Each to their own. There’s no right or wrong. I get that. This is my opinion. It used to be the case that snowboarders on the mountain were the minority. That’s not the case anymore. I don’t have the stats, but I think it’s fair to say that both disciplines are big. And these days skiers and snowboarders alike ride the same terrain: piste, parks, pipe, powder, street rails…
…and I find myself asking the question: why do people bother skiing, when snowboarding is simply better?
Freestyle and powder
Let me qualify that statement above. I know that both skiing and snowboarding are fun. I’m not taking that away from either, nor am I trying to invalidate skiing as being fun, exciting, challenging, etc.
What I am talking about is freestyle and powder.
To be honest, it’s freestyle that I’m really getting at here, but even with powder I think snowboarding is the better choice. I mean, snowboards were invented to ride powder, to float in the fresh stuff, to give that surf-like feeling… Let me demonstrate both points, freestyle and powder, with the following video:
You can’t get that flex and pop on skis
Snowboarders take a lot of their tricks from skateboarding. The design of a snowboard, combined with your body position when riding one, allows you to ollie. You can load up the nose or tail and pop out of it. This flex mechanism is at the core of so many snowboarding tricks. It’s what makes the freestyle opportunities almost endless.
You just can’t get that on skis.
Rails, grabs and switch…
Think about 50-50’ing a rail, nose-pressing a box, tail-slides, change-ups… Skis on rails and boxes don’t make sense to me.
And then there are butters, nollies, boned out grabs. Tweak it. You might convince me that one or two ski-grabs look ok, but come on, compare that with a slow backside 180 tail grab, or a boned out stale-fish shifty.
And there’s switch, too. In my mind, riding switch on a snowboard opens up tricks. It adds to the freedom of snowboarding. When you land switch, you’re still snowboarding, just in the other direction. It’s the same principal. That’s why I ride with +15 / -15 binding angles. I like the symmetry of switch.
With skiing, it just doesn’t make sense to me. I’ve seen really talented people skiing backwards towards huge jumps, looking awkwardly over their shoulder, then they pull an insane trick. It’s really impressive-
-But skis weren’t designed to be ridden that way. I know you can get twin-tipped skis and all that, but it seems like a fudge to me. A hack. It’s difficult for sure, but your body is working in the opposite way, like driving a car in reverse.
Snowboarding is better suited to freestyle (and powder)
If you like freestyle and jibbing, I can’t see any reason to choose skiing over snowboarding. The snowboard is simply a better tool for the job. I understand that if you can already ski, you might feel inclined to stick with it, to not throw away your investment, to learn freestyle on skis. And that’s fair enough. But let’s be honest, snowboarding is better suited to this stuff.
I’m not saying freestyle skiers don’t have fun, don’t do gnarly and technical stuff. They do. I just think snowboarding is better in this arena. It looks smoother, there are more options, it’s more styled. Just look at the video above. It’s better.
When it comes to fun, there’s no right or wrong
I don’t want to tell anyone how to have fun. Nobody can do that. I said at the start that this is my opinion – please feel free to contribute your own with a comment…