Skiing vs. Snowboarding: The Hard Truth About a Ridiculous Argument

Gate jumping snowboarderWhen first I started skiing the skiing vs snowboarding argument wasn’t around yet. I was three, and started racing by the time I was twelve. I loved it, but after I strapped on a snowboard for the first time when I was 13, I didn’t put on a pair of skis for the next 20 years.

I love both skiing and snowboarding. During my many years riding in the Northwest, mainly British Columbia, Alberta, and Montana, I never had any problems with others because of my choice of ride.

When I moved to Utah and started riding there, in Colorado, and California, everything changed. I started getting a lot of attitude from skiers (not all of them of course, but more than ever before). I was randomly insulted for no reason and often subject to the assumption that I couldn’t ride anything technical and all I could do was slide around in the park and hit jumps.

I don’t want to sound like I think I’m an amazing snowboarder. I’m not. But I had a season’s pass every year since I could fit into ski boots, and that kind of experience goes a long way. And it feels pretty great when I red passed those same big-talking weekend-warrior skiers in a mogul field or drop without hesitation into a chute while they stand at the mustering their courage.

As a writer and photographer, I’ve ridden with a fair number of pros. I’ve rarely — if ever — heard this skiing vs. snowboarding snobbery from them. I think it’s because they’ve reached a high level of performance and don’t feel that they have anything to prove. They simply see their fellow snow rides as athletes with a passion for flying down mountains at insane velocities.

There’s a kinship in that.

It seems to me that the people who do take part in this argument feel like they have something to prove and, I suppose if they could prove it on the mountain, they wouldn’t feel the need to do it in the gondola and apres bar.

But, that’s just a guess.

Speculation aside, I’d like to make a couple of things clear.

  1. I think this is a ridiculous argument.
  2. I don’t care what anybody riders. I’m cool with anybody who likes to spend a day on the mountain (snowjock douchebags excepted).
  3. Having spent so much of my life oblivious to this argument, and then suddenly encountering it so harshly, has made me curious about it. This article is an attempt to articulate my thoughts about it, and to learn what other think.

Please let me know your opinion in the comments.

With that in mind, lets start with a simple poll.

Skiing vs Snowboarding: Click the Pic to Vote

Now, let’s start with the biggest examples of snowboarder-hate.

Three ski resorts in the United States ban snowboarders. Some snowboarders take that personally.

I don’t.

Two of those resorts, Alta and Deer Valley, are right in my backyard. Last year I even went skiing at Alta.

I skied from the time I was three until I was fourteen. I raced. I rode big mountain terrain. I was really good. I can count on one hand the number of times I came across a rideable slope that I was too timid to tackle.

Then, in my teens, I switched to snowboarding and never looked back. I enjoyed it more. I later became certified to teach snowboarding and now write the Snowboarding Guide.

So, I’m fairly well-experienced in both sports.

I don’t care that some ski resorts choose to ban snowboarders. I’m not a fan of exclusionary business practices, but, if those ski hills could capitalize on the feelings of camaraderie, nostalgia, and sense purity that exists among long-time skiers, then more power to ‘em. There’s more than enough other terrain out there for me.

There is something that does upset me though.

Some skiers are very biased against snowboarders.

If you don’t believe me, watch this video, taken by snowboarders petitioning to be allowed on Alta.

Last year during my Best in the West Ski and Snowboard Tour I was often guided around ski areas by former (and current) competitive skiers. Most of the time my hosts were gracious and thought nothing of the plank strapped to my feet.  We only needed to ride for a few minutes together before they realized that I could go basically anywhere that they could.

Some of my guides, however, weren’t so open-minded. They’d sneer when they saw that the journalist they were asked to show around had one board, rather than two, strapped to his feet. They’d condescendingly say things like, “That’s a great spot, but we don’t want to go there. The traverse is too long.” or “No, we can’t go there. There are too many moguls.”

I found myself having to defend my choice of ride. These skiers wrongly assumed that I couldn’t traverse, that I couldn’t carve properly, and that I’d scrape all the snow off of the runs.

I had to assure these skiers that I would traverse anywhere they wanted to, that I could hold an edge across an icy slope, that I could keep up with them on a cat track, and that they could indeed hop off of the chair and just start skiing right away, because I would be able to catch up after stopping for five seconds to strap in my rear foot.

By the end of our time together most of these skiers would say things like, “I’ve never ridden with a snowboarder like you,” or “You’re not like other snowboarders. You can actually ride.”

There are a lot of snowboarders, like me, who can navigate a mountain just as easily as a skier. 

We can go pretty much anywhere and do pretty much anything that a skier can do just as easily as a skier.

I’ll admit, in some situations I have to put in more effort to keep up on traverses and cat tracks.

I can, however, keep up just fine and I don’t mind the work.

It aggravates me when skiers condescendingly assume that my ability to maneuver on the mountain is somehow hindered by the board on my feet.

There are differences between skiing and snowboarding. Many peoples ideas about what the real differences are, however, are ridiculous and insulting.

I’ve put a lot of thought into this. As both a skier and snowboarder I’m in a unique position to tackle this issue. So, on this post I’m going to address the differences between skiing and snowboarding once and for all.

I’m going to tell you what the real differences are, show you that they are in fact really quite small, and then frankly put to bed a lot of the bullshit stereotypes about snowboarders.

The root of the problem is that cultural differences between skiers and snowboarders have been overblown and that most snowboarders are stained with an image that comes from a very small — but extremely visible — minority of snowboarders.

The Real Differences Between Skiing Vs. Snowboarding

There are three types of differences between skiing and snowboarding: technical, emotional, and cultural.

Technical differences are the things that are made possible, impossible, easy, and difficult, by the nature of the technology. For example, a skier can (theoretically) carve a shaper turn than a snowboarder because he has two edges in the snow rather than one.  Emotional differences have to do with the way the ride feels; the smoothness, flow, and enjoyment. Then we have cultural differences, which is the source of most of the bad blood between skiers and riders.

Below, I will talk about all three.

Technical Ability

There are two important technical differences between skiing and snowboarding: the number of edges in the snow and the ability to move your legs as a biped.

I will say this now. Skiers, please try to contain your delight.

Skis are more technically functional than snowboards. 

It’s true. With skis you have four edges on the snow. You can turn more sharply. You can skate and push yourself with poles.

Skiers are often quick to point these things out.

I would also like to point out, however, that in 99.9% of circumstances, a snowboarder can overcome the technical differences between the two using effort and skill.

Some skiers assume that snowboarders are unable to follow long traverses. In most cases this is not true. It all depends on the ability of the snowboarder.

Having done a great deal of research last winter, I can tell you from experience that skiers are generally sloppy and lazy traversers.

They rightly should be. It’s easy to traverse on skis, so there is no reason to be attentive. So, most skiers cruise along mindlessly, unconcerned about carrying momentum because if they lose speed they can simply push with a pole.

A good snowboarder, on the other hand, is a master of maximizing momentum. He chooses his path carefully and pumps the grooves and bumps in the trail for speed.  If he loses his speed he always has the option of frog-hopping a few steps up the hill so that the can ride down to the trail to build more speed.

This is sufficient to reach 99.9 percent of in-bounds terrain in most ski areas. If a snowboarder wants to tackle that last .01 percent, that snowboarder would need a splitboard.

So, although skis are technically more proficient, a good snowboarder can access effectively all of the same in-bounds terrain as skiers if they’re skilled and willing to put in a bit of extra effort.

The same holds true when it comes to flats. Unstrapping and pushing a snowboard is not fun, but, given the way that most ski hills are built (to prevent skiers from having to skate) a good snowboarder can unstrap and keep up to a skier of comparable ability most of the time

In all but the most extreme cases, snowboards are able to achieve the same results as skis. It is true that the snowboarder may have to put in some extra physical effort — but there is a payoff for that, which is what I’m going to discuss next.

Feeling and Enjoyment

This is highly subjective and there’s no right answer for everyone  — so I won’t dwell on it too long — but this is the main reason that I prefer snowboarding to skiing.

The qualities that make snowboards less technically functional than skis — the lack of biped motion and extra edges — are the same qualities that make snowboarding feel so damned good.

Snowboarding feels smoother than skiing does.

Yes, a skier’s four edges have an advantage in technically challenging situations. However, when it comes to those glorious times — the ones that make you want to get up at six in the morning and drive to the hill —  those times that you’re ploughing through snorkel-deep powder, screaming over beautifully-groomed corduroy, or plummeting down a sudden drop-off with your stomach in your mouth — managing two edges feels more fluid, natural, and enjoyable than managing four.

I’ve heard even the most hardcore skiers admit the appeal of a big fat snowboard on a powder day. The enjoyment of a rider sluffing floaty s-turns down a steep pitch of untouched pow is obvious.

So, although, skis are more technically proficient, snowboarding offers a better experience.

The difference is slight — the experiential advantage of snowboarding is about as big as the technical advantage of skiing — but it is worth mentioning.

It’s the reason that I choose to snowboard.

Cultural Characteristics

This is where things get hairy.

Before I start talking about the cultural differences between skiers and snowboarders — which basically means talking about stereotypes — I have to point out that I hate stereotypes and believe that every person deserves to be judged on their individual character.

The stereotypes I’m talking about are not my own personal beliefs, but views that I’ve noticed that others tend to hold; views which are at the root of much of the conflict between skiers and snowboarders.

The Bad Snowboarder Stereotype

The most extreme stereotype of snowboarders is one of punk skateboarders who figured out how to ride on snow and enjoy ruining the on-mountain experience for everyone else. This stereotype asserts that snowboarders are disrespectful, technically sloppy, aggressive, and unaware of others on the hill.

There are plenty snowboarders that fit this stereotype. I’ve met them and you’ve met them. (Then again, there are some skiers that fit it too.) They are, however, an overwhelming minority. The vast majority of snowboarders I know are kind and respectful.

A lot of the qualities reflected in this stereotype arise from a focus on a very small, but highly-visible, part of the snowboarding community.

Bullshit Snowboarder Stereotypes

A lot of the stereotypes about snowboarders arise from a small group of very visible snowboarders: park riders.

Park riders are the most visible snowboarders on the mountain. They spend their time on the busiest runs near the busiest lifts, so they are the snowboarders the average encounters most often.

Park snowboarders, however, probably make up less than half of the snowboarding community. The rest of us are off cruising down groomed runs or searching for pow.

It often happens in subcultures that a small minority of aggressive loudmouths get all of the attention from parents and the press. This is true of snowboarding.

There are lots of super douchebag snowboarders out there. They cut you off on the hill, nearly run you over, ride way too fast in slow areas, and flip the bird to anyone who gets in their way.

But there are lots of super douchebag skiers for that matter. And soccer players. And bakers and doctors and policemen.

Douchebaggery is not limited to snowboarding.

The snowboarding community includes a proportion of douchebags approximately equal to that of any other social group. For the sake of statistics, let’s say that that one out of ten people in the general population are douchebags.

So, if park riders make up, say, 40 percent of snowboarders, and 10 percent of those are super douchebags, we have a situation where all snowboarders are being judged based on the actions of around four percent of douchebag park riders, who come into contact with a very large number of people on the hill because they spend their time in the busiest places.

The following snowboarder stereotypes are based on this tiny minority of douchbag park riders and are dead wrong:

Bullshit Stereotype #1: Snowboarders Can’t Carve

A lot of skiers feel that snowboarders are technically crappy at turning and stopping, making them a danger to others around them.

There is a sliver of truth to this argument (two edges can turn and stop better than one) but it has been blown way out of proportion.

Snowboarders (and skiers) who hang out in the terrain park ride gear that’s customized for aerial maneuvers and rails. Their boards (or skis) are shorter for spinning, and their edges are dulled so that they won’t catch on rails.
Short boards (or skis) with dull edges are not able to turn sharply.

So, yes, some very visible douchebag snowboarders (and skiers) ride equipment that is not technically capable of making sharp turns. They do it at high speeds in crowded areas, and I’m sorry about that.

But that doesn’t mean that we all do it.

Bullshit Stereotype #2: Snowboarders Scrape the Powder Off the Mountain

This stereotype is based on an understandable misperception.

People see novice snowboarders sideslipping on the hill where novice skiers are snowplowing. So, on beginner (and some intermediate) terrain you’ll often see snowboarders sideslipping while skiers do not, because they have the option of snowplowing.

This creates the perception that snowboarders sideslip more than skiers.

When you get into the steeps, however, this ceases to be true. In the steeps, snowboarders and skiers both sideslip equally and for the same reason.

Sideslipping is for people who are riding terrain beyond their ability.

If a snowboarder sideslips down a slope, she will scrape away most of the powder on it.

If a skier sideslips down a slope, he will also scrape away most of the powder on it.

If a skier or snowboarder carves down the same slope, they will both displace approximately the same amount of pow.

The truth is that when you take either a skier or snowboarder down a pitch that they can’t handle, they will sideslip the snow off of it equally well.

Bullshit Stereotype #3: Snowboarders Ruin Moguls

This is basically the same as the above complaint. A good snowboarder will weave between moguls in the same way as a good skier.

A bad snowboarder will ride over them, in the same way that a bad skier will.

Bullshit Stereotype #4: Most Snowboarders Are Aggressive Teenagers

Snowboarding has been around since the mid 1960s. This means that the 5.1 million snowboarders on the mountain range from young children to senior citizens.

My father, at 68, loves snowboarding. A study by the Leisure Trends Group in 2004, found that 1.1 million snowboarders were over the age of 35.

We are not all young punks. I’m thirty-five and have a job, a salary…you know, a normal life.

Bullshit Stereotype #5: Learning to Snowboard is Easy

“It took me two days to become an intermediate snowboarder,” Chris G., a writer for Yahoo Voices, said, “By the end of the second day I could take the board down any intermediate run and could even jump fairly well.”

You have to attain a certain level of skill at any task before it becomes fun, whether it be playing guitar, figure skating, or baking cookies.

Generally speaking, it is easier to learn how to manage two edges on the snow than it is to learn how to manage four — at least in the beginning. So, it is probably easier for most people to go from zero to fun on a snowboard than on skis.

This should hardly be considered a shortcoming, though.

And, once you start looking at advanced technical maneuvers, the learning curve is pretty much equally steep for both skiers and snowboarders. When it comes to hucking backflips and charging 40 degree chutes, it simply comes down to the ability of the individual, not the plank strapped to their feet.

Bullshit Stereotype #6: Snowboarding is Loud

Many skiers claim that snowboarders make a horrible scraping noise when riding downhill or coming to a stop.

I’m no physicist, but I doubt that. A snowboard, because it’s broader, makes a low-pitched sound when it vibrates. Low sounds carry farther.

Skis, on the other hand, make a high-pitched sound when they scrape over ice. This sound is in all likelihood equally loud. It just doesn’t carry as far.

The sound of snowboards on ice may carry farther, but, in my opinion, the sound of skis on ice is more unpleasant.

Can We Be Friends?

Most skiers are totally cool with snowboarders.

However, some skiers make accusations about snowboarders that are are downright ignorant.

I have met you. You assumed the worst of me before we even got on the chairlift. You roll your eyes because of all the time you expect to waste, waiting for me to strap in. You preach about how we can’t traverse to all the places that you can, and how we ruin your favorite runs.

You are full of shit.

Despite that, I’d like to shake hands and call it water under the bridge.

Here’s what I propose.

You let go of your preconceptions and wait until you see me ride before you judge me.

I’ll forget about all the ignorant things you said about me.

Do we have a deal? 



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107 thoughts on “Skiing vs. Snowboarding: The Hard Truth About a Ridiculous Argument”

  1. I am a skier – I have tried snowboarding but don’t enjoy it (because I suck at it). With so many mixed families (skiing wives happily living with snowboarding husbands and children and vice versa), I find this elitist attitude dumb. Snowboarders aren’t the issue – it is reckless people on the hill – and by no means do snowboarders have monopoly on reckless, stupid behaviour.

      • I am 71 and find all the arguments mute, anyone who straps on one board or two is skiing, it has been such for hundreds of years and we are all enjoying the same sport, so lets all be respectful of each other on the mountain.

    • I’m a N.E. Pa.skier and snowboard out West when I am lucky cause its soft. All three of my adult children snowboard and excel at it. I am an instructor at a nice mountain in North East Pa. last year I seriously started to consider quitting my job, that I love, because of so many of my friends getting hit and badly hurt, and myself almost getting hit, more then once by snowboarders going to fast for their skill level. No, it is not the sport, it is the learning curve. (in my opinion) hard to get at first, then it clicks and goes smoothly. So we have people that have been on boards maybe four times and they think they are experts and its all going good and then they go to fast and then its not so good and then they hit another one of my instructor friends. Its not the sport its some of the people but I am sick of it. Yes, we have idiots on skis too, but beginner, novice snowboarders go too fast and my friends and I pay the price. I’m not talking one or two every now and then, I know we are in dangerous sports. I get it honey there are no guarantees. Five people I KNOW personally got hit by snowboarders LAST winter. zero by skiers. I’ve had my skis run over. I had a boarder go in between my student and I as I talked to her on the hill, maybe four foot away from me she was as we talked. I don’t know that many people and that’s a lot of people getting hit on a small mountain. I am sad to say I don’t wonder if its going to happen, I wonder when is it going to happen. Snow boarding is great, its smooth, its like flying, but personally I would not shed a tear if I never crossed paths with a snowboarder again. I’m sorry to say it but I’d be glad.

      • I’m genuinely sorry to hear that Jayne. It sounds like you are speaking purely from experience and without bias, so you have gotten me thinking.

        Does the learning curve on a snowboard lend itself more to learners getting out-of-control than that of skis?

        Anyone else care to comment on this? It hadn’t occurred to me.

        • I’m an instructor of both skiing and snowboarding. I honestly feel that the learning curve of snowboarding does lend itself to out of control riders. Its the tendency for beginners to lean to the back foot. The problem really lies in the “buddy lesson”, being taught by friend rather than a professional.

        • From my experience, I found a slower learning curve when learning to snowboard. On my first day skiing (age 12) with “lessons” from my aunt and uncle, I could make snowplow turns down the novice slope. When I started snowboarding and taking lessons (age 30), it took quite a while just to be able to do linking turns down a beginner slope. Because of this, I didn’t put a lot of time into snowboarding in the first few years (maybe 10 hours in 3 years). Learning to snowboard was frustrating at the beginning. Well, now I’m a terminally intermediate snowboarder and an advanced skier. I like snowboarding,but I LOVE skiing.

          As far as out of control skiers/riders, it’s probably fairly equal. It depends more on skiing or riding within your abilities. Ironically, I was crashed into twice in one day by two different skiers while I was taking a snowboard lesson on an easy slope.

        • I am both a downhill skier and snowboarder. I started on two planks, then in University could not afford it anymore so took up telemarking/backcountry. I married a cross country ski racer so spent some wonderful years skinny skiing and having a fantastic workout. When we had three daughters they wanted to snowboard so we both took up snowboarding. My three adult daughters are good snowboarders now with hill etiquette ingrained into them and can edge most anywhere on the mountain. I have returned to downhill skiing because my now-husband is a singleminded lifetime downhill/backcountry skier. The hills are there for all to enjoy. Resorts are generally less enjoyable on a snowboard when they are hard packed and icy, especially for novice/intermediate skiers but that is generally the only place to practice. I still think boarding in powder beats downhill skiing for the experience. We ski the Canadian Rockies/Lake Louise mostly and I am now, at age 60, still astounded by the high ground taken by many older skiers, out of ignorance and fear. On a daily basis I carry some fear on the groomed runs because of the speed of downhill racers and boarders. The first rule of the skiers code of ethics is that one is able to stop at any moment, quickly, for the safety of those around. The second is that the person on the down hill/ or ahead, has the right of way. Yet both skiers and boarders come screaming down the hill, some in control, some out, most unable to stop on a dime, if necessary. As a skier I do appreciate the frustration with the inability, particularly of novice boarders, to be able to see a full 180 degrees in front of them. As a result they plan turns where they cannot see as well as skiers. I never noticed it when I was boarding but I do notice it now. However, it also frustrated me when group of young testosterone driven ski racers come barrelling down the hill as though they own it or living out their World Cup imaginary race. Neither make for good or correct Ski Hill etiquette and I propose that every person need to take a one time etiquette lesson prior to skiing on a hill as they are endangering all others on the hill. Lives are at stake with this kind of speed. I enjoy sharing the hill with boarders and skiers. I love watching the learning process and remember being there myself and it is always a reminder when I see a novice that I was once one myself. I do find generally, that older skiers are more rigid in their thinking, stick fast to the need for technical old style parallel skiing and are unable to embrace the playfulness of snowboarding. I know wonderful high level backcountry/ex-racer skiers who have now begun to strap on boards for their backcountry powder experience because of the float ability and are having a blast.

      • Jayne and co raise a good point about snowboarders going out of control more than skiers.

        She accounts that to the learning curve. Which may be partially true, but I see it as more of an ignorance of on hill etiquette.

        As an instructor as well, I see way more people in ski lessons than snowboard lessons. In those lessons, people learn not only to stay in control, but parts of the on-hill responsibility code.

        Snowboarding traditionally (like skateboarding and surfing) have tended to avoid formal lessons and learn by oneself (which is what I did too). For those not coming from a ski background, they learn nothing about the responsibility code, and only the basics of control at first. I have had my share of stern talks with novices as well.

        So I see the problem as being a culture that avoids formal instruction. CASI (the Canadian Instructor assoc) is trying hard to counter that stigma. If you see people like that, assume that they really don’t know any better, and tell them to get a lesson.

        It might be a good idea to clip offenders passes and not let them back on the hill until they have taken a real lesson

      • I worked as a snowboard instructor and a coach for 10 years at 3 different mountains in northeast PA, I was a level 3 certified instructor and had a freestyle cert also. Might have even worked at the same place you did. I have witnessed every type of crash you could think off. I have seen people get run into in lessons, on open trails, in lines for hits in the park, lift lines, run offs from jumps or rails. I had my board run over I have been hit more times than I can count. I had a board broken, bindings split, whatever. Guess what, there were just as many beginner two plankers doing a split down the trail running into people as there were out of control snowboarders hitting people. If you work in pa, at least 60 percent of the people on the snow are out of town beginners. It’s the judgment of the person not the equipment. Sorry your friends got hit and all, but you’re ignorant. Pay attention and watch what happened without any bias, it’s a 50/50 split of jackasses cutting people of being dicks, and people going too fast to handle.

      • That’s so nice that you pretty much just said that you never care to cross paths with your own childern. From my 30 years on the hill 15 of those professionally teaching and coaching, I would say “that’s very skierly of you”

    • I been boarding for over 25 yes I started when every single skier put their nose in the air and without even knowing me for 2 min. That shows how the skiers are the nasty bitter people who are never happy and always bitch as they are superior. I believe it’s because they are not athletic enough to board. It’s fact that boarding is more demanding and harder to master, I skied 4 times in 25 yrs and was amazingly easy it blows my mind. I also been riding switch step inns so I’m always waiting for skiers , off the lift and snap I’m in. I ski kissing bridge in western New York for 25 yrs they started with only 2 boarding hills and now open to all. My brother and I were the first board patrol at kissing bridge in I think 1997 the people are awesome and only a few skiers left with attitudes most realize we all out having fun in the snow so let’s all rally togather we are all snow brothers ALL OF US

    • Snowboarding is a plot to destroy Western Civilization. It is well known that snowboarders eat babies and worship Satan.

  2. We come from the school of thought that its all the same thing. We are all out for the same reason…to catch fresh lines, hit rails and fly off jumps. At both of our programs our skiers and snowboarders shredd together.

  3. Matt the most annoying thing that Snoboarders do is sitting down in the Middle of the Slope. Ninety per cent of the time it is right below a slight drop so you can not see them until the Last moment. Skiers if they are waiting for somebody they stand (Upright) at the edge of a trail.
    That and the grinding of snow off the trail is annoying also. In New England the nice term for Ice is Packed Powder. Grinding just exposes the glacier under the groomed area.

    • Joe, both skiers and snowboarder stop in the middle of the slope. Skiers stand, and snowboarders sit.

      Both have been known to stop beneath knolls where those above can’t see them.

      But, to say that snowboarders sit under knolls 90% of the time is exactly the kind of bullshit exaggerated stereotype that I’m talking about in this article.

      It’s ridiculous to say, and it’s ridiculous to think snowboarders stop on the slope more often then skiers. Just because they sit more often than skiers (skiers sit too) does not constitute a big difference.

      And to say snowboards scrape more snow of the hill is equally ridiculous.

      Skiers scrape with twice as many edges as boarders. If anything one would think the opposite would be true (though I think they’re pretty much equal myself).

      • @Joe “Matt the most annoying thing that Snoboarders do is sitting down in the Middle of the Slope. Ninety per cent of the time it is right below a slight drop so you can not see them until the Last moment. ”

        So so true. Incredibly true. Truer than true.

        @Matt “But, to say that snowboarders sit under knolls 90% of the time is exactly the kind of bullshit exaggerated stereotype that I’m talking about in this article.”

        Do you have a problem with getting your head stuck in the sand? If you visit any resort, anywhere on earth, like a lot of the time, there are boarders sitting on their arses across the top of the slope .. or just out of sight below the top of the slope. This is not an anomaly, it is a regular occurrence and for the most part I never see skiers doing the same thing.

        I love boarding BTW and this is just something that needs to be address as part of slopeside culture.

        • Scooch, my head is not stuck in the sand any more than yours is stuck up your ass.

          There is no conceivable reason to believe that the board strapped to a person’s feet makes them less capable of realizing that they are likely to cause an accident by stopping where people can not see them.

          I never said skiers sit on the slope as much as snowboarders. Of course snowboarders sit down more. Skiers stand. Sometimes they lay on their sides.

          I said they all “stop” on the slopes equally as often, which is true. Skiers stop and stand in the middle of the slope (and beneath drop offs) just as often as snowboarders.

          Usually the people who do this are young and don’t understand the reason why it’s dangerous.

          • The only reason I was looking there was to find your point of view. But I can’t seem to get my head that far up my ass.

            The reason that snowboarding is in decline is because the boarding community fails to correct these obvious facts about snowboarder behaviour.

            Go, film reality, then show the difference between the boarders and skiers. That would be more objective than interviewing Alta idiots.

        • Scooch,
          Where do you ski/ride?
          Up here in BC, I can’t really think of anywhere I’ve been where snowboarders sit under knolls at the top of the run.

          At the top of slopes, yes. Most sit down to do up their bindings. And most have the common sense to do it out of the way. Only a handful of places I’ve been (like some out-of-the-way aces in Japan) has it been a problem, but those people are generally novices, who need to be told to get out the way.

          Never seen it so bad that I needed to complain about it on a website. Perhaps it is something local to your area? Or perhaps the unloading area is too small and novice riders need to do up their bindings in that particular spot?

      • It’s not that the snowboarders sit in the middle of the trail any more than skiers. Its that the shape of their board dictates that they must sit, rather than standing. So no, they don’t hide in unseen areas any more than skiers, but yes, their actions have greater consequences because they aren’t seen when sitting.

        As for the snow being scraped off, I’d have to say that snowboarders do push more, especially when stopping. The average width of a ski is around 7cm, so together they are around 14cm. Am average snowboard, according to, is around 25 cm. As the snowboard is much wider than the two skis combined, it logically would displace a greater amount of snow. Also, the side-sliding of snowboarders in terrain too difficult for them does not compare to skiers in too difficult terrain, because they either A) pizza wedge down the hill and displace a small amount of snow or B) make long wide turns, which are only done during part of the run, because in a long turn, a portion of the time they are facing diagonally downhill with straight skis, displacing little to no snow.

        • The problem is, logically, you’re full of shit. Stopping ability and snow displacement has little to do with the size of a board(s). Beginner skiers who don’t know how to properly use their edges and/or snow plow to stop take as long and displace as much as a snowboarder who doesn’t know how to carve.

          Seriously, what you call ‘pizza’ is literally called ‘snow plowing’ because that’s exactly what it does.

          Not sure what you rate as ‘difficult’ terrain. I consider it Black or higher. In which case snow plowing would literally plow through the moguls, and long/wide turns will run over the top of them. I see a lot of beginner skiers do this and — as an ex bump skier — I find it as aggravating as watching a beginner boarder heel plow through a nice line of bumps.

          Look at the tracks of a skilled boarder (Ie one that actually knows how to carve). There will be a narrow S curve where the middle of the S will have a gap that marks the transition marking the edge transition. The gap is because the board slightly pops and is briefly air borne during the transition.

          Even when doing deep/wide carves (ie loading the edge as much as possible) the edge digs deeper into the show to sustain the turn, it doesn’t scrape off the top.

          Excessive scraping is the sign of both beginner skiers and beginner snowboarders. If it’s something you see a lot of, try getting away from the beginner runs.

          tl;dr: Don’t judge all boarders by the ability/actions of beginners.

    • Next time you go notice it’s 50/50 don’t be biased and post facts not opinions because your bitter, o yea be careful slow down reD fine print on ticket. In a car it’s the person behind who’s at fault, people love to try to make opinions facts my stomach hurts from ?

  4. “What’s the hardest part about skiing?”

    “Telling your parents you are gay”

    “What’s the difference between a beginner snowboarder and a snowboard instructor?”

    “About 3 days”

    Skiing is easier to learn in the first half day, which my be why it is still preferred over snowboarding. But snowboarding takes about a full day to get to the same level as turning.

    After that though, snowboarding is much easier to progress at. Skiing has a European past, and is heavy with technique. Mastering 4 edges takes longer than 2. But the rewards are more speed and control.

    Snowboarding has surfing roots, which has valued style and individual progression over technique. Plus, a bad-boy image. Terrain is approached very differently. Especially when you don’t have poles to limit you.

    One common reason i keep hearing on why people switch to snowboarding is the boots. Ski boots are still uncomfortable for extended periods.

    If someone is looking to try one or the other, it seems the best way of deciding is whether the individual wants to be able to move their feet individually (as in skiing), or wants the simplicity of only having a board to use, rather than 4 separate pieces of equipment.

  5. Joe,
    I’ve never seen skiers sit in blind spots or beginners snowplow fresh snow off a run in my short 35 years in the hills.
    Not once, never.

    • You need glasses dude. Skiers, not all, most ones that have no knowledge of their surroundings because they are novices or just plain ignorant of etiquette, seem to love to stop on the lip of every single jump they see, stand there and stomp around a bit, poke a bunch of divots, call their 3yo with wedgies on over for a picture, then direct them to ski “pizza” down the landing while they stand in that nice flat area with no tracks in it and take pictures.

      Truth is both sports have their fair share of idiots and superstars. But skiing has given little of nothing to snowboarding, had to fight tooth and nail to get where were it is. On the other hand snowboarding has given new life to a sport that was vastly losing numbers, technologically stalled and had adopted rules of boringness and anti-creativity. You’re welcome, now get out of my landing and shut up.

  6. I’m by no means an expert on any of this but I have noticed that more people seem to be having fun while snowboarding. Some skiers seem way too serious and uptight. To me, snowboarding seems more carefree than skiing (but that could be because when I’m skiing I feel like Bambi on ice most of the time).

  7. Hi From Scotland…

    What is there to debate ?

    Whether you ski or board…just get out and do it ! enjoy the mountains, the dopamine…the buzz.
    Duck them ropes…turn that transciever on and go for it…

    Karl ( 50 year old boarder )

  8. Growing up in Germany I learned to ski as a child, but have never tried snowboarding. I would love to try it out one day though. Somehow I always think that snowboarders look way cooler than skiers. 🙂

  9. When trying too explain the difference of challenge, fun & reward I compare skiing & snowboarding to water skiing. If they know how to slalom do they find it more fun & challenging on one ski verses two ski’s (?) This example usually turns some skeptics around to understand the thrill & reward… Snowboarding since 1985 and Level 3 PSIA/AASI Instructor since 1999.

  10. I have always thought a major reason for misunderstanding between skiers and boarders is their range of vision. When I ski, I am facing forward and my blindspot(s) are about the same as where they would be if I am driving a car. When I snowboard, I am facing towards one side or the other, and my blindspot is over my back shoulder. Therefore, the “comes out of nowhere,” “I didn’t see you there” factor is very different. That angry, “I hate those _________(skiers/snowboarders–your choice)” feeling is usually secondary to the first “I was startled and scared by you” feeling.

    • You raise a good issue. Snowboarders do have a responsibility of being more aware on their backside when riding. I’ve personally rarely ever found this a problem, but it is a greater problem for us than for skiers.

      • On the flip side of that as a boarder is approaching a skier from behind (eyes focused fall line, blind from 2 to 10 o’clock) and the boarder is approaching with the the skier in full veiw on their toe side, seeing what is all around the skier, edging to birn speed until they can time a good point to get by the skiers fall line turning rhythm. Then all the sudden “out of nowhere, after hearing this awful scraping for half the run, it darted by me almost cutting off my turn radius and running over my ski tips” . Heard it a bunch never put 2&2 together, just knew my end (the passing boarder) and knew my actions where in full view, very calculated and got me around and clear of their path quickly and effectively without incident.

        • This usually happens if you randomly dead-stop in the middle of the run and/or stop on the bottom/blind side of a roller.

          This is considered bad riding etiquette, the same as merging into a run without looking up hill, and riding terrain far above your ability is.

          Because skis can start/stop from any terrain with little effort, I find that skiers have less awareness/regard of their surroundings. Any boarder who isn’t a complete newb will move to the top of a hilly spot or the edge of the run when they stop; partly for safety, partly because it takes some space/momentum to get going again.

          The terrain I ride is far above/beyond where beginners skiers/riders go. I usually only encounter this behavior when I’m close to the base at the beginning/end of the day. Advanced/Expert skiers are generally very controlled and aware of their surroundings and therefore don’t make these mistakes. It’s not skiers vs snowboarders as much as beginner skiers vs beginner snowboarders.

          As for beginner boarders… Well, some just suck. It takes a LOT of practice to gain full control of a board (Ie smooth transition carving, riding switch, riding blind, etc). Some riders take years of riding before they learn they understand the difference between scraping (ie what makes all the noise) and carving. Some develop a high degree of confidence long before they develop skill.

          If you’re preferred zone is close to the base, or you’re an East Coaster on small hills, good luck.

          Source: Skied for 5 years (4 in CO), 12th year snowboarding this season in CO.

  11. at jayne seanard

    I worked as a snowboard instructor and a coach for 10 years at 3 different mountains in northeast PA, I was a level 3 certified instructor and had a freestyle cert also. Might have even worked at the same place you did. I have witnessed every type of crash you could think off. I have seen people get run into in lessons, on open trails, in lines for hits in the park, lift lines, run offs from jumps or rails. I had my board run over I have been hit more times than I can count. I had a board broken, bindings split, whatever. Guess what, there were just as many beginner two plankers doing a split down the trail running into people as there were out of control snowboarders hitting people. If you work in pa, at least 60 percent of the people on the snow are out of town beginners. It’s the judgment of the person not the equipment. Sorry your friends got hit and all, but you’re ignorant. Pay attention and watch what happened without any bias, it’s a 50/50 split of jackasses cutting people of being dicks, and people going too fast to handle.

  12. I’m about to embark on my 44th season on skis. Surf and skate for the past 35ish years. I tried boarding a few times when I moved here to Tahoe 20 years ago. It just wasn’t for me. All three of my kids started on skis but now board, one of them competitively, one on ski patrol and one in high school. Yes, early on, I did see a larger percentage of boarders riding without proper etiquette. The sport opened up the mountains to a broader group with many varied lifestyles and cliques. WHO CARES! In my years I’ve learned that there are d-bags and heroes in every walk of life at every level of affluence. The uptight skiers spurn the “mosh pit” boarders and vice-versa. Those who are comfortable in whichever discipline they choose have no problem with any other. Except snowlerblades. I hate those guys!

  13. Good article, but I’d like to point out one thing that bothered me. You say skis can turn ‘sharper’ than a snowboard. I disagree. How tightly, or sharply as you put it, one can turn is a function of the sidecut of their chosen devise. Slalom skis turn tight and quick, while GS and downhill skis arc a more open high-speed turn. Of course, an experienced skier or rider can modify their turn shape through their inputs into their devise, but how sharply one can turn is not determined by whether they are on skis or a board, that’s more of an ability and sidecut function.

    I will say however, that I think you meant to say that skis generate more edge hold than a board does. As you talk about, having two edges in contact with the snow (skis) will generate more friction (ie grip) than having only one edge on the snow at a time like a board. This is why skiers froth over big, steep committed couloirs in the spring under corn snow conditions while most snowboarders would rather build a kicker at that point. Simply put we don’t have the same ability to create edge hold that a skier does on firm snow. Hence developments like Magne-traction, and quadratic sidecuts.

    The main reason I think skiing is lame as shit is because it looks kooky. You’ve got two things on your feet, two things on your hands, and boots that make you walk around like you just had a nice long conjugal visit with Bubba at the local prison. I’m biased as shit being a life-long snowboarder, but I’d rather watch an expert rider drop a line than an expert skier any day. As you point out, the boarder will make it look more fluid and clean every time, even if the skier is good. It just doesn’t look as good to the eye. Add to that the country club mentality held by the old guard in skiing, and the fact that pretty much most skiers try to dress like us and deep down wanna be us, and you’ve got a lame ass sport on your hands.

    Further, as you point out, most skiers don’t pay attention to terrain. They think nothing of poking along on traverses or cat tracks because they can. They think nothing of following the fall line down a run because if it gets too flat they can just walk out. I would argue that snowboarders have a better eye for terrain than skiers because we have to. Fuck the flats, stick to the fall line and carry your speed. And if I pass you on a traverse and you’re on skis, I believe that you should have to ski the rest of the day with your dick out like you would in golf if you don’t hit your drive past the ladies tee. Yes, I’m aggro, yes, I’m intense, and fuck yes, I’m a snowboarder. It was better when you hated us. 🙂


  15. Interesting conversation. I too used to be a “triple treat” – ski, snowboard and tele (another interesting, but less hostile relationship between free heelers and locked). I abondoned snowboarding around 2000 for the technical and emotional reasons you describe. I felt limited by having both feet locked to the same board. The technical and emotional freedom that I feel on my skis far out weighed the few moments of surf float on a board. That said it is all just ways to play on snow. That is what is important. Part of playing on snow for me is ribbing my less fortunate, less athletic, less attractive, less interesting and overall gross snowboarder friends. Keep up knuckle dragger!

  16. Here in NZ I find a Snowboard and skier split sometimes, the commercial fields have both muppets on boards and skis but far more muppets than what you would find at a club field. Once you go to a club field where the terrian and nutcracker rope tows are tough, traverses are tough and generally hiking is the norm the gap between the skier and snowboarder rivalarly closes as does the muppetry.

    Go to Temple Basin NZ where the terrian is another step up and the out of bounds access is not just backcountry but starting to introduce more mountianeering accents for your lines the gap closes so much that no-one even thinks about it. You have the goods or you don’t, no one sits in peoples way or traveses like an idoit because if your an idoit at alot of these fields you generally will leave or not go because the chunk is too big for you to chew.

    I think the the aggrevation is actually a muppet aggrevation and split between the two, however the snowboarders get a worse wrap because when they hit someone they tend to do more damage to the person wearing the collision. I don’t know about the learning curve, but perhaps snowboarding attracts males around the 20’s more than skiing did or does and sometime that age group has a few more ” free spirits” in it.

    As for the feeling of snowboarding being better… I don’t know about that mate. I Telemark, now you should hear the shit I get for that. I tele with boarders or skiers but latley have found the tele turn depicts a boarders turn and use of terrian more than skiers even though if you wanted to group me you would pop me over there with my two sticked friends. If all the sitting down and traversing muppets are annoying, then perhaps you have out-grown the playground and need to some touring or backcountry, perhaps its time to step it up? perhaps its time to free the heal and free the mind? I have plenty of scroggin to share.

