There will always be a debate as to which one is better - skiing or snowboarding. I've tried both, but personally prefer boarding. The fact that I nearly killed myself last time I strapped on the skis may also have something to do with it though!
Both sports are expensive and to even kit up with the basics can cost hundreds of pounds. Common sense would suggest that by the very nature of the sport you will be taking on cold snowy mountains and as such, good quality, waterproof, breathable clothing is necessary. A decent jacket alone should cost over £100 new, but there are a few second hand bargains available or cheaper options at the likes of TK Maxx if you don't mind wearing last season's styles.
A decent pair of waterproof trousers should also be bought before hitting the slopes, as everyone falls over at some point! Again, expect to pay anything above £50 for a really good pair, but shopping around can net bargains.
Other than a woolly hat or crash helmet for the more anxious, the only other thing you really need is a good pair of gloves. The gloves I first purchased had a wrist guard built in and I can really recommend these as wrist injuries are quite common owing to the nature of the sport. Again, remember that it will be cold, so buy a good quality pair as you will be exposed to the conditions for a good period of time.
Personally I've never bought a board, boots and bindings as I've just hired these from wherever I've visited. The benefits to this are obviously not having to lug all that kit to and from an airport and have to pay the extra baggage. Also, wear and tear on the board is expected and if anything goes wrong, you can simply ask for a replacement or repair at the hire shop. The downside is that if you go regularly, you will be losing out as the hire can be expensive and also you will not get boots or a board that is truly geared to your style.
Learning to board is relatively straightforward and the basics can be picked up in a couple of lessons. After that, it is all about practice. I learnt at the Snowdome in Tamworth and I have to say that there is a world of difference going from this to real snow - it became so much easier! That being said, I would still recommend learning first in the UK as if you can master the technique at home, you will find it far easier on holiday and can hit those slopes from day one as opposed to watch all your mates hit the lifts whilst you have lessons at the bottom!
The technique with snowboarding really revolves around the "heel" and "toe" method. Without ski poles, the only way you have to propel yourself is through the natural slope, so all speed is controlled through your turns. "Heel" and "Toe" basically refers to the method of leaning your weight on to either thus pivoting the board and allowing it to move from side to side
Once the basics have been mastered, the real fun starts. The beauty of boarding is that off piste and jumps are far more accessible and exciting than skiing. Simple jumps can be mastered quickly and with more practice, tricks can be attempted. Be aware that some of these are not for the feint hearted and injuries can and do occur. Take it easy and learn slowly, you will soon be amazed at your progress.
Boarding is generally viewed as the "cooler" of the two sports and the fashion side of them (even at this year's Winter Olympics) are very different. Snowboarding was always viewed as a bit of a rebellion to skiing so baggy jackets and clothing are generally worn by boarders as opposed to the traditional skiiers all in one skisuits. Snowboarding clothing tends to verge on the more outlandish as well with crazy designs and colours being de rigeur.
I find snowboarding a great sport. It is expensive to get into but once you've got the basics, the costs stay pretty level. It is an exhilirating sport and one that can be quickly picked up. If you haven't tried it before, please do, it is a great sport.
Snowboarding is my passion, i have ridden for over 7 years since i was 13. I decided to learn after a few years skiing, i quickly found myself bored and frustrated. In my opinion skiing lacks the passion and creativity snowboarding can offer.
When you decide to take the plunge and learn to snowboard i would advise taking advantage of the great facilities located within the British isles. There are two options to choose from, artificial dry slopes or indoor Snowdomes, the later are, in my opinion the superior option as they provide a true representation of the sport, showcasing just how fun it can be! There are six snowdomes throughout England and Scotland, located in Tamworth, Milton Keynes, Manchester, Castleford, Hemel Hempstead and Glasgow. Lessons are fairly expensive at first glance, but when looked into are in fact a solid investment. Whether your aim is to go on winter holidays or simply to stay snowboarding in the UK it is a rewarding experience. I would strongly advise learning before going on holiday, even if it is just an hours taster session, it will give you a head start and mean less time on the nursery slopes!
There are two different disciplines within the sport, Freestyle snowboarding is closely associated with the sports skateboarding roots. Freestyle riding is usually completed within terrain parks on obstacles such as kickers (jumps) and rails. Freeride snowboarding (also known as All Mountain Snowboarding) refers to a rider who takes on everything the mountain has to offer, this is therefore the most popular form of snowboarding as it encompasses everything that is good about the sport.
