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I am yet another damn immigrant to move this beautiful place, although I am not from TX or CA if that makes it better. All is I can say is the best Christmas present that I have received in long time, is the opportunity to live in CO and of course a great job here.

On to my question, I am complete newb to winter sports and definitely want to learn and enjoy some activity in the snow. I skied once last week at Vail and spent a lot of time falling and struggling getting back up. I had difficulty in slowing/stopping (snowplowing). So I have resolved to take classes to flatten the learning curve.

MTB content: I am avid cross country/ all mountain rider and enjoy technical trails with great vistas but not much of a downhiller or trials rider. I am reasonably fit and consider myself a strong intermediate rider.

SOOO in your humble opinion if I am going to learn one or the other, what would be your suggestion.

thanks,

Mountainboy
 

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Gravity Guy
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Ski!

I may or may not be biased since I've been skiing for 20 years, but I have tried both and snowboarding just wasn't for me.

My advice is to try both and see which you prefer then take lessons. It will be tough to decide before you are good at either, but you can see which you are more comfortable with to start
 

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Try both but take this in mind.
Your first couple of days snowboarding will most likely be much more difficult than skiing. Once you get past those first couple days of snowboarding it will be easier than skiing.
I use to ski and I now only snowboard. I only ride when it dumps and to me riding powder on a snowboard is top notch. If i was to ride all the time (bad snow days) i would be tempted to ski again. I still am tempted to ski but i don't have the money for two sports or really get up enough to be able to do both
 

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Everyone has their own fun meter so it's hard to say what you'll like better. The problem is to really get a feel for either, you'll need a significant amount of time to get good (the snowboarding learning curve is steeper once you get over the initial pain) and to get good, you probably will need to focus on one or the other.

I gave snowboarding a try many years ago and there where several things which didn't appeal to me.

1. The sideways stance. I don't walk, ride a bike, or anything else sideways and I didn't like looking over my shoulder to see where I was going. Plus the sideways stance takes you out of the "athletic stance" common to almost all running, jumping, etc sports that utilizes your body the way it's designed to work.
2. Feet locked together. I have two legs that are designed to operate independently of each other. When snowboarding I felt like I was in a bag race.
3. You are a total gravity slave on a snowboard. I did not like being stuck on flats and traverses and having to do this very awkward skate/scoot motion to get around. Getting mired in deep snow on a flat leaves you with no other option than to take off your board and post hole to where you can get going again. On skis you can use your poles and step/shuffle/pole/skate your way. In a situation like that, skis are an asset, unless it is pointed downhill, a board is dead weight.
4. Way too much time spent on the butt and on the knees.
5. Snowboards suck in moguls. Even guys who are great riders flail in moguls compared to a skier of equal skill. When I gave boarding a try I was in my hard core bump skier phase and boards being a fish out of water in bumps was a big negative.
6. There is no good way to get around in the BC with a board. you are either stuck with slowshoes, approach skis, or a split board. All are a pain in the ass and inefficient compared to skis. That doesn't mean you can't get around, but ski are far a superior tool for getting around the BC. Since I spend about 95% of my ski days either in the BC or at Nordic centers, this is an important consideration for me.

All that said, it's about fun and I'm sure there are plenty of folks who love boarding who have just as long a list of what they love about snowboarding and more power to them.

PS: If you do decide to take up snowboarding, PLEASE do not get into the habit of heel slipping down slopes you cannot link turns down. Take the time to build the skills to at least attempt making turns on challenging terrain. Nothing irks many many people, both skiers and riders, than a boarder heel dozing his/her way down a slope and leaving a big nasty scraped off rut.
 

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Bad Andy
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Bored at work right now, so...
FWIW - I skied a little growing up, skied a lot in the 90's, and also learned to snowboard in the late 90s. I really like them both. I used to alternate days between each. Now I mostly ski again, but I have to admit, it's hard to beat a good powder day on the board.
As mentioned, kinda a personal preference thing, so just go with what you think you might like, and get decent/good at it, then if you want, try the other later.
Welcome to CO!
 

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athalliah said:
was that jumpsuit an early xmas present for dave?

:D

to the OP: skiing/boarding is just a fad, and an expensive one at that. save your money for bike parts.
;)
 

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Heads up Flyboy!!
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Hey Bro,

I asked the same question when the snow started falling. I ended up going for the board since it was cheaper for me and I used to be a surfer and skater back in the day....found most of my gear on Ebay and Craigslist..

I've been out three times so far and am enjoying the board though when the cash comes up I'll be looking tele, XC skis or ski skates....all for the aerobic...Tele is what I'm leaning to most for the versatility...you can climb, downhill or do flats with em..Backcountry or groomed....PBR...put it to me like this...."if you like to Mountain bike then you'll love Tele"..I'm sold...just cash strapped now.
 