    • I can’t say that I understand all of your slang Charlie, but I think we’re on the same page. You’re right. When you hit the serious terrain, all that matters is the person riding, not what they’re riding.

      I can’t speak for all snowboarders, but I don’t group telemarkers with skiers.

      I group then with maniacs who take on a sport more difficult than any sane person would.

      And I definitely agree that the smoothness of the tele style is more fluid than skiing and maybe even more than that of boarding.

      In either case, it’s a sport for madmen who are wiling to punish their body for the best ride and any person who can tele even reasonably well has my full respect, no questions, hands down.

  17. The impression I get whenever I go boarding is that there are more people renting snowboards than skis. So it’s more than likely a case of having more of the snowboarders on the mountain be beginner renters than anything else.

    And as far as lessons, none of the people I go with (who are all beginners that rent) get them. Although that has more to do with lessons costing money than a rebellious attitude, some of them are school teachers.

    But there are just as many jerks on skis as on snowboards. I have had a skier ski right over the top of snow board while waiting in line for the lift and I have had snowboarders cut me off and fall down right in front of me. I really do think the biggest contributor to bad hill behavior is people who are renting for the day and have no clue what they are doing (that and little kids, they are the worst).

  18. We haven’t done this yet so this is definitely in our travel bucket. But most of the time, we prefer warm climates compared to ice cold areas. But once in a while we would love to explore and this is a good chance for us. Hope we have our ski skills at that time hehe

  19. Great article. A very balanced view from an informed position. I have done both but am from Ireland so with much more limited experience than yourself. Personally I never found snowboarders to be any more rude than anybody else. Some may dress a bit different but so what.

  20. When a novive skier encounters a slope that is too steep/difficult for their skill level, they generally avoid the slope or traverse, not sideslip. Most novices on skis don’t have the edge control to sideslip down steep terrain.
    Novice boarders can simply face down the hill and heelside straight to the bottom without attempting to make a turn, effectively negotiating expert terrain with novice ability. And to say that boarders don’t ruin bumps is the biggest crock of bullshit I’ve ever heard. I have skied for 35 years and boarded for 25, and there is a HUGE difference in how boards affect the snow compared to skis. This is why moguls at places like Mad River and Alta are rhythmic and evenly placed. they flow like water straight down the fall line. As opposed to moguls frequented by boarders, which are vertically upright, with the troughs scraped down to ice. No flow whatsoever. Now, understand, novice skiers will traverse moguls and make turns on the side if the trail to get down. Once again, the novice boarder will heelside straight down the middle if the trail, and scrape the snow down through the trough into a giant, vertical pile. I was alive and skiing bumps before snowboards came along, and there is NO QUESTION that novice boarders ruin moguls. Are there boarders that negotiate moguls skillfully, making turns with the flow of the line? Absolutely. But that number of boarders is so minute as to be inconsequential. There are extremely few experienced boarders that actively seek out moguls to ride. Have you ever seen even ONE mogul segment in a snowboard movie? Maybe there was one in like ’88 or so with Damian Sanders and Chuck Barfoot.
    I do not care about cultural differences, differences in clothing, attitude, age, whatever. The simple fact us that novice snowboarders affect the snow much differently than novice skiers.
    Here’s a fun fact: did any of you know that Mad River was one of the first ski areas to allow snowboarding? And that due to a problem with boarders derailing the cable on the single chair, (offloading requires a lateral move, there is no ramp to slide down.), they closed the single chair to boarders while they tried to figure out a solution. During that downtime, several boarders accosted the owner of Mad River in the parking lot of the grocery store where she was shopping. Due to the aggressiveness and the vulgarity of the verbal attack on her, she decided Mad River would remain closed to boarders indefinitely. And so the ban stood until the mountain was sold to the skiers themselves as a co-op. There’s is a vote every year at the board meeting about whether to liift the ban, and it has been voted down every year since. Just a Little history lesson for you mad river/alta haters.

    I spend about 40% of my mountain time on a board these days, and when I do, I avoid moguls and terrain that’s over my head.

    • To be honest, you make some pretty good points Christian. I work under the assumption that nearly all snowboarders (except the few, like I, who can actually enjoy them) avoid moguls all together.

      You are right though. My point was that skilled riders will affect the hill in very similar ways. I didn’t account for the novices. A sideslipping novice boarder will affect the snow very differently than a snowplowing skier.

      Thanks for calling this to my attention. You’ve definitely broadened my perspective, which really is what this article was written for. Starting dialogue so we could all learn.

      Last, I’d like to note, I do not begrudge any hill for banning boarders. Some people like exclusivity and are very picky about the company that they keep, and that’s fine with me. I do think that is more of a cultural phenomenon than a snow quality issue, though.

  21. I’m a little late to the party but I wanted to say thanks for putting this post up – the points you make are solid.

    The sport of snowboarding has matured a lot and the mountains are such a wonderful place to be it seems a waste of energy worrying about what someone is using to play in them. It’s taken me a while to get to this point but I may take snowboard lessons next season; that smooth quality you described sounds appealing as does walking in a softer boot! We’ll see if my kids have progressed enough to give me the time to experiment.

  22. I’m a Telemark skier (I instruct Telemark and Alpine) so my bias is Telemark!
    I’m not a good snowboarder at all! (2 days practice), so I can’t judge for myself.
    Only from what I can see.

    So given your, Matt Gibson, clear experience I’m interest to know your take on the theory that snowboarder have a blind spot on there heal side.
    I’ve seen many many snowboarders hit skiers and it’s mostly when they can’t see them behind there held side, I find. What do you think?

    Personally I have nothing against good snowboarders,
    I do however take issue with some snowboarders who go on runs far to hard for them.
    I have notice that, and maybe an ironic reversing of the stereotype, they tend to be 14 year old boys trying to be a hero as they think that’s what the stereotype cool snowboarders should do.
    Not so say skier don’t do them same, but for reason I don’t understand there is ether less of them, or they end up hurting themselves before someone else.

    What you take?
    Do you know of any statistics?

    • Hi Liam,

      It is definitely true that snowboarders have a blind spot on their heel side. I’m sure this has caused problems before, but I doubt many, because skis and snowboards are so noisey that unless you are wearing an iPod, you can hear it when other skiers and riders get close to you.

      I personally have never noticed a difference between skiers and snowboarders when it comes to trying to tackle runs beyond their skill level. But, it’s possible that I just haven’t noticed.

      I have read some statistics on skier and snowboarder injuries. This is a good sheet to look at:


  23. Look I am a beginner and on the beginner slopes this problem is way worse, everywhere on the beginner slopes snowboarders sit, and not just for a moment. I mean I tried to start skiing, had to remove my skis and hike through a swarth of snowboarders. Put my skis back on and go.

    Skiers do stop at the edge, with a few rare exceptions. Snowboarders just sit where people want to ski (or board) and have a smoke and a drink and chat.

    This is more than just an equipment difference it is a difference in mentality.

    Matt Gibsons original article ignores this point and he attempts to flame Joe for pointing out that skiers normally stand to the side (Joes emphasis was “to the side” which Matt missed), spend any time on the slopes and it is factual that snowboards spend a lot more time immobile and tend to do so in the middle of the lane, to make it worse they tent to sit beside each other… when you have two or three sitting you have a big road block. When you have 4 groups of 3 sitting, well, you get the idea. Its an accident waiting to happen.

    Matt you should go back to the beginners areas and have a look – just ask “how can a beginner skier learn where there are now clear areas to ski into?”

    Perhaps they banned Snowboarders because the two aren’t really compatible with each other. I mean you can’t have people parking on a highway right? Logically it doesn’t work. Just facts, love snowboards, just wished the people who used them had a more social or considerate attitude.

  24. here is what’s up, in my opinion… I grew up in the east and skied a little, moved to Oregon and just did snowboarding. As I went from 28 yrs old to over 50, my feet hurt too much for snowboarding – unless in powder.

    The feet hurt because you use too many foot muscles to brake and slow down (carving is OK on the feet) – which explains why the kids on snowboards go “too fast”. To brake on skiis, it is the quads that do the work – and are much bigger muscles and are better suited for the job.

    Powder and park stuff ( I am only able to do “small” park features) are the most fun on snowboards. Park stunts are a great way to get ACL tears on skiis.

    The People: A few snowboarders are gutter trash – they smoke in line and on the lifts and on the slopes – which is my biggest complaint ( I hate cig smoke – and hate it more when I am exercising). AND buying a lift ticket is EXPENSIVE – so where does the “I’m poor and live under a bridge” attitude of snowboarders come from? Answer: wannabe losers.

    Also, I can remember the days before SB, when the skiers were DRUNK stupid a-holes.

    So what is the answer: 1. let the parks continue — AND BUILD SMALL STUNTS FOR THE NON-PROS LIKE ME!
    2. put in and enforce non-smoking rules 3. Set aside SOME runs for going slow – the SBs will stay away due to the pain in their feet

    For me? Since I HATE SB on hard-pack, I am going to get a pair of split boards and save money and get powder all at the same time. I’ll SB on powder days or days when I want to work on my park skills – and ski on the hardpack the other days.

    What do I have to say to skiers who hate SBs: YOU need to take control of your health, both mental and physical.

    If you are old and frail – you don’t want to be around a crowded slope with SBs bombing down the hill – I support designating some runs as “non-fast” — the old people can and should keep skiing – safely

    Last note: SBing on powder thru the trees is the BEST!

  25. I learned how to ski before I started snowboarding. As a beginner and novice snowboarder, I spent a lot of time sitting on the hill, but usually in the park waiting for my turn to hit a jump with fellow snowboarders and skiers. In 2000-2002, I had seasons passes to Mont Tremblant with my roommate (skier). We rode every weekend together and got good. Whatever runs our boards and skis told us to go on, that’s what we did., We never bothered to tell our board and skis that they were different from each other! Not sure if they would have believed us anyways!

    • Personally i wo2;nd&#8u17lt like that because that’s exactly my main grudge against DA:O, not romance part per se but thing that player character has all options so easily avaliable , i can commit atrocieties one second and then noble deeds next, without any effort, i can be friendly and cheerfull and then cold and abusive, all with one or two easy clicks, in the end all these moral choices, decisions, romances come rather flat and forgetable.

