Ah. The million dollar question.
If you speak to keen skiers or snowboarders their answer will almost definitely be biased towards their way of sliding. There still is a (mostly gentle) banter that goes on between skiers and boarders, but frankly as long as you are sliding down a mountain with a smile on your face – who cares what you have on the end of your feet. (That is unless they’re snow blades, nobody like snow-bladers *jokes* )
If you have never done either and you are a ‘grown up’ you may already have a ‘vibe’ of which you want to do, but I think there are a couple of things to consider…
“Snowboarding is hard to learn, easy to master. Skiing is easy to learn and hard to master“
The learning curve for snowboarding is a little steeper. Partly because to make it easy it helps to have a little bit of speed and a little bit of a gradient. You can learn to ski on an almost flat hill and also at a slow speed.
If you are a cautious person (and dare I say it a bit delicate) skiing is for you – when you learn to snowboard, expect to fall. A lot. When you learn to ski you definitely take less hits.
“You look ‘cool’ instantly with a snowboard, to look ‘cool’ on skis takes a long time”
Getting used to the gear is hard and especially the ski kit. When you snowboard you have soft boots and just one thing to carry (and probably with a wicked graphic on it). As soon as you step out of the chalet you are oozing style.
Ski boots, two planks, two poles… what a palava. (check out all the different ways of carrying them here). But when you master it, skiing is definitely the most practical way to get around the mountain (ask any snowboarder about button lifts, flat bits, bindings…) and when you finally look ‘cool’ – you rule!
The actual ‘coolest‘ people slide both ways and if you have kids – get them on the snow as soon as possible. I think for children it’s actually easier to get to grips with a snowboard than hold a snow plough on skis (and there are some great snowboard schools teaching the groms; Mint, Gypsy are Morzine faves). But if you are an adult and umming and ahhing – get yourself to one of the indoor snow centres (click here). They all do ‘learn to ski or snowboard in a day’ programmes and you’ll soon know which to go for.
On our beginner and improver weeks we take skiers and snowboarders. Most people choose in advance based pretty much on their own feel, recommendations from friends or if they went on a trip when younger.
So, ski or snowboard? Good question!!