Skiing vs. Snowboarding: The Great Debate



Before I hit the slopes I didn’t think there was much of a different between skiing and snowboarding. Obviously, I know the physical differences but they both seemed to be ways to get you down a snowy mountain, right?

Oh no, so wrong.

Skiing and snowboarding are both exhilarating winter sports but the attitudes and personalities that go with them are so different. Skiers and snowboarders form different tribes and they’re recognisable as soon as you get to the airport. You can honestly tell who is boarding and who is skiing just by looking at them.

Up until now I’ve only ever snowboarded. All of my friends board so it hadn’t crossed my mind to give skiing a go. A couple of years ago I took a snowboarding trip to Andorra with 20 friends. It was epic and I loved snowboarding but I’m not a natural. I’m the one who falls off the lifts and causes a backlog of tumbled bodies. I’m the one who can fallover when they’re standing still or crashes into a ski school of tiny tots. I’m also the one who gets some Dutch courage at lunchtime and then ploughs down the mountain as though they’re indestructible.

I am not indestructible and this usually ends in tears.

So, next year I’m considering ditching my snowboard and giving skiing a go. “If at first you don’t succeed, try a different sport because you’re clearly rubbish.” Ever heard that one?

But can I join the other side after sitting in the snowboarding camp for so long? Will I fit in with the skiers? But, most importantly, will the skiers accept my baggy pink snowboarding pants and tunes blaring through my headphones?

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read on…


Let’s start with the snowboarders

Skiing vs snowboarding

Snowboarders are cool; probably not as cool as they like to think they are but, nonetheless, they’re cool. To be good at snowboarding you need to relax your body and bend your knees and generally be super chilled out.

You need to wear baggy, loud clothes – the brighter the better. Remember, there is no such thing as ‘too garish’ in the snowboarding world. You need a pair of enormous headphones to play ‘sick tunes’ as you ‘carve up the powder’ on your way down the slopes. You need to address everyone as ‘Man’ or ‘Dude’ regardless of their gender.

Even snowboarding boots are cool. They’re comfortable and easy to walk in. Just sling your board over your shoulder and strut around like you own the mountain.

You may find you need to sit down to strap your board to your boots. Most boarders do this in huge groups next to the lifts and get in everyone’s way. But don’t worry; you’re so cool you don’t even care.

The only thing about snowboarding is that it’s really freaking hard. It’s scary and during your first few tries you’ll spend most of your time on your bum. Get used to that cold, hard snow because you’ll be seeing a lot of it close up.

 Skiing or snowboarding

But what about the skiers?

Skiing is an elegant sport. Stand up straight, hold your head up and glide down the mountain with grace. You’re less likely to fall over so there’s no tumbling around in the snow. You have poles to help you balance and even the worst skiers can manage a slow snow plough to get them down the mountain.

Skiers clothes are more fitted, ladies may even want a fitted jacket with a cute little waist belt. If you’re really flash, get a designer label snowsuit and wear it with a huge pair of designer sunglasses. Don’t forget your pout. Pouting is important.

Skiers may be able to get down the mountain without flailing around on their bums, but once they’re off the slope they’re like a fish out of water. Skiing boots are difficult and uncomfortable to walk in so you end up hobbling around with a hunched back as you grimace with every step. You’ve got skis and poles awkwardly tucked under your arms and falling all over the place. It’s right about now that you’ll probably look jealously at the boarders who are swaggering around with ease.

As you can probably tell, there are pros and cons to both skiing and snowboarding. Both are so much fun and even if you spend the entire week flailing in the snow, you’ll still have a great time.

Next March I’ll be giving skiing a go for the first time. Wish me luck!

If you’re still undecided about whether you should ski or snowboard, check out this video from Neilson – although I still don’t think they’ve settled the debate! Neilson have recently introduced their Mountain experts service. This is totally free and gives you a guide around the area, insider knowledge for the best runs and free coaching. It’s a great way to get your winter legs back, whether you’re skiing or boarding. Or just flailing and tumbling, like me.


Read more: My top tips for learning to snowboard

Staying stylish on the slopes: What to pack for ski trip





  1. Arianna 6 years ago

    Ahhaha Monica, I really laughed reading about you falling experiences (sorry!!). I am exactly like you and I can promise you one thing: skying is much easier!!! Good luck!