When purchasing a snowboard you must first concentrate on finding a good pair of boots, they must be comfortable and durable. Your local winter sports shop will be more than happy to help you find the right pair for you. When buying the board you need to consider many attributes, firstly the size is extremely important, too large and it will be hard to turn as your body weight will not be sufficient, too short and you will have limited stability. The shape and flexibility of the board are also extremely important and are largely affected by the style of riding you intend to partake. For example some freestyle riders use extremely short, flexible boards to ride rails at they are easy to maneuver, this board would not be of any use whilst riding powder however because the smaller surface area of the base would soon sink into the deep snow.
When someone used the term 'Off Piste' they are referring to snowboarding away from the controlled pistes of which are maintained by the CAT drivers. Riders seek out the deepest, lightest snow away from the crowds, it can often be a rewarding experience. Off Piste riding can however, be extremely dangerous; the threat of avalanches is ever present and strikes fear in the mid of everybody, professionals included. This means it is important be to be competent before you venture away from the pistes and must be with a group at all times! Riding Off Piste on you own is dangerous!
When considering locations to snowboard, the possibilities are endless! It is always snowing somewhere in the world, which means there is always somewhere to ride! During our winter months the favorite locations are the european Alps, Canada and USA. My tip for future trips however is Japan, it is rapidly becoming a world class destination for winter sports and the levels of snow are unbelievable, far supreme when compared to the likes of France and Canada. Living expenses are also fairly cheap, mainly as a result of cheap lift passes and board hire.
As for our summer months the obvious choice is New Zealand, Wanaka is the town of choice due to it's great location and community. The terrain park is one of the best in the world, which is why so many freestyle riders are attracted.
To conclude, snowboarding is a fun, exciting and rewarding sport which is far more accessible than most people believe. I would advise anyone to give it a go, you may just find a long lost passion!
Well just got back from The 3 Valles and practically no snow. But on the lower slopes i could practice snowboarding. Sure once you know how to do it, its ok but if your learning take a cushion because the atificial snow hurts. So if you are going to try it remember cushion! and get the right board. There are clip-in boards and buckles. It depends on which you prefer really but make sure you get the bindings right. I am a Goofy foot (I walk right foot first). But you could be normal (left foot first). Also ask the shop attendant for the right lenght board. That is it really.
Snowboarding is a sport for the youth. Lets face it, when have you ever seen an old man or woman bombing it down a slope on a board, doing grabs and so on (no offence if you happen to be an old man or woman snowboarder) (NB. However, it was pointed out to me that there are a lot of old snowboarders, 'ancient' was the exact word, in Austria, sorry for all the confusion there). Exactly, there are none (see previous point). If you want to be noticed when on a winter holiday snowboard, dont ski. Sorry to be frank but its the truth. Nobody turns their head to watch a skier go past, unless he happens to be pretty amazing, but as a snowboarder shoots past someone on his board edge, jumping mogles rather than skiing round them, people watch. However, I sympathise with those of you who think to themselves 'I can see where he is coming from, but I've never snowboarded before and i dont want to waste my holiday trying to, ending up on my arse'. My answer to that is: You will only be on your arse for one or two days maximum, guaranteed, as long as you give it your best. The learning curve is extremely steep, and you'll find the first day takes a lot out of you, so go get drunk after your day who cares then what your legs feel like?! The next day you will wake up, strap your board on and find you can make it down a green without falling, no joke, you have to trust me on this one. You will only continue to improve, i've snowboarded for about 3 weeks in my whole life, maybe four, and i can grab, flip (nearly!) and so on, and i've NEVER been severly injured. And to be honest, once you have learnt the basics, there are places you can go in any resort where you no longer feel out of place. All you blokes out there can go to the boarding snow parks to impress the ladies or check out other peoples moves, and you ladies can do that too, or just go to the snow parks to bat your eye lids to all the 'gorgeous' (although obviousl
y not in my opinion!) blokes! If you still really dont want to spend your only week of a whole year at a winter resort snowboarding, rather than skiing which you are better at, i suggest going half and half (you would have to swap your skis part way through the week for a board if you hire them, there is not normally an extra charge for this). That is what i did for the first two times i tried it, and now if i go snowboarding noone can get me to leave the slopes until the lifts close down. After that I STRONGLY suggest going down to an after ski bar for a couple of pints, going back to where you stay for a shower (and maybe a foot massage if uve been going at it hard, like you should be!), then getting your meal and after that if u still have the energy goin out again! or sleeping its up to you! Basically, snowboard, its the only thing worth doing on a winter holiday!