  26. Matt, I appreciate that you’re a strong snowboarder, and I’ve definitely met other snowboarders like you, but I’ve also seen countless snowboarders who fit your “BS stereotypes”. Snowboarders who take forever to get set up after getting off the lift. Snowboarders who take a seat in the middle of the run every 30feet. Hell, I’ve seen a snowboarder take a seat at the landing ramp for a jump, causing an injury when a skiier took the jump and couldn’t see the snowboarder till midair!

    My point is, when people think you’re not like other snowboarders, those “other snowboarders” are real and there’s a helluva lot of them out there. So I don’t think you should take offense at those kinds of comments.

  27. Snowboarding, skiing, “scraping off all the snow,” “uptight mogul heads,” “lazy potheads,” “uptight douches”…….who gives a crap???? Everybody go out and shred some pow!!!!!!!!

    • I do. When the snow is gone, ice is much less enjoyable to ski down. Not that I’m against snowboarding in general, but it appears there are more obnoxious snowboarders than there are obnoxious skiers. This could be because of the natural human nature of not seeing flaws of people like you, and picking out flaws of people who are different to establish dominance. There are plenty of good people and douchebags of both ways of getting down a mountain. I personally have encountered more reckless and out of control snowboarders than skiers. This may be because of the limited mobility, or the side scraping capability, or just because it is human nature to see flaws in those different.

      • There are more obnoxious skiers than obnoxious snowboarders. This forum is pretty much the statistical proof – nonstop crying and complaining from skiers over minutiae, “Get over it, man” from the boarders. You guys are pretty much too uptight *for golf*.

  28. Referring to the video, I don’t want to see Alta, Deer Valley, or Mad River Glen allow snowboarders because it will add a significant amount of visitors to the mountains each day and make the lift lines longer. I’m from New England and Mad River Glen is always a nice visit cause its almost always ski down and directly onto the lift without having to wait. Unless there is some kind of festival going on of course

  29. OK, so people say that skiing is not as great as snow boarding. Well that is just plain stupid. People aren’t being very smart. Skiing is just overall better. Wow not using your brain I see. SKIING, SKIING!!!!!! The best sport is SKIING!!!!!!!!! Now use your brain and pick skiing!!!!!!! If you don’t like skiing, well keep your mouth shut and still vote for skiing. USE YOUR BRAIN!!!!!!
    A message from ski world

    • After so many emotional and derogatory comments in this thread, it’s nice to finally see a reasonable and well-thought-out reply.

      Thank you Ski World. You have shown us the intelligence and maturity of the skiers point of view.

  30. Interesting thread. I have to confess I’m one of ‘those beginner snowboarders’ (only been at it 2 years). I’m in my 30’s, I’m as considerate as I can be and know I’m still learning. I think there’s a lot of skiers out there that forget what it’s like to still be learning something.
    I’ve been shouted at and given abuse by skiers because I’ve caught an edge on a flat section and ended up on my arse. I’ve been cut up by skiers going too fast on slow sections…….this doesn’t tar my image of skiers as I know most are decent types who have respect for those around them but then there’s some that are just arrogant arseholes! I’m sure the same applies for snowboarders.
    I have hit a skier once, we were both beginners (I only had 2 weeks experience) and 2 poorly timed turns from both of us ended up with a collision. We both took responsibility for what we’d done wrong, helped each other up exchanged a joke and carried on. Shit happens, especially when there’s 100’s of people going on a run.
    There’s a couple of comments from instructors taking groups early on in the thread, they state that they have students and instructors taken out ‘all the time’. Does it occur to them that they’re a much bigger obstacle than most……my worst nightmare is a ski school with 10-15 kids strung out in a line following their instructor making slow turns down a slope, this can cover the whole run – my passing may not be graceful but I at least try and do it with respect for their space…..the worst crash I’ve seen was two teenagers in a ski school who came flying through a lift queue completely out of control, took out around 15 people in one go….

    As for sitting down, I’ve only ever done it at the side of a run unless of course I’m getting up after catching an edge…

    Oh and quick note to the skiers out there, if you put your poles and skis on top of my board and under my feet in the lift queue I’m liable to get irritated 🙂

  31. HI Matt,

    It is indeed very interesting article, but the problem you were trying to solve is not a problem of snowboard vs ski. It is a problem of group A vs group B. For people who are interested there is a great research done by Muzafer Sherif (
    The Robbers Cave experiment). In a nutshell people who associate themselves with a particular group (snowboarders, cyclists, skiers,….) have a great chance of developing a strong bias against competing group. And one of the best ways to remove this bias is to force people from both groups to work together. And by forcing I mean to make it impossible to achieve any progress without collaboration. Maybe that is why Pros are tolerable, they just know that working together benefits everyone.

    Which leads to an unfortunate conclusion: explaining, mixing (like whites and blacks in the same class), talking, asking to sign a petition – just doesn’t work. Bad or good, that is the nature of human physiology that helped us to survive.

    And quick question to haters, who should hate me, because I:
    Ice skate
    Ride a motorcycle
    Program computers.
    Was born in Belarus.
    and do zillions of other things.

    Also, there are multiple subgroups inside each of groups.
    Motorcycle: dirt, supermoto, supersport,…
    Bicycle: mountain, road.

    and so on.

    So, even though it is quite obvious, that there is no reason (read: dumb) to think that a person is 100% defined by a single hobby, people still categorize people based on inadequate information, then judge them based on categorization and then stick to these believes to the very end.

    For people who want to start understanding how our brain works I recommend to read: “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman. Really cool book that explains a lot.

  32. I have personally vowed not to snowboard ever again. Despite years of experience, I still basically suck at it. I scrape off all the snow and get so tired that I sit down constantly with little thought as to where I am or whom it might be affecting. It was fun to be a lousy snowboarder in 1983 when all of 5 or so people were doing it on an entire mountain, and getting strange looks was the whole idea. but nowadays the price (to others) for being a bad snowboarder is way too high. I miss the relaxed pace and relative quiet of skiing, so for the good of all, I am putting the board down now and backing away slowly. 🙂

    • I can definitely understand that decision. While I do still strap on the skis once in a while (I skied from 3 to 13 years old) I’m way better at snowboarding.

      For any single person, I always recommend sticking with what you know best. It will always be more fun. There’s no need to spend precious days on the hill learning a new way to ride when you already have a good option.

  33. Essentially I do agree with this article. A few things strike me as objectively wrong though. The insinuation that snowboarding is simply a more natural feeling is wrong. The idea that side slipping snowboarders and skiers displace the same amount of pow may be correct, but the truth is that the gung ho ho ho attitude of the average boarder means that it’s much more common to see some Jerry snowboarder ruining your run than it is for a skier to do the same. And come on. You forgot about how fast we skiers can go. Terminal Skiing velocity is ruthless in comparison to that of boarding every time. But overall these differences are negligible. Were all just playing in the snow.

    • Are you an experienced snowboarder?

      I’ve been both and I can honestly say that snowboarding absolutely does have a more natural, flowing feel. On anything that’s not just a flat groomer, riding requires a lot of reading and playing off the natural curves of the terrain. On skis you don’t have to worry about maintaining speed or smooth consistent transitions between turns. Riding moguls comes close but feels more like fighting to stay within the line than adapting and conforming to it.

      “…Jerry snowboarder ruining your run”

      I could say the same for skiers who feel the need to rush and immediately hit the trees after a fresh snowfall and track it out into shit quality, malformed moguls. My favorite section of trees where I’ve spent many days carving new tracks is now a regular minefield of garbage mogul lines. The reason? The resort had to thin the trees due to widespread beetle kill. It’s sparse enough now that skiers hit it and inevitably destroy the natural flow/landscape of the snow.

      Some runs are and will always be dedicated to bumps. I know what good mogul runs look like, I have spent many days building good straight mogul lines in fresh snow, I have spent many more days riding varying degrees of good and crap quality moguls. Do us all a favor and quit trying to make the trees yet another crap set of moguls.

      • Cant wait til the actual full comparison is up. PS3 version looks fine so far but I’ll just wait til teh full head to head is up before making my mind. Ive got Max Payne 3 to keep me occupied in the meantime.VN:R_U [16]r17_11.19( 0 votes)

  34. I like to do both: I am a beginner boarder and an advanced-to-expert skier. My issue is that in general it is common for more skilled snow players to be disdainful of those less skilled than them. Disclaimer: I am 45, been skiing for 30 years, though I am one of those “weekend warriors” the author mentions, but I always try to be respectful of others on the slopes while at the same time always trying to extend my skill envelope. In my experience, it’s when I am trying to work a double black mogul run that I will inevitably run into someone who is not happy with my rate of speed or form through the run and will let me know about it, either with a middle finger, or some verbal insult (as they boarded past me), in every case (anecdotal, I admit) this has been a snowboarder. Every skier that has said something has either asked / alerted to pass or has been encouraging.

    What never fails to surprise me is that on two occasions, when I chased down the individual in question, once after a snowboarder yelled an insult at me while I was trying to coach my two boys through some icy, steep moguls, when I chased the guy down at the lift line, he was *genuinely* shocked that my response to a middle finger and profanity was to get in his face and to demand that he repeat what he said to-my-face (I am 6′ 240lbs and a competitive powerlifter). Of course he wasn’t nearly so candid when I was standing right next to him. In both cases these were guys I their late 20’s early 30’s who should have known better…I would expect that behavior from a teenager, but somewhat shocked to have it from a grown-up. I suppose that this sort of thing is emblematic of society in general rather than confined to the snow lovers; however it has been my experience that snowboarders are more likely to breach etiquette than are skiers.

  35. 5th season snowboarder here:
    -I’ve basically never seen any snowboarders “sitting in the middle of the trail at random.” Frigging nonsense.
    -The superior, snotty attitude from skiiers is WAY worse than any punk-ness in snowboarders. I mean, you may find a punk snowboarder park rat here and there, but EVERY skier assumes they’re better than you.
    -I traverse like a boss, as do most intermediate snowboarders. Your beef is is with beginners, usually kids, learning the sport, and you know, picking on them? It’s kinda pathetic.
    Oh, I’m sorry, are the neophytes occasionally getting scared and scraping YOUR snow? Puhleeze. If there’s that little snow to go around, you have bigger troubles than an occasional side-skiddding newbie.

