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Skiing vs Snowboarding

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    Skiing and snowboarding are both very popular sports with many similarities and differences. The sport of skiing dates back to 5000 BC, while snowboarding is a relatively new sport, developed in the early 1900’s.

    Both sports are very popular in the U. S. , where there are 481 different ski/snowboarding resorts and approximately 60 million Americans who partake in the sports each year. Americans make up more than half of the 110 million who ski or board worldwide.

    Skiing first dates back to more than 7,000 years ago with origins in Norway and Sweden.Skiing slowly transformed into its current form starting in the mid 19th century when Norwegians developed bindings that improved the skiers control, enabling them to turn and jump easily. Skiing eventually gained popularity and inspired Norwegian explorers to introduce skiing to the Alps due to the ideal steep slopes and deep snow. After this occurred it sparked the growth of downhill skiing, which eventually led to competitive skiing.

    Skiing today consists of 11 different styles which include terrain park, bowls, powder, racing, back country, summer skiing, moguls, avalanche, telemark, helisking, and freestyle skiing.Skiing reached a professional level and has been an event in the Olympic Games since 1924. Skiing requires several pieces of equipment. In order to ski you need special ski +boots, two skis, and two poles.

    The length of a ski may be the most important factor. A longer ski provides a faster experience; however, it is also harder to control. Cross-country skis are thinner than downhill skis. Freestyle skis usually are shorter, enabling the skier to cross skis, have more control in the air, and provide the ability to perfect footwork while skiing on a relatively flat surface.

    In order to ski you must first ut on the boots, fasten each boot into a ski binding, and firmly hold the poles while skiing downhill, parallel to the mountain. Snowboarding is a sport that requires just two pieces of equipment, a snowboard and boots. The snowboard is a long wooden plank, typically curved at both ends. Both boots are strapped perpendicular to the center of the board.

    The person rides perpendicular to the mountain when going downhill. Snowboards as well as boots typically come in two different styles. Racing boards have a more rounded tip and a flatter tail since the board rider only requires forward and downhill momentum.The longer the board, like skis, the faster you will be able to go.

    Freestyle boards are much more rounded at both ends enabling the rider to move forward and backward while riding in obstacles such as half-pipes. Boots can be either hard or soft. Typically hard boots are used for racing. This style of boots keeps the rider steady for maximum control on turns at high speeds.

    Softer boots, which are more flexible, are used for freestyle to accomplish multiple tricks. Skiers are very versatile and consist of two main types of downhill skiing styles – Alpine skiing and Nordic style skiing.Alpine skiing is going downhill, and some styles include slalom, giant slalom, telemark, ballet, mogul, and even aerial. The downhill skiing style was by far the quickest way for someone to get from the top to the bottom of a mountain.

    Slalom as well as Giant Slalom are race styles which require skiers to turn quickly through designated gates placed relatively far apart. Telemark skiing is a downhill form which uses cross-country like skis that requires a stiff boot with moveable bindings. Moguls are usually piles of leaves covered by snow which form large bumps that skier’s race down as well as jump off.Ballet or Aerial skiing is more like figure skiing in which skiers perform jumps that usually include multiple somersaults and spins in the air.

    Nordic ski events include cross-country, ski jumping, and even biathlon. Cross-Country skiing is an event where the skier uses long thin skis which are attached to a boot that binds loosely to only the front of the ski. There are two main styles of cross-country skiing which are classical and skating. The classical cross-country style of skiing requires skiers to push with a back and forth motion.

    The cross- country skating style involves pushing off to the side like an ice skater to gain momentum. Ski jumping is also a Nordic skiing style which consists of skiers launching off a massive jump to see how far they can fly before hitting the ground. The last type of Nordic skiing is a biathlon style. Biathlon is a mix of cross-country skiing and shooting.

    Skiers ski a determined distance before shooting designated targets. Snowboarding has two basic styles which include freestyle and racing. Like skiing, racers compete in events such as slalom and giant slalom. Freestyle consists of two main styles; slope-style and half-pipe.

    In the slope-style events the rider goes downhill while attempting to perform as many tricks as possible usually over natural and man-made obstacles which include rails, jumps, bumps, and barriers. The half pipe in snowboarding is very similar to a skateboard half pipe. The half pipe is a U-shaped structure which is usually several hundred feet long. Half pipes vary greatly in size.

    One example is the Camelback Ski Resort in the Pennsylvania Mountains, where the half pipe is fairly small and narrow. Another example is the half pipe in Vail, Colorado, which is 600 feet long and has walls 22 feet high.Both skiing and snowboarding require a strong instruction base. In either sport it is strongly recommended to take at least one lesson to learn the basic maneuvers.

    Approximately eight years is the average amount of time it takes to make the transition to expert for skiing. Approximately three years is the average time it takes to make the transition to expert for snowboarding. Snowboarders and skiers both require about the same amount of physical conditioning to participate. In both sports strong leg muscles are necessary.

    Stretching before and after participating in the activity is very important, like in many other sports.Snowboarders typically use more hip action when riding so their hamstrings need to be a bit more conditioned as well. The most important element to both sports is definitely balance. Snowboarders require a more all-around balance, as opposed to a skier who requires a more forward and behind balance.

    Skiers are typically using more fine motor motions in the knee and ankles which enable them to precisely steer more easily. Snowboarders, conversely, use more hip and knee movements to complete turns. Also due to the snowboarder’s stance going downhill there is more pressure on the back knee.Both skiing and snowboarding offer the athlete an opportunity to participate in an exciting sport.

    Each sport allows you to experience the beauty of nature, enjoy fresh air, provide one with an excellent opportunity to stay in great shape, and see beautiful and spectacular views. Skiing typically offers the participant more of a variety of styles and terrain. Snowboarders don’t have quite the selection skiers do. Snowboarding is still relatively new and has great potential to grow.

    Both sports continue to evolve as new and innovative equipment transform the sports into faster and more challenging hobbies.

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    Skiing vs Snowboarding. (2017, May 20). Retrieved from

    Frequently Asked Questions

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    Is it better to ski or snowboard?
    Snowboarding requires greater overall fitness and range of motion at a beginner level, so if you older or are less fit, then skiing is a better option for you. If you're overweight or have difficulty getting up from the floor, then both sports will be very difficult for you, but skiing will be easier.
    Is skiing easier than snowboarding?
    However, there's a very common mutual stance between the two: Skiing is usually easier to learn but in order to perfect the sport, you are required to become extremely technical. On the split hand, snowboarding techniques are harder to master but can help quickly achieve impressive levels once nailed.
    Is skiing safer than snowboarding?
    Research conducted by the National Ski Areas Association in the U.S. has shown that “snowboarding is less deadly than skiing.” Snowboarders are more likely to suffer ankle and head injuries, and less likely to be killed in an accident.

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