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Awesomist™
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Alright, zrm gave probably the most comprehensive list of reasons why he does what he does, and he definitely makes some really solid points. This is not meant to argue directly with him per se, but is mostly an attempt to give a fair shake to us knuckle-dragging single plankers. I have snowboarded for quite some time, always at resorts and never in the backcountry (yet). I am not a park rat, and I prefer powder, big open steep bowls, and trees to groomed runs. I have attempted to ski ONCE, and although I was able to make it down some blues at Loveland I really just don't want to suck again and as such stick with the riding.

  • The sideways stance: Common to surfing, skateboarding, wakeboarding, windsurfing, and sliding across the ice when you were a little kid. I grew up skateboarding, which is more than likely part of the reason I feel comfortable riding this way, but I have overheard several "converts" from skiing to snowboarding say they feel the sideways position is "more natural".
  • Feet/legs independent of each other, each with a GIANT LEVER attached to them: knees, ankles, hips: each and every one of these items now under the direct forces of the Fulcrum of Uncertainty. Tele: add on ANOTHER lever to the existing lever (LOL). Plus I've skis pop off and smack the skier in the face, sometimes requiring stitches. Basically though, whether you end up skiing or riding: learn how to fall.
  • You are a total gravity slave on a snowboard: While there are certain "tricks" to getting across small traverses and such, this is pretty true and about the only thing that really frustrates me on a snowboard. That being said, knowing your terrain and where to keep momentum alleviates much if not all of this issue, especially in a lift-accessed setting.
    Way too much time spent on the butt and on the knees: There is a steeper learning curve with the snowboard, it's commonly thought of as fact. Expect to spend 2-4 solid days falling on your arse, but once you link turns you don't spend any more time on the ground than anyone else.
  • Snowboards suck in moguls: Moguls suck.
  • There is no good way to get around in the BC with a board: I think this is a matter of opinion as well, since snowshoes, approach skis, and split boards do actually work, and work well. Certainly LESS efficient than skis, but it could be argued that after the approach the ride down on the snowboard is what it's all about. However, any serious time spent in the backcountry would be more efficiently served on tele or AT skis.

All that said, it's definitely about having The Fun, and I have been tempted many MANY times to make the switch to skiing... my TravelingCompanion™ skis as do all of her friends, graceful skiers make it look SUPER wicked, and let's face it: it's just way easier to get off the damn lift. But like I said, I'm a halfway decent rider, and I just don't want to go through the "suck" phase again.

PS: If you do decide to take up skiing, PLEASE do not get into the habit of snowplowing down slopes you cannot link turns down. Take the time to build the skills to at least attempt making turns on challenging terrain. Nothing irks many many people, both skiers and riders, than a skier pizza wedging his/her way down a slope and leaving a big nasty scraped off rut.

:D
 

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I have never snowboarded, so my comments must be taken with some skepticism. I have, however, spent a lot of time with my two sons who both ski and snowboard. Their consensus seems to be that snowboarding is a little easier than skiing, and that snowboarding tends to be more limiting than skiing. For example, snowboarders are often slower on the flats (no poles, can't use one leg to push off on the other), if not stuck on the flats, and are rarely sighted in the moguls, in the trees, or on the steeps. Snowboards do, however, seem to provide a superior ride in the pow-pow (which, in its true form, say 8-10 inches or more, is a rarity anyway). Becoming a proficient skier will probably take longer than becoming a proficient snowboarder. Snowboarding gear costs less than ski gear. Either way you go, you'll have a good time. What matters is that you're out there. Just don't turn in to one of those lame-o snowboarders who sits on his butt all day trying to look kool, and who when he does get off his butt, scrapes the snow off the hill as he shreds the gnar sideways down a steep double black diamond he can't handle. Also, whatever you do, consider carefully what in my admittedly parochial opinion are the many negative consequences of getting sucked into the whole tele thing. Unless you wind up being unusually good, and possess unusual physical prowess, you won't be doing the moguls, the trees, or the super steeps using tele gear because of the awkward stance and balance required in tele skiing (tele skiers will differ with me on this point -- but like snowboarders, they tend to be infrequent visitors to the treed glades, the bumps and the gnarly steeps). I think teleskiing requires an additional level of skill above and beyond that required for alpine skiing. When you are already pushing the limits, why add something unnecessary to the mix (like a free heel, and bindings that don't release). Also, get good at boarding or skiing by skiing in-bounds at a ski resort before you venture into the backcountry (unless you are with a guide or someone who really knows what they are doing). The odds of getting nailed by an avalanche in Colorado backcountry skiing or boarding are not to be trifled with, as Colorado's continental snowpack is famously unstable. Whatever you choose to do, get some instruction at the beginning and have fun out there!
 

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I learned snowboarding when I moved out here in 1999, and pretty quickly became an intermediate skilled rider. I love boarding, but my one regret is, thinking about teaching my kids in a couple years to ski, boarding is not very mobile, on the flats as someone suggested. Has anyone tried teaching their kids while on a board? I've seen instructors on boards with poles, but that is learning a whole new stance.
 