    I’m sticking to snowboarding for a number of reasons, but primarily snowboarding is much less wear and tear on your knees. Yeah, I struggle to cross country, but you’ll be getting replacement knees and I won’t. Have fun with that.

  36. Great article.

    Perhaps this is just my experience, but it always seems as though your average ‘weekend-warrior’ snowboarder likes to be a little ‘freer’ with how they get down the hill, any hill, and not be too constrained by pisted terrain, following tracks etc. etc.
    Snowboarders seem to make and choose their own line down the hill, side-country, trees, crossing between pistes etc. And it looks like they’re having a good time doing it.
    Of course skiers do this as well, but it just seems that more snowboarders of an intermediate level do this, and make a bloody good time of it. Somehow it seems that many skiers of an intermediate level seem to want to ‘just stick to the piste’ etc.
    I like this ‘free-ride’ concept, and as a pretty keen skier I will often ride around with a group of snowboarders, because I always seem to have a better time than when I am with a group of intermediate skiers, who often seem to be ‘picky’ about the light, the piste condition, boots hurting etc.

    I ski because its what I do, but a big part of me prefers sharing the experience on the hill with snowboarders – it often seems more relaxed, more adventurous, and more fun.

  37. It’s kinda comical that this is still an argument. The 3 mountains you named that ban snowboarding are hardly notable on the international scene.

    Back when snowboarding first started there was a lot of friction. For instance, Vail initially talked about banning snowboarding but quickly changed course once they realized how much revenue they stood to lose.

    I started skiing in CO in ’96. Was riding shooting mogul lines on double blacks in my early teens and transitioned to snowboarding in my middle teens (mostly for the challenge and fear of ruining my knees riding bumps).

    There was a point where both cultures were split and boarders had more of a negative image. With advances in technology and riding style/ability skiers can commonly be found in terrain parks, and boarders can be found anywhere else on the mountain. In many cases, skiers and boarders ride together and who people ride with is based more on ability than what they’re riding on.

    Personality clashes and bad mountain etiquette is usually found where beginners mix closer to the base of the mountain. There you have a really bad mix of a few groups.

    1. Pretentious tourist skiers who walk around with a sense of entitlement and complete lack of self-awareness. These are the type who suddenly stop in the middle of the run completely at random and for no reason, stop at the top of jumps/rollers to take pictures, and generally seem confused when people get mad at them for violating common mountain etiquette.

    2. East/West coasters who have lots of experience scraping across icy/sluff, eager to hard charge on terrain they’re not used to.

    I’m not hating, the struggle is real. I started on Buck Hill so I’ve been there. There is a huge difference between Colorado riding and riding smaller hills of mostly ice/sluff. Blacks in some states are equivalent to greens/blues here. The adjustment can be difficult and intimidating at first.

    Sometimes these guys/gals bring their preconceived notions about how skiers/snowboarders should act. Sometimes they completely lack good riding etiquette. Either way, somebody more experienced will come along and put them in their place.

    3. Park rats who just want to hard charge for the park for their next set.

    Note: I said ‘terrain’ not ‘board’ park. Specifically, because there are a lot more freestyle skiers today than in the past and many freestyle skiers are as good or better than the freestyle boarders. Maybe it’s because CO attracts a lot of world-class pros, either way I’ve seen a LOT of really badass skiers in the park.

    It should be very easy to avoid these guys/gals. Pick a park on the map, find the closest chair to the park, the straightest path to/from the chair to the park, and avoid it.

    It’s inevitable, park rats will play on and off the park wherever possible.

    If you get freaked out by people randomly throwing spins off rollers or flying out of the trees in the air doing tricks, just stay away from the park. At the absolute, very least; do not ever stop in a blind spot, at the base of a jump, at the top of a jump, or below a jump on the edge of the trail anywhere near a terrain park (or anywhere else on the mountain if possible).

    4. Beginner skiers, snowboarders, and their reluctantly supportive friends who would likely rather be riding anywhere else than on the bunny hills.

    Beginners all suck. All of us were beginners at one time so we can empathize. A lot of the time us more experienced riders will ride alongside our beginner friends/girlfriends/family for support despite the fact that we’d rather be anywhere else.

    In terms of beginners, just keep an eye out for those who are trying so hard to not fall on their ass that they completely lack the ability to be aware of their surroundings. They’re like drivers who spend more time talking/texting on their phones than paying attention to the road.

    In terms of us reluctant/supportive friends. To cope, we’ll usually seek ways to entertain ourselves. Jumping off stuff, goofing off, riding in a manner that looks reckless to the uninitiated. What many beginner skiers/riders perceive as fast, dangerous, lacking control may just be the usual riding that you’d expect to see elsewhere on the mountain.

    The way I ride on bunny slopes is a mishmash of constant transitions between switch/regular, 180 pops of anything I can find, buttering, and occasional I’ll huck a front-side spin 360/540 off a roller and butter out the landing. It’s like the drunken masters style of boarding.

    Transitioning switch-regular-switch, etc allows me to scan the terrain. I fall a lot but in a controlled manner where I can pop back up. I ride fast usually but with much more control and self-awareness than most. Basically, I’m riding in an area below my ability but trying to still have fun.

    Frankly, I feel a hell of a lot safer cutting fresh lines in a densely forested section off trail than I do weaving around unaware, and unpredictable beginner riders. That’s why I stay away from the base of the mountain.

    My advice, avoid riding in areas below your ability as often as possible.

    Unfortunately, for those who haven’t grown to that skill level yet the only option is learning to ride among a see of other beginner riders. Don’t push too far beyond your ability and learn to be aware of your surroundings as soon as possible.


    On a completely unrelated note. In terms of skiing vs snowboarding.

    I found skiing much easier to learn. Mostly, it required getting over the fear of riding bigger and bigger stuff. Learning to stop, cleanly transition, and eventually ride moguls properly took practice; but underlying fundamentals required to learn those skills are pretty intuitive.

    Even after 5 years of skiing, learning to snowboard was downright painful. Not falling was difficult, riding straight without catching an edge seemed downright impossible at first, cleanly transitioning on both edges took a lot of practice. Even after riding for a few seasons it took a while to realize that my riding was sloppy and I still needed to learn how to properly carve. Switch was the most difficult to tackle. I spent 3 entire days in the early season just transitioning between switch/regular so I could learn to feel my edges blindly. I’m finally at the point where I can ride anywhere on both switch and regular. With the ability to switch fluently at any time I can effectively ride twice as hard/long as I used to be able to.

    Chances are, unless I’m playing park rat for the day there’s little chance you’ll see the boarders or skiers I ride with. We’re usually off in search of freshies or exploring the trees.

    Among advanced/expert riders (skiers and boarders alike) there is absolutely no animosity. We sometimes give each other shit but it’s always tongue-in-cheek.

  38. As a baby boomer taking up a snow sport in 2003, I chose skis over a snowboard. Looking back at ski hill issues over the years- stupid people are the problem, not the hardware. I’ve been on Brecks 4 O’clock ski home run where you need to maintain what little speed you have before it flats out. Parents will stop in the run wherever they please, to deal with their kid’s hat/bib/diaper then yell as you pass, “this is a slow zone”. Really? not so on my trail map.
    Snowboarder groups often stop and all sit next to each other to chat blocking a majority of a trail. On a catwalk on the back side of Vail I had 3 women on skis stopped to take in the view, totally blocking the trail, ignoring my approach on a flat as I tried to maintain a school zone 15 mph that I was going. I wasn’t gonna stop & pole because of 3 idiots, I yelled “coming through” as they begrudgingly moved out of the way.
    And the winner is:
    In 2010, on the first day of a 10 day ski trip & my 1st time wearing a helmet, on a traverse trail, front side of Vail, A snowboarder was stopped on the left and right as I approached at say 30 mph he slow slides across the narrow trail (going to a blind drop off of a BLACK DIAMOND MOGUL RUN! I had no time to decide to hit the wall, go off the edge or hit him. Our heads banged together, my helmet saved us but he bent my new Scott dayglow pole. So much for the intelligence of that Expert Terrain Snowboarder.

  39. Matt,
    Thanks for the article, very interesting read. What’s your take on the whole “snowboarding’s dying/dead” thing?
    I’m going for my first ski/snowboard trip ever in a month and am largely undecided about which to choose lessons for. Snowboarding sounds a lot more naturally fun to me as I enjoy longboarding!

    • Thanks Jimmy. Glad you liked it.

      RE: Snowboarding dying
      If you read the stats, snowboarding is definitely in a decline, but that doesn’t mean it’s dying.

      If you look at the last 4-5 seasons of snow and the likely effects of climate change, the future of the whole snowsport industry is looking bleak.

      I literally emailed my brother (snowboard instructor in Japan) a few days ago about the decline snowfall telling him that I’m seriously considering turning all my attention to surfing and just giving up on snowboarding because of terrible conditions.

      Those two things aside, snowboarding is not dying. Snowboarding is part of a long tradition of board sports that is timeless. It includes surfing, skateboarding, wakeboarding, kite (and wind) surfing.

      Even if snowboarding dies a commercial death (like skateboarding did) there will always be hardcores out there riding somewhere.

      As far as lessons go, my advice is always the same:

      If you want to learn to get up and have fun as fast as possible in a short time, learn to ski.

      If you want to learn to the sport that (IMO) is the most fun in the long term, learn to snowboard.

  40. You see more douchebaggery being perpetuated by riders because a) they are human and a lot of humans are asses, and b) there are simply more of riders vs skiiers (at least where I live) and snowboarding is overwhelmingly the popular choice with young dudes with attitudes. They are not all like that of course, it’s just rare to find teens in any sport that are going to be competent, rule abiding, and mature. I blame demographics over the sport.

    I think the #1 thing that bothers me rather than all this stuff, is the mountain being too crowded. I just want my space to do my thing, stay away from me! (unlike the snowboarder that took out my elderly skiing mother from behind, injuring her)

    Novice kid skiiers are also plenty dangerous, they can get going real fast on skiis.

