Are you wondering which sport to try this winter season, when the mountains glimmer with freshly felled snow? You’ve been all over YouTube, reading opinion blogs, asking friends and generally falling head-first into an opinion well, without knowing what’s really your thing in the first place. Now, snowboarding and skiing are both extremely addictive, so there’s no better… just different.
Because we want you to have the best New Zealand snow holiday possible, we’ve broken down each sport below, noting what you need to know, so you can make the right decision for your style. And remember, if you’re not quite hooked on one, you can always try the other – we always recommend gear hire when you’re first starting out on the slopes.
Snowboarding isn’t just for teenagers and overly enthusiastic 20 something’s; New Zealand ski insiders have noticed an uptick in age diversity on the plank, as little tykes as young as three to trail-blazing retirees give the bowl hogs a run for their money.
The Curve: It will take around a week to grasp the fundamentals of simple turns, balance and speed control, but the hard work is well worth it.
Corner Effectively: Turn from the shoulders, your hips will naturally follow, leading your ankles and feet – all of these mini compound movements cause the snowboard to turn smoothly.
Fitness: Snowboarding requires decent core strength, as you’ll be engaging your abdominal chain constantly while you navigate runs. Planks, situps, pilates and cross-training will give you the tools you need to conquer the sport.
Will You Fall? Yes. Falling, wiping out or taking a powder dive are all part of learning to snowboard. Your feet will be locked into fixed apparatus – you feel unbalanced at first, but little by little, you’ll become confident and capable. Remember, your peripheral vision will be limited at first, so taking a hit will be inevitable until you get use to looking around.
Do you… wakeboard, surf or skateboard? Snowboarding may be your thing.
The original snow-sport, the runs and off-piste challenges are an incomparable staple of any New Zealand ski holiday . Before you strap on your skis and pick up your poles, it’s probably best to organise a few ski lessons first. Speed comes after safety!
The Curve: Skiing is naturally easier; your legs remain independent from each other, making it easier to stop, save and prevent a crash. You’ll also have a better range of vision than a snowboarder.
Aim for Harmony: Your legs will be a double-edged sword; while easier to control in the beginning, getting those two spirited stalks to work together in perfect symmetry will take perseverance and lots of mistakes as things get more difficult.
Fitness: Cycling (both stationary and road) and swimming will improve leg strength and increase general cardio fitness… two thing you want to have in your back-pocket to give you staying power on your first, second and third day on the mountain.
Will You Fall? Yes. Despite the comparative advantages of skiing, you will still fall on your butt from time to time – the good news? You’re less likely to feel ice on your face.
Do you… ice, roller or in-line skate? Skiing is right up your alley.
Which will you choose? Why not try both? Speak to Ski Express and plan a memorable winter getaway.