Snowboarding is a sport for the youth. Lets face it, when have you ever seen an old man or woman bombing it down a slope on a board, doing grabs and so on (no offence if you happen to be an old man or woman snowboarder). Exactly, there are none. If you want to be noticed when on a wonter holiday snowboard, dont ski. Sorry to be frank but its the truth. However, I sympathise with those of you who think to themselves 'I can see where he is coming from, but I've never snowboarded before and i dont want to waste my holiday trying to, ending up on my arse'. My answer to that is: You will only be on your arse for one or two days maximum, guaranteed, as long as you give it your best. The learning curve is extremely steep, and you'll find the first day takes a lot out of you, so go get drunk after your day who cares then what your legs feel like?! The next day you will wake up, strap your board on and find you can make it down a green without falling, no joke, you have to trust me on this one. You will only continue to improve, i've snowboarded for about 3 weeks in my whole life, maybe four, and i can grab, flip (nearly!) and so on, and i've NEVER been severly injured. And to be honest, once you have learnt the basics, there are places you can go in any resort where you n longer feel out of place. All you blokes out there can go to the boarding snow parks to impress the ladies or check out other people moves, and you ladies can do that too, or just go to the snow parks to bat your eye lids to all the 'gorgeous' (although obviously not in my opinion!) blokes! If you still really dont want to spend your only week of a whole year at a winter resort snowboarding, rather than skiing which you are better at, i suggest going half and half (you would have to swap your skis part way through the week for a board if you hire them, there is not normally an extra charge for this). That is what i did for the first two times i tried
it, and now if i go snowboardin noone can get me to leave the slopes until the lifts close down. After that I STRONGLY suggest going down to an after ski bar for a couple of pints, going back to where you stay for a shower (and maybe a foot massage if uve been going at it hard, like you should be!), then getting your meal and after that if u still have the energy goin out again! or sleeping its uo to you! basically, snowboard, its the only thing worth doing on a winter holiday!
As the first snows of winter begin to fall (well, maybe not in Australia), let us cast our thoughts to the slopes. Fresh air, beautiful scenery and good, clean, wholesome fun on the piste. Whether you're a slope virgin or a skier, why not make this season a bit more interesting and strap yourself onto a snowboard? Whether it's for a day or a week, on the snow or a piece of plastic carpet somewhere in the UK, have a go - it's exciting, great exercise and really sociable. And I'm not just talking about the apres beers at the end of the day! One of the great things snowboarding offers is a very steep learning curve. With just a few lessons you WILL be linking turns down a beginner's run. It's very tempting to just take a board to the top of the nearest hill and have ago but, I assure you, you won't get very far (apart from maybe, casualty). To get best quick start, you really do have to take a couple of lessons. Instructors have the drills and exercises you need to get the right technique from the start. And believe me, there are systems to snowboarding. While you may be able to get down the mountain in one piece without it, the right technique will make you a faster, safer and cooler snowboarder. I still go back and practise some of the drills I learned when I was a beginner when I find my style getting sloppy or when my confidence has had a knock. If you are able to spread your learning over a couple of days, it can be useful to take half-day lessons. That way you can have a rest if your body has had enough or you can put in more time on your own, practising the things you learn in your lessons. EQUIPMENT So you've booked your first lesson and have arrived at the rental shop to pick up some gear. The size of snowboard you are given will depend on your height, weight and the size of your feet. When you're learning, the difference between a 158cm boar
