For a Novice in His 30s, Which is Better to Start out With, Snowboarding or Skiing?
Here's a new article that's part of my Health, Lifestyle & Culture series.
You seemed to have posed one those proverbial chicken or egg questions of the recreational sports world. In other words, I don't believe there is one right answer to your question as in the end it will always remain a matter of personal preference. However, I do have an opinion based on personal experience. Snowboarding is all the rage among young people these days, and becoming even more popular than skiing. This is likely because riding a snowboard provides the potential for thrilling tricks and jumps, