Snowboarding is an activity that involves descending snow-covered terrains while standing on a snowboard. Skateboarding, on the other hand, involves riding and performing tricks on the ground using a skateboard.
Both snowboarding and skateboarding can be recreational and competitive activities, and they are similar in many ways.
Although knowing how to skateboard can help you improve your snowboard skills and vice-versa, there are some major differences that you have to consider when trying to transfer your skills from one activity to the other.
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Similarities of Snowboarding and Skateboarding
Stance and Posture
The stance, goofy or regular, is the same in both snowboarding and skateboarding. If you already know how to ride and balance on a skateboard, then learning how to do so on a snowboard takes less time.
Even though a snowboard is typically longer than a longboard or skateboard, your stance on both types of boards is similar in width. However, your feet are closer to the tips on a longboard or skateboard than on a snowboard.
Steering is also similar in both sports, mainly how you distribute your weight on your back and front foot. Although making a turn is different, both sports require you to bend your knees a little to maintain balance.
Where things may differ is that you may not have to do as much of a “duck stance,” wherein your feet are pointing 45º in opposite directions, on a skateboard than on a snowboard because your feet are generally more parallel on a skateboard.
Another key difference is that on a snowboard, your feet are strapped through the bindings, whereas on a skateboard, they are free moving.
As a result, balancing can be a bit different since you can lean forward or backward a lot on a snowboard without losing your board, which you can’t do with a skateboard.
The weight of the boots and bindings on a snowboard also affect your balance compared to a skateboard.
Tricks and Objects
When you take a close look at skate and snowboard parks, you will see what they have in common. Verts or a half pipe, rails, and big jumps should be familiar to skateboarders.
And when you learn the basics of snowboarding and can ride comfortably, you’ll have a great time at the park. You’ll have no problems with jumps, 50-50’s, and boardslides. You’ll progress much faster than people who have never skateboarded.
Differences of Snowboarding and Skateboarding
To slow down on a snowboard, you can’t just use your feet as brakes. You need to learn how to powerslide, a move that consists of pressing the edge of the board into the snow and slightly leaning backward.
Additionally, your feet are wider apart on a snowboard, which may feel a bit awkward at first, but as far as weight distribution goes, you often need to apply your weight on the front and back of the snowboard. If you do this on a skateboard, you’re going to have a bad time.
Turning and Moving
On a skateboard, you also have to lean in the direction you want to go to while applying a bit of pressure to your toes and heels. Meanwhile, when you want to turn on a snowboard, you need to use your whole body.
Carving turns down the hill on a skateboard is similar to doing so on a snowboard as a skateboarder mainly requires you to get used to riding the edge and pivoting on the front foot.
Snowboarding is a lot more expensive than skateboarding. The equipment, including the board, boots, and clothing, plus lift tickets can be expensive. On top of that, a trip can become even more expensive due to the form of travel, accommodation, and food.
A full skateboard will cost you about $150. You can use your everyday sneakers or buy skateboard-specific shoes for about $50. A snowboard, on the other hand, can cost twice that amount depending on the brand and quality, and it can go even higher due to all the other gear you will be needing.
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Is snowboarding easier if you already skateboard?
Snowboarding will be easier if you already skateboard due to the two sports’ similarities. However, there is still a learning curve as skateboarding is a very different activity and is generally considered harder than snowboarding. Thus, beginners will have to put more effort into learning how to snowboard.
Snowboard vs. Skateboard: Basic Riding Skills
Your natural balance is similar when skateboarding and snowboarding. However, when riding a skateboard, you have four wheels rolling on the pavement, whereas on a snowboard, you mostly ride on the edge of the board and typically don’t ride on a flat surface as you begin. Therefore, edge riding is a key difference.
On the other hand, the body motion when carving is very similar in both sports. You indeed use your upper body, head, and shoulders to initiate turns, and shift your body weight to lean onto an edge to turn.
On a skateboard, stopping is often done through foot braking or bailing and outrunning, which you cannot do on a snowboard since your feet are strapped to the snowboard. Stopping on a snowboard, however, is very similar to powersliding on a skateboard, which makes your board skid across the slope by shifting your weight off and pushing out.