    • TheTravelHack 6 years ago

      Thanks Arianna, that’s so good to hear! I’m not looking forward to starting from scratch all over again but I think it will pay off after a couple of ski trips!

  2. Jenny 6 years ago

    I love both, but one bonus for skiing is when you’re on a catwalk you have poles to push you through whereas boarders often have to unstrap and walk. I’ll be interested to hear what you like better in March!

    • TheTravelHack 6 years ago

      Yes, I’ve noticed that. It’s so much easier for getting on and off lifts too. Those poles look like they come in handy!

  3. Kate 6 years ago

    This brought me down with a harsh chuckle! I’m the opposite – been skiing once, never snowboarded but eager to give it a go. I’m thinking of doing a course at Chill Factore in Manchester before I go throwing myself down any actual mountains with both feet bound together…

    • TheTravelHack 6 years ago

      I did a course at Chill Factore. It was really good but, if you can, I’d try and go in the middle of the day mid-week. It’s so, so busy in there that it can be really difficult when you’re learning. It definitely gives you the basics though so you don’t spend your first 2 days of the holiday on your bum!

  4. Amanda 6 years ago

    “I am not indestructible and this usually ends in tears.” Hahahaha. This hits a little too close to home, Monica. My boyfriend who has to deal with the tears will be the first to back me up on this! I just started skiing two winters ago, and I do my fair share of falling. I’d be curious to try snowboarding too. Especially for the experience of actually being able to walk in my boots. That’d be nice!

    • TheTravelHack 6 years ago

      Ha, my boyfriend has had to deal with the tears too! I’m glad I’m not the only one!

  5. Learning to snowboard is HARD! I am impressed with anyone who has the patience to fall over and over again until they get the hang of it. I gave up after learning how not to fall (in other words – face first) and never made it off the bunny hill.

    It’s been skis only for me ever since!

    • TheTravelHack 6 years ago

      Well that’s good to hear. Hopefully I’ll be more successful on skis!

  6. Larina 6 years ago

    I started out as a snowboarder and it took a long time for me to get the hang of it. Just as I was becoming confident in my turns I took a fall and that knocked my confidence a bit. A year after that I decided to try skiing and fell in love from first try! I immediately sold my snowboard and purchased a brand new pair of skis. I also worked in a retail/rental shop so was able to borrow any new skis I wanted to try out which made me love it even more. Good luck with the skis! If I was able to pick it up first go I’m sure you’ll be fine 🙂

    • TheTravelHack 6 years ago

      Thanks Larina, that’s so good to hear! I’m exactly the same with snowboarding – I start to get good and then have a big falls which scares me and puts me back on square one. Sounds like skiing is the way to go!

  7. Leonie 6 years ago

    I’m so pro Snowboarding. Not to say I wouldn’t give skiing a try. Maybe one day lol

    Leonie ? Lo On The Go

  8. I paid a small fortune for custom fitted ski boots and have to say they have made a world of difference. I then invested in a $20 ski boot strap so now I have comfy boots in the locker for the end of the day and then just sling my ski boots over my shoulder. Ps. I have had my fair few episodes of tears on the mountains lol! The last time I got over cocky and decided to take on a humongous black in Jackson Hole, I had to be rescued by the mountain men!!

    • TheTravelHack 6 years ago

      Oh my goodness! Good on your for trying it – and thank god for the mountain men!

  9. Hannah 6 years ago

    Snowboarding is harder to start but easier to look pro, where as skiing is the opposite, easier to start but harder to look good and get down the slopes with style! Chair lifts are a heck of a lot easier though!

  10. Lauren 6 years ago

    You were cracking me up with the descriptions! It’s so funny how different snowboarders and skiers act… I personally am into the snow tubing, where your hardest challenge is getting your tush in the perfect spot as you slide down the kiddy slope ?

  11. […] Skiing vs Snowboarding: The great debate […]

  12. Board babe 4 years ago

    Wow you really empathized how illiterate snowboarders are! Also you failed to mention most of the pros about snowboarding, besides being able to wear baggy clothing and use slang words. This article was a very uneducated aprouch on these snow sports. It’s obvious that you enjoy revisiting the idea that the mountain is build for skiers and us snowboarders are just “in the way”. It is probably best for you to leave ur spiteful attitude at home, if you actually manage to get to the mountain, otherwise one of us boarders will most likely run over your skis and knock u down while shouting, “piss off MAN”.

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