountains while most students would still be learning basic stance and position at base level.  Again, all it comes down to is balance and so long as one can do that it is pretty easy to hang in with either sport.
Don't get me wrong now, this is not a one sided opinion.  I don't have anything against one or the other.  I just get annoyed when people say they prefer one over the other because they say it was too hard to learn.  I have seen people decide they liked skiing because they took what they considered some bad falls on a snowboard.  It does go both ways on the flakiness. 
So now that I probably annoyed people with my opinion, what are you?  Skier or snowboarder?   Comments?  Have I offended you?  Email me your thoughts at


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