What’s The Best Snowboarding Companion Sport?

by Fraser

For many, snowboarding is a seasonal pursuit. One trip each year, twice if you’re lucky, and then the long wait until next winter. So what do we all do in-between? Is there a good snowboard-companion sport? Does it matter? Maybe it does – read on, and as usual, add your own ideas.

Good reasons to find a companion sport

There aren’t any rules here. Just because you’re a snowboarder, doesn’t mean it’s time start surfing, or skating. But there are some reasons why it can be a good idea, so if you’re looking for a new hobby or sport, consider:

  • Balance. Some of these companion sports definitely have similar balance elements to snowboarding. So while you’re surfing, or freeboarding, you’re also improving your balance for snowboarding.
  • Relevant fitness. Snowboarding can be a physically demanding sport, especially if you don’t get to do it on a regular basis. Training in the gym will obviously help – and there are snowboard-specific work-outs to target your exercise. Taking part in a similar sport, may be more fun than the gym, whilst at the same time getting you ready for the mountains.
  • Relevant technique. There’s no real substitute for a snowboard – when it comes to improving your snowboarding. However, some tricks and techniques from other board sports do come pretty close. A proficient skateboarder is likely to pick up snowboarding tricks more easily than someone who’s never tried a board-sport in their life.
  • Nerve/bottle. Snowboarding is classed as an extreme sport – I don’t really think of it like that, but there are definitely parts of snowboarding that test your nerve. If you’re used to tearing down a mountain on a mountain bike, hitting trail jumps on a bmx or sliding rails on a skateboard, you’ll be more accustomed to this element of snowboarding.

Possible Contenders

Surfing. I read once that all snowboarders want to be skateboarders, and all skateboarders want to be surfers. I don’t agree with that, but it’s interesting. Is the soulful connection with the water like being in the mountains? And the search for waves like the search for powder? It’s a board sport with similar aspects, and there’s no denying that a lot of snowboarders really enjoy to surf…

Mountain biking. I’ve heard the opinion that the adrenaline you get when riding fast down a mountain on a bike, is very similar to the rush you get snowboarding. Whitelines magazine did a good feature on this a while ago. I haven’t done much downhill riding, but I’ve done a fair bit of mountain biking; I really like it for the fitness element, and I love being out in the countryside, the hills and the forests.

Skateboarding. Halfpipes. Rails. Ollies. Grabs. Skateboarding definitely has a strong trick element, just like snowboarding. In fact, most of the tricks in snowboarding came from skateboarding. If you look at most of the early snowboard pros (and a lot in the present day), they were skaters.

I love to skate. I really like the feeling of learning a trick and then landing it; and the buzz you get when you can link a bunch of tricks together. It’s accessible too, there’s a skatepark within a mile of my house, making it a good replacement for snowboarding, which is essentially the opposite in this regard. And I’m certain that learning frontside boardslides on a skateboard helped me to do the same on a snowboard…

Longboarding. I’ve never tried it, but this looks fun. Do those turns on a longboard feel just like carving down a piste? It looks rhythmic; it looks fast. The balance and fitness must contribute to snowboarding?

Freeboarding. Freeboards were designed specifically to simulate the behaviour of a snowboard – as someone who’s never tried one, I’d say that’s got to put it in good stead as a companion sport to snowboarding. You can make turns like a snowboard, switch directions, side-slip and jump with your feet strapped on. Check out this video, it does look pretty similar…

Wakeboarding. A board sport that’s fast, has jumps, spins, grabs, and is probably hard on the legs. Once you start to really lay into your wakeboard carves there is an undeniable likeness to snowboarding. I discussed this more in my article about wakeboarding vs snowboarding.

Have your say

I haven’t tried all of these sports, and some of those that I have, I’ve only tried for one day.

That said, skateboarding is probably my favourite. Learning and landing tricks is addictive and I like the crossover with snowboarding. I like the look of longboarding and freeboarding. If I had to pick one, I’d try freeboarding – being able to jump and get into a side-slip-style position seems to open up a lot of possibilities. I’ve always wanted to give surfing a real go – but like snowboarding, it seems quite inaccessible, I don’t need another expensive hobby!

What do you think? I have missed a sport off? What do you do during the summer? Any that you like the look of? Post a comment…

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