Bear Essentials: Is skiing or snowboarding a better workout?

Skiing and snowboarding provide equal workouts

By Owen Crossmon

Skiing and snowboarding … which one is easier? This is a common argument between the two sports. If the sport is easier, it takes less energy than the other. Some say snowboarding is harder than skiing because one has to balance more instead of just standing on one’s two feet like normal. When snowboarding, one has to use one’s core and leg muscles to go from edge to edge. Snowboarding people have to balance the snowboard from side to side, not so much forward or backward because there are a nose and tail on the board. Once someone becomes comfortable while snowboarding, it takes less effort so it will take less energy.

Skiing is seen as easier to learn than snowboarding because when someone goes down the hill, they are facing forward so it is more like walking. Skiing feels more natural than snowboarding. When skiing, to balance, one just puts more pressure on one foot than the other. The core, leg muscles and even arms will be used to balance.

Skiing and snowboarding are an equal workout, in my opinion. There are people who try extremely hard to carve or do tricks in skiing and snowboarding. There are also people who barely put effort into doing anything. For example, Alpine racers put more effort in than a casual ski parent, or a professional snowboarder versus a parent who just turns. There is no exact way to measure which sport is a better workout. Anyone who does either snowboarding or skiing will not know what the other sport feels like.

According to Snowsports Industries America, a nonprofit organization, Alpine skiing burns more calories at about 500 compared to snowboarding with 450 calories burned. These numbers, in my opinion, are inaccurate and not possible to measure. The skier and snowboarder would have to be at the exact same skill level with the same experience doing the same trail and same turns in the same spot, which is nearly impossible.

One statement in the Outside.com article that I can agree with comes from Kevin Jordan, a ski and snowboard instructor at Aspen Snowmass in Colorado, who said that the amount of calories burned is based on how many trails one does, how hard one is turning, how experienced one is, and what the conditions are like.

As a snowboarder, it is impossible for me to know if skiing or snowboarding is a better workout because the only difference is that one goes sideways and the other goes forward. Both skiers and snowboarders are on the same trail doing the same turns; they just use different muscles but burn the same calories depending on what type of riding they are doing.

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