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. I’ve tried it once, briefly; I don’t really know much about it.

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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