is onewheel like snowboarding?

Is OneWheel Like Snowboarding?

by Tom

Snowboard season is never long enough. Very few of us have the opportunity to ride into spring. If you’re anything like me, this is simply unacceptable! Fortunately I might have a simple solution… hop on a Onewheel. Can it scratch that same riding ‘itch’ during the off-season? Is Onewheel like snowboarding?

Onewheel riding is similar to snowboarding in that they both involve traveling in a sideways position. They also provide similar riding sensation, stance, balancing, and carving techniques. The primary difference between the two is speed and terrain type. Snowboards are generally faster whereas Onewheel are able to ride on all types of terrain (including snow).

After speaking to members of the Onewheeling community, I think it’s something snowboarders should try (if they haven’t done so already). Let’s take a closer look…

How Similar Is Snowboarding to Onewheeling?

Snowboarders shift their weight to control their riding experience. Onewheels operate similarly (without any remote controls). 

Riders will carve through the natural terrain. Alright there’s no snow, but the sensation of gliding over the surface is remarkably similar to snowboarding!

Unlike snowboarding, Onewheel riding uses self-balancing technology to maintain balance and execute fluid turns. This clearly differs from snowboarders who rely on their edges to grip into the snow. Although it’s a unique experience, Onewheeling still provides a similar adrenaline rush to snowboarding.

Dave from has been snowboarding his whole life. He picked up a Onewheel during the pandemic and never looked back.

“Being cooped up that whole time, I just needed to get out and get into nature” he explains. “Onewheel riders call it floating. These aren’t the Marty McFly hoverboards we dreamed about as kids but the ride does feel float-like. The go-kart sized tire can take you over most terrains and it truly is an unforgettable sensation.”


“I have thousands of miles logged across a few boards and I’m as hooked today as when I first started. Onewheels are incredibly quiet so my trail rides really bring a lot of peace to my day. Other than speed, the feeling is incredibly similar to snowboarding.”

The single wheel design of these boards grants the Onewheel a degree of agility. This is relatively unmatched by other electric skateboards.

If you love navigating through dense forest trails on a snowboard during winter, then a summer trail ride on one of these Onewheel boards makes for a great complementary experience. You also exercise the same muscle groups and get the same exhilaration as you would during snowboarding.

The Benefits of Onewheel Riding for Snowboarders

Unless you can afford to travel to snowboard destinations year-round, most snowboarders have to wait for the winter.

Onewheel trail riding is therefore a great potential off-season activity for snowboarders. It can keep you tuned up, build core strength, strengthen leg muscles and improve balance. Keeping those muscles in shape in the off-season can help avoid injury later on!

Here are the primary benefits to Onewheel riding:

1. Onewheel Trail Riding is Cheaper Than A Lift Ticket

The Onewheel itself can set you back anywhere between $900 to $2200. However after that, maintenance costs are minimal. If you are an avid snowboarder, recovering the cost of the board would be rationalized after a month or so of trail riding. 

Onewheel riders typically find amazing free trails along mountain bike paths, hiking trails, fields or even at the golf course.

The perspective of these areas changes dramatically when you have a Onewheel. A simple hiking path morphs into an intense trail of rocks and roots to navigate around. Find a local place that works for you and ride.

2. Carving Snow and Carving Wooded Trails.

Both snowboarding and Onewheel riding share the sensation of smoothly gliding over the terrain. This provides a similarly thrilling and seamless experience. Obviously, snowboarding involves carving down mountains whereas Onewheel riders carve along pavements or dirt paths.

Despite the lack of edges on the Onewheel, the body mechanics are similar. The rider rotates their body from the heel-side to the toe-side of the board.

Carving on a Onewheel therefore engages the same muscle groups as snowboarding, including the quads, calves, obliques, and abs. Carving allows you to avoid overexerting certain muscles, just like how snowboarders alternate between heel and toe edges to avoid calf fatigue.

This approach allows riders to travel for miles without experiencing discomfort. If you enjoy carving snow, then Onewheel carving can provide a similar feel!

3. Distance Traveled in Snowboarding Vs Onewheeling

Depending on what mountain or resorts you frequent, a typical ride can vary from about a ¼ mile to 4 miles long. Onewheels have the ability to travel over 30 miles on a single charge. These longer trail rides can be quite the workout.

Granted on a snowboard, you are doing repeated runs. This can eventually equate to the same mileage if not more. Onewheel riders however are limited by their battery size. The solution?

Riders who are dedicated to the sport will work on extending their range with battery modifications and portable chargers.

In either sport, you can easily travel 10 to 20 miles a day!

Onewheeling Vs Snowboarding: Which Is Faster?

Presently, snowboarding is the faster sport, with average speeds of 25mph. Onewheels are limited by the 750-watt motor. The flagship model, the Onewheel GT has a speed limit of 20mph (32 kph).

However, the sport is evolving, with custom boards and other manufacturers entering the space. They are pushing the limits further and further. Who knows what’s possible!  

The average speed of a snowboarder riding downhill varies depending on several factors such as the rider’s skill level, the terrain, and weather conditions.

  • Beginners may ride at a more leisurely pace of around 10-20 mph (16-32 kph).
  • An intermediate snowboarder riding downhill would typically travel at a speed of 25-35 mph (40-56 kph).
  • Professional snowboarders can reach speeds of up to 80 mph (128 kph) while racing downhill.
  • The fastest snowboard speed every recorded is 131mph!

Onewheels typically will travel around 10 to 15mph on rougher terrain. You can get close to 20mph along pavement however generally 10 to 15 mph is where trail riding is enjoyable and safe.

Tips For Snowboarders Getting Into Onewheel Riding

Before you start Onewheeling, it’s important to choose the right board. There are a few different models available, and each one has its own strengths and weaknesses.

For snowboarders, the Onewheel XR and GT are good options as they offer a similar ride to a snowboard, with a longer range and more stability.


When you first start Onewheel riding, it’s important to take it slow and steady. Practice balancing and turning on flat, open terrain before attempting more challenging routes.

Start by riding on smooth pavement or dirt trails before progressing to more difficult terrain. Snowboard riders are typically naturals at this and can pick up learning to ride within an hour or so. 

Just like with snowboarding, safety gear is important when Onewheeling. Wear a helmet and consider additional protective gear such: 

  • Impact Pants (my article on the best crash pants)
  • Wrist guards
  • Knee pads (link to my favorite knee pads)
  • Elbow pads.

As you become more comfortable with Onewheeling, you can start to try more advanced maneuvers. Practice turning, carving, and even riding switch. However, make sure to progress gradually. Only attempt maneuvers that you feel confident with.

Finding a local community makes the experience that much more rewarding. Onewheel riding is often a social activity. Look for local Onewheeling groups on social media or try attending Onewheeling events. This will not only provide you with new riding opportunities but also give you a chance to learn from more experienced riders.

Final Thoughts

By following these tips, snowboarders can successfully transition to Onewheel and enjoy a new type of ride during the off-season.

It’s pretty good fun… however nothing will quite replace the feeling of snowboarding on actual snow (sorry). 

But, in my ongoing quest to find the best off-season activities, here’s my article on what snowboarders do in the summer.

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