Snowboarding is an amazing activity to enjoy in winter but it can be a bit intimidating for first-timers. If you’re a first time snowboarder, we have a guide on learning how to snowboard as a beginner that is filled with tips and tricks to help you get started.
Snowboard vs. Skateboard: Learning Curve
Most people find skateboarding harder to learn than snowboarding for a few reasons:
- When you step on a skateboard on pavement, it will immediately roll, with a huge chance of the board shooting out under you. While on a snowboard, you are strapped to a board that is initially parallel to the slope, so you’re pretty safe at first.
- If you fall off a skateboard, you risk hitting the concrete, resulting in minor and major injuries, even at low speed. On a snowboard, however, you’ll fall in the snow, which is typically not as bad as concrete, even if there is ice. Therefore, errors in skateboarding can have greater consequences.
- Anyone can get on a skateboard, but learning the basics like pushing, turning, and stopping requires more time and effort than learning the basics of snowboarding. Novice snowboarders can typically ride down a mild slope within a day of learning, whereas safely rolling down a slope on a skateboard takes a whole lot of practice.
- Once you’ve got the basics on a snowboard and are able to carve turns and ride down the hill without falling, the learning curve gets steeper if you want to ride bigger hills, do cliff jumps, or ride pipe. Likewise, learning freestyle or dancing tricks on a longboard or skateboard, bombing hills, sliding, or riding ramps and transitions are harder skills to master.
Snowboard vs. Skateboard: Hazards
Skateboarding bears a greater risk of hurting yourself, even when riding slowly because there is a possibility of hitting your body or head on the pavement. Snowboarding, on the other hand, is not as bad since you are riding on snow most of the time and can just slide in the event of a fall.
Furthermore, little falls hurt a lot more when riding a skateboard due to the impact and road rash. Practicing skateboard tricks can also result in constant bruises on the shins, ankles, and knees, unless you wear kneepads.
Although skateboarding can hurt a lot more when you fall, snowboarding can also result in serious injuries when you fall downhill at a high speed. The mountain is also a very dangerous location, especially if you do not know what you’re doing.
All in all, skateboarding is probably a more dangerous activity than snowboarding for a beginner. Snowboarding only gets riskier as you become a more advanced rider. Advanced skateboarding also involves significant hazards in situations like commuting in traffic, freeriding on big hills, or throwing advanced kick tricks.
Does skateboarding improve snowboarding?
Yes, skateboarding can improve your snowboarding skills as it will help you balance on a moving snowboard easily, can help you carve turns with more ease, and help you master tricks that are common in both sports.
Although skateboarding can help you in some aspects of snowboarding, snowboarding doesn’t guarantee that you will be able to find your balance on a skateboard right away as riding a board with wheels takes more practice.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is skateboarding harder than snowboarding?
Skateboarding is generally considered harder than snowboarding for beginners because it takes more effort to find your balance on a board with wheels, where the slightest moves can cause the wheels to turn.
On the other hand, snowboarding can be relatively straightforward for beginners, and getting good at it can be just as hard as becoming an advanced skateboarder. The only aspect that can make snowboarding seem easier to learn is the fact that falling in the snow is not as painful as falling on concrete.
Are skateboarders good at snowboarding?
Skateboarding is a good activity for off-season training as a lot of skills you can learn in skateboarding will help you in snowboarding as well, especially in the freestyle department.
With that, we can say that advanced skateboarders are good at learning how to snowboard since a lot of pro snowboarders are skateboarders as well.
Snowboarding and skateboarding have both similarities and a lot of differences, but snowboarding can still help you improve your skateboarding and vice versa as your stance, posture, and some tricks and structures, like half-pipes and rails, are similar in both sports, which can help with the learning curve. Therefore, both sports are complementary sports, and many enthusiasts cross-train for one by practicing the other.
Overall, skateboarding will allow you to stay in shape and improve your balance, downhill skills, carving, and freestyle skills. Snowboarding, on the other hand, requires time and a higher budget but can keep you riding even when it’s too cold and icy out there to skate.