d and a 163cm board probably isn't going to make much difference to your riding so I won't go into any more details here. The guys and girls at the retail shop will know what to give you so don't worry about it. There are two kinds of boot/binding set up you may be offered. The first is the traditional soft boot and binding combo. Soft boots are usually made of tough, water resistant material and sometimes have separate, padded internal liners. They are quite stiff but are a dream to wear compared to ski boots. Your boots have to be a snug fit with your toes almost touching the front of the boots. These kind of boots strap into bindings attached to the board. The bindings have high plastic backs which support your ankles and ankle and toe straps to hold your boots tightly in place. You may also be offered the option of 'step-ins'. These are much faster to operate - a mechanism on the sole of the boot simply clips into a small metal plate on the board. The benefits of this system is that you can get on and off the board much more quickly (a godsend when you're learning). However the boots are much stiffer and harder to walk in and you may find the bindings are hard to lock into place in deep, sticky snow. There's a big debate among snowboarders about which system is best. My own opinion is that step-ins can be a great time saver during your first few days but most systems don't offer the flexibility and control needed for more advanced riding. I've saved it till last but it's probably the most important piece of equipment - a helmet. You'll find these days that most snowboarders wear helmets and for good reason. No matter how good a rider you are, you cannot guarantee that others around you are in total control. I've also been taken out on numerous occasions by skiers and snowboarders who are not looking where they are going or are going too fast and cannot control t
hemselves. Weird things do happen. On one occasion this year, I was happily cruising down a fairly easy run in Whistler when I hit a stone, flipped over and slammed on my head. I was wearing a helmet but still ended up with slight concussion. It would have been much worse if I hadn't been wearing it. Many ski and snowboard schools loan helmets to pupils for free but if they don't, rent one somewhere else. It could save your life. Oh, and it'll keep your ears toasty warm. Hmm. GOOFY OR REGULAR? Before you can strap yourself into a snowboard you need to work out your stance. On a snowboard you, in effect, 'lead' with one foot or the other. This will determine how the guy or girl at the rental shop attaches the bindings to your board. If you snowboard with your left foot forward you are classified as 'regular', if you lead with your right you are (strangely) ' goofy'. There's no benefit to being one or the other but if you are set up the wrong way round, you'll feel like you're riding backwards. This is called riding 'switch' but that's not something you'll have to worry about until you're riding through trees or landing jumps! But how do you work out whether you're goofy or regular? Well, there are several ways - none of them guaranteed to work though. I've found the easiest way is to watch which foot you put out first when you walk up a step. You could always get someone to push you across the kitchen floor in slidey socks and see which foot you stick out in front. Most instructors are used to beginners who are unsure and decide after a couple of hours that they are riding the wrong way round. GET FIT Snowboarding may look like a passive sport but it's not. The fitter you are, the easier it is and the more likely you'll be able to walk properly the next day. A bit of cardio work down the gym
will always come in useful. If you've got time to do some weight training before you hit the slopes, then I'd recommend concentrating on your thighs and calves. You'll also benefit from strong arms and shoulders. You'll be surprised how tired your arms get when you're learning. Pushing yourself up on to your feet every few minutes for four hours is the equivalent of doing lots of push ups! Do lots of stretches at the start and finish of every day the same way you would if you were going to the gym or playing football. You're doing just as much work. And have a hot bath and some deep heat ready when you get home. The pain is always bad for the first couple of days. You'll be using muscles you didn't even know you had. But it doesn't last so don't give up. There's a common phrase you'll hear on the slopes - if you're not falling over, you're not trying hard enough. Each small step you make will feel like a giant leap. Whether you've made your first turn or made it down the entire beginner's run for the first time without falling over, you'll be grinning from ear to ear with the sense of achievement. I'll be at the bottom with the Deep Heat...