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Dude...
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I say snowboard. I used to ski and have given those new fangled shaped skis a few days too, but have been primarily dragging my knuckles for about 15 years now.

I agree with CBrock on the powder stuff, if I skiied marginal resort snow of lived in New Hampshire I would seriously consider two planks instead of one.

Splitboards and Snowshoes both work pretty well depending on the type of approach. AT or tele is definitely faster by a solid 5min at the top, but as far as the approach goes I'd say they are fairly equal.
 

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Oh, So Interesting!
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cbrock450 said:
Try both but take this in mind.
Your first couple of days snowboarding will most likely be much more difficult than skiing. Once you get past those first couple days of snowboarding it will be easier than skiing.
I use to ski and I now only snowboard. I only ride when it dumps and to me riding powder on a snowboard is top notch. If i was to ride all the time (bad snow days) i would be tempted to ski again. I still am tempted to ski but i don't have the money for two sports or really get up enough to be able to do both
This is great advise! I would add that boards are NOT bad in moguls, good riders can kill it in the bumps. If I can, so can you... Also, once you develop an eye to look ahead and read the terrain, you won't get caught in flat spots nearly as much as a beginner snowboarder. And, snowboards can traverse pretty well once you get the hang of it. I'm faster than %99 of skiers if the traverse has any downgrade to it at all. Traversing an uphill grade is absolutely no fun, though. Snowboards are really the $hit when they are pointed downhill in powder, or carving corduroy if you have the right board for it (and the slopes aren't crowded). Most modern freeride boards do both well.
 

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zrm said:
1. The sideways stance. I don't walk, ride a bike, or anything else sideways and I didn't like looking over my shoulder to see where I was going. Plus the sideways stance takes you out of the "athletic stance" common to almost all running, jumping, etc sports that utilizes your body the way it's designed to work.
2. Feet locked together. I have two legs that are designed to operate independently of each other. When snowboarding I felt like I was in a bag race.
3. You are a total gravity slave on a snowboard. I did not like being stuck on flats and traverses and having to do this very awkward skate/scoot motion to get around. Getting mired in deep snow on a flat leaves you with no other option than to take off your board and post hole to where you can get going again. On skis you can use your poles and step/shuffle/pole/skate your way. In a situation like that, skis are an asset, unless it is pointed downhill, a board is dead weight.
4. Way too much time spent on the butt and on the knees.
5. Snowboards suck in moguls. Even guys who are great riders flail in moguls compared to a skier of equal skill. When I gave boarding a try I was in my hard core bump skier phase and boards being a fish out of water in bumps was a big negative.
6. There is no good way to get around in the BC with a board. you are either stuck with slowshoes, approach skis, or a split board. All are a pain in the ass and inefficient compared to skis. That doesn't mean you can't get around, but ski are far a superior tool for getting around the BC. Since I spend about 95% of my ski days either in the BC or at Nordic centers, this is an important consideration for me.
I understand where you are coming from on this part of differences. When I was a kid my parents skied and I tried to learn but, never got the hang of it. I myself have been snowboarding for 4 years (5 years this season). I think the main three things about snowboarding that people don't like are the arse falling, the weird stance and being gravity dependent. As many of you skiers know when on a cat track some people usually push you aside or at least says something like "on your left/right." those are boarders. Sure every aspect of snowboarding sucks at first, but you learn. Ever wonder why snowboards just fly down the entrance of the cat tracks?? Its cause they would stop. Unlike skiing which (in my opinion) doesn't challenge your abilities to the max, because snowboarding requires you push yourself whether its 2 feet powder and you get stuck, or getting stuck on a cat track. You have to push yourself to get better at those abilities or snowboarding is going to really suck :thumbsup: Oh and too all those people who said that there is nothing like snowboarding in a day of powder (First tracks :D) You are definitely right! Its unbelievable. Also about snowboarders being on their butts and knees, you get use to it. The interesting thing is even though skiing is better for falling, snowboarding is safter. When you crash on skis, both skis can pop off and fly down the hill and you can shatter a bone in the weird way your legs twist, but on a snowboard you just curl up and both legs stay together. In my opinion snowboard prevents injuries and plus skiing kills your knees.
Just my $0.02 on this topic.
 

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Living the High Life
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Full Trucker said:
All that said, it's definitely about having The Fun, and I have been tempted many MANY times to make the switch to skiing... my TravelingCompanion™ skis as do all of her friends, graceful skiers make it look SUPER wicked, and let's face it: it's just way easier to get off the damn lift. But like I said, I'm a halfway decent rider, and I just don't want to go through the "suck" phase again.
:D
Sounds like you're really repressing the urge to ski there buddy, I'm not sure if I'm comfortable hanging out with you any more:p
 
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