  41. I’ve been skiing for 40 years, snowboarding for 22 years, ( Gave it away for 6 years after having kids then my wife ruined everything by making them do a day at the snow and the little buggers loved it, has cost me a fortune ever since ) my body can’t cope with my skill level (Skiing that is, moguls just aren’t the same at 50) so I am always swapping, sometimes on a 2 hourly basis between the two sports, (so some of my muscles get a break) and I love them both. Just got back from Japan where I did snowboard more as I think its just feels better, cooler, but I had more magic moments on the skis busting through powder in the trees in the steeps…..sooo lucky.
    Sounds like there may be a lot of anger due to crowded slopes in USA as I have never been abused or seen abuse of people in Canada/Japan/Australia, kinda puts me off sliding (That’s what we all do) there. I think the biggest problem with snowboards is only the one edge to stop, steer etc, it all just takes bit more space on the hardpack and that extra foot taken combined with the slightly limited vision due to the stance can cause a collision, but it just means you board accordingly but you can’t always allow for other peoples actions and the more people, the more collisions…..
    As for agro between us all, stupid, stupid, stupid, as you may have kids one day and one wants only to ski and the other mainly snowboard, or your knees won’t cope with skiing anymore and boarding could be your only option, or you could meet a stunning girl who only snowboards………..and you only ski!!!! or……….

    • interesting, ive been considering dropping snowboarding and buying an AT setup for back country, i already have bad knees though and am an expert snowboarder (25 years), intermediate skier (5 years). but u say it will be harder on my knees? when thinking about getting old and skiing and snowboarding i cant help but think snowboarding would be much harder as u basically have to sit down every time u put ur fucking binding on, where as in skiing there is more control with 4 edges and u dont have to worry about speed as much as u can just push ur way through flat spots.. plus whenever u stop u dont have to sit. so many benefits to skiing in old age. just dont pound ur knees in moguls…

      THE ONLY THING SNOWBOARDING IS BETTER AT IS THE SURF FEELING IN POWDER AND JUMPS, other then that skiing is better in every way

      im just apprehensive about faffing with splitboards, plus most of the people i know who ski backcountry dont snowboard…

      if anyone out there is on the fence on what sport to learn, learn to ski, its easier/better in almost every way

  42. Matt, excellent post, thank you.

    I’m a boarder, and I think you missed a key difference between boarders and skiers.

    It occurred to me because I tend to be more aggressive than my skiing counterparts who are at the same skill level.

    It’s this: It’s no big deal when I hit the deck. I just pop back up and keep going. For a skier it’s a massive amount of drama. Untangle your legs and/or gather up your yard-sale, get everything lined up, clean the snow off your boots, try to stomp in, try again, and again, etc., etc.

    I think this results in skiers being more cautious than boarders in general.

    Combine that with the blind spot, and I think it’s a good bet that boarders as a group are at least slightly more dangerous.

    With that said, I find beginning / intermediate skiers harder to predict than boarders. I’m not sure why that is, any insights?

  43. I don’t care about traffic, speed, or courtesy. I avoid crowded areas. I don’t care about any safety or social arguments. What bothers me most is seeing a beautiful, tight, even, mogul field in the making being butchered by a bunch of punks. I would object equally to novice skiers side-scraping their way down such a section, but the beginner skiers avoid such terrain. Snowboarders try to argue that novice boarders damage moguls no more than novice skiers. BS! Snowboarding by its nature involves wider turns, and is completely incompatible with mogul skiing. Snow boarding is fine where it is appropriate. Off-Piste, or at least away from the bumps! Go away Dweebs!

    • I definitely understand your frustration.

      There are only two types of snowboarders that willingly choose to ride a mogul run:

      1) Extremely good snowboarders who enjoy riding moguls.
      2) Inexperienced snowboarders who don’t know how brutal snowboarding moguls is.

      However, to my knowledge #1 as never been confirmed to exist because snowboarding on moguls fucking sucks. They are and should be the domain of skiers.

  44. On the up side, id say that this rule would mean that there would be a whole lot less di*kheads on other fields around the area, they would all be at Alta! So you would get a better hang with cooler people everywhere else…

  45. As a skier, I have never had an issue with snowboarders until I started to teach my kids to ski.

    We have had several near collisions and one actuall collision. The combo of a young skier who’s blind spot is behind them with Wide turns, and the snowboarder’s natural blind spot, in combo with not obeying the code, has been the problem.

    Off course there have been several skiers who ignore the code and do not yield the hill to the downhill skier/snowboarder, but their typical ability to hockey stop and also see the skier they are not yielding to has, so far’as I have seen, have mitigated problems.

    Any issue with the blind spot of a snowboarder can, and should be, mitigated by checking down on speed, especially when on a green run or when trails start to converge near the lifts, so here is me pleaing to all the riders out there to slow down and yield to the bottom skier/riders; if you don’t you may just find your collision is with my 240lb self as I play fullback and protect my little halfbacks down hill from me, and I will make sure it is collision you won’t forget.

    Since my son was run over by a snowboarder, I have had to point out all the nice boarders, which have been many, so he doesn’t grow up to think all riders “are bad and rude.”

    Oh, lastly dope smoking, drinking, swearing, linecutting park rats are rats no matter if they are on skis or a board and they aren’t the majority of even the park riders.

  46. I am a skier I love skiing and think it is way better than snowboarding but there are stupid skiers and boarders Lots of my family boards I love going to the hill with them and snowboarders Are always commenting on me nicely It just depends on the person not what they are wearing

  47. You can’t change radius of your turn, it is done by construction of your ski/snowboard. By having 2 skis its (theoreticaly) the same thing as having just one. Its more about stability and ability to bend your knees to sides while having your weight still above the skis, on the other hand on snowboard you just cant bend your knees as much, because of our biology. Thats why you can get into higher speeds while on skis in giant slalom than on snb.

  48. Snowboarder here. I have been cut off by skiers and snowboarders. People make mistakes and I don’t judge people because of their mistakes. It’s not the device they ride but more the mentality. I have seen noobs regardless on skis or snowboards bomb hills doing speeds way above their abilities. It happens all the time.

  49. Skiing is to scooters as snowboarding is to skateboarding.

    I’ve skied over 20 years and snowboarded for the last 5. No comparison. Snowboarding is much fun and way more difficult.

    There are douchebags on both sides but I see it mostly from biased bull-headed Sear-parker wearing skiers.

  50. I only know how to snowboard; and i definitely think its a learning level and the element of control at the beginning; ; like many I was taught by a friend – and in the begining stages never really understanding the control level- falling/ going too fast/ losing control.. and i think it comes with time- but perhaps learning with an instructor is more beneficial.. especially in those early stages. But in saying this… i have been wiped out by skiers on a number of occasions- including whilst stationary at the bottom of the slope queing for the lift; and whilst taking a rest on the very very edge of the slope. i always try to be aware of my surroundings.

    I think its more a case of learning technique as quickly as possible and to be aware and considerate of others on the slope. Saying that I have on several occasions been made to feel ‘lesser’ like an immature teenager by skiers. I guess its each to their own! But sure- we should all be bonding over our love for winter sports.

    I think there is no ‘better sport’; only the one which you personally prefer- i wont lie; i chose snowboarding over skiing because i thought it seemed far cooler! but again; each to their own!

  51. I’m a skier and I have a very close boarder friend who I’ve been doing weekend trips with the past couple years. We seem to be about at the same level. From what she tells me, I’m surprised that you feel you can do 99.9% of the same terrain a skier could, just with a little more effort, and enjoy it too.

    I’m happy to ski whatever you put in front of me; groomers, bumps, bumps with ice in the troughs, crud, powder, steeps, the park, or trees. All of it feels somewhat natural for me and I love it all. Even ice doesn’t phase me that much; it’s not fun, but I can always just hockey-slide through it or avoid it with some good route-finding skills. My boarder friend CAN ride all of that, but I feel she really doesn’t love most tree runs, bumps, or even the smallest amount of ice. Not to mention, she seems quite flustered by any amount of having to pop a boot out and skate. I actually am afraid to take her to my favorite mountain, Snowbird, because I remember all the poling I had to do to get to the best runs there. You mention keeping speed leading up to traverses and cat tracks, which I do as a skier too, but you have to be respectful of downhill skiers who have the right of way, even if they’re being oblivious and taking up the whole slope. I see this happen all the time with my boarder friend; I click my poles to let people know I’m passing them, while she ends up getting cut off.

    “Hitting ice on a board is scarier and so much harder; I trust the snow to push back and suddenly it doesn’t”, “bumps require so much work to swing my hips around and there’s ice between them” (are you not able to turn on top of the bumps like I try to do?), “I can’t jump-turn down steeps like you can on skis, so I have to bomb some fast S-turns”, “These trees are far too tight to fit a snowboard”, “I can’t stop unless I sit down”. There seems to often be a “this is so much harder on a snowboard” excuse, which is sad, because I want her to enjoy as much of the terrain that I enjoy as she can! And none of this evens scrapes the surface of the shortcomings she feels with snowboard tech: her boots and bindings never feel tight enough, and have to be replaced every couple seasons because parts break and the fabric gets soft, meanwhile I can rock a pair of ski boots for more than 5 years.

    Do you really feel the technical shortcomings of a snowboard are as limited as you say they are? I’ve always felt she might be able to learn some more technique to make varied terrain more fun, but I do feel I can’t really suggest much technique since I have zero experience on a board. Perhaps some of this comes from the fact that I grew up skiing the “Ice Coast” where we ski now, and she’s a transplant from Mammoth mountain; I’m used to and unphased by mixed conditions and long flat sections of trail.

    A few notes: 1. Excellent article BTW! 2. She does absolutely enjoy almost everything we ski, but I’m always a little sad when I feel I just hit a sick line and we stop for a breather and she says something along the lines of, “That was pretty icy.” or “Those bumps were way too big.” or I look up and she’s somehow avoiding the 5 feet of soft snow on the edges of the trail. 3. Her passion for riding park has encouraged me to hop back on the jumps and boxes after injuring myself on a jump about a decade ago. It’s been quite a beneficial friendship for both of us!


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