Snowboarding is a great sport and to be quite honest you don't have to have started at the age of 4 to be good at it. I started at the age of 18 when I saw snow for the first time in my life and have progressed over 10 years. Many people get turned off by the fact that during the first couple of days you will fall on your hands and knees and bottom, until you get the hang of it, but this should not disilusion you. If you were trying to learn how to ski, you would spend even more time falling down. Anyway, the sport is easy to learn and if you enjoy it, it is easy to pick up and get good at it. I admit that you will fall at the beginning and it can be painful but a couple of tips for beginners always help to make it a better experience: - You can start wearing soft boots and this is easier to learn, but if you want to have better style and form it is better to learn with hard boots but this is harder to master (like ski boots). - When learning always keep your hands in fists (as if you were boxing) as this helps protect your wrists when you fall. - Always try to keep your knees flexed and as close together as possible. This is to help you keep your centre of gravity on the board and will also keep you from falling over as much. - Stand low on the board which will come naturally if you follow the point above. - Wear warm clothes because you will be on the snow a lot as you learn and it is not worth being cold. - Before going up a chairlift, play around with the board with one foot in your front footstrap and riding it like a skateboard. Push yourself with your free leg and then step onto the board between the bindings. This will help you get used to getting off chairlifts, as you are not in strapped into both bindings while riding the lifts. - On chairlifts try to be on the ends when sitting down so that you get a bit of clear area to come off it at the top. - When starting to do turns make sure you t
hrow your arms into the direction of the turn, so that you commit and can complete the turn. If your arms are in the opposite direction you end up flailling your arms as you enter a turn and might end up not doing the turn and falling. In summary these are a couple of points which are always helpful and many people forget to do when learning. So get a board follow these points and have fun. By the way, powder riding is much more enjoyable and effortless on a board then on skis!
Snowboarding is a great sport for the 20th Century. Although most people in Britain only see snow at the most once a year, there is always somewhere to go snowboarding. There is normally a dri-ski slope within an hours drive of most people’s house, and there are even real snow indoor centres such as Tamworth’s Snowdome or Milton Keynes’ SnoZone. For sowboarding on real mountains, there is always the Scottish highlands, and if you wanted, you could always trave abroad, to the Alps or the Rockies. Snowboarding is a technical sport, and is mainly attempted by people aged between 14 and 25. The sport involves a lot of falling so it is advisable if you are not agile to not take part in it. It is called an adrenaline sport for obvious reasons, but doesn’t have to be if the snowboarder doesn’t want to be. So, if you think you are able to do it, give it a go, you might even enjoy it. Snowboarding RULES!!!
In my life I have tried both these sports. First it was skiing, a relaxing well manored sport but unfortunately little else. I had conquered of piest moguls etc and the resorts we were going to had nothing more challenging. At this point I decided to try snowboarding. For a while I was going to give it up then I learned to turn consistently without falling over. This was a great relief to my behind. Now my confidence was growing so I tried bigger blacker slopes and conquered them, then the moquls were behind me. I was in much the same position as when I was skiing. However something caught my attention! Jumping! It is almost impossible to do on skis and there are limitless oppurtunities on a snowboard such as the half-pipe grind rails and jumps. The thrill of travelling at 10mph then being launched into the air and landing a 360 mute is incredible. I did all this in just four weeks I was a beginner and now I can pull of some cool stunts. I would definately regard snowboading as the origonal extreme sport and I prefer it to skiing!
I think snowboarding is the best sport in the world you get the buzz of going fast down the slopes andgetting big air of some massive pipes. The last time I went skiing was in Bulgaria it dose not soundgood but we went and they had the biggest snowfall they had in the past decade. At the beginning of the week I thought the sport was alright then I got to do some black diamond runs and they wereamazin unlike anything I had ever done before, the holiday overall was exceptional but they take toolong to cook food. Then the year before that I went to the Italian Alps which were alright but there was not much snow.
I have been snowboarding several times over the past 3 years, both in the French Alps and in Canada. Each time has been truly amazing, even my first outing in the Alps. It is very easy to get disheartened at first - although if you can overcome your fear of leaning into a slope (cliff) things will pick up instantly. Easier said than done i know - and really i do, but the technique usually comes way before the courage to pull it off with style, that said, you can throw yourself down a mountain and have a whale of a time after only a few hours of lessons - usually. If that isn’t enough, you have the breathtaking surroundings and the food and beer and... well whatever you want really. If you haven’t tried it definitely do soon, and a few lessons at a dry slope needn’t cost an arm an a leg either.
I recently went snowboarding in the French Alps in Valloir, and i must say i have never had so much fun in my whole life. It was only a weeks snowboarding but still was time enough to have amazing fun. We had lessons every day but after the first leson me and a freind desided to go it on our own and in the end it paid off we seemd to have loads more fun and quickly got the hang of it. Me and my freind both skateboard so we might have found it easier than most but even if you are falling over a bit, but its still fun. I would recomend going for a longer period about 2 weeks or even a month as you will be able to get a better grasp of the sport. The night life was good as well there were many clubs and bars to keep you amused so go and get lashed and then get up and snowboard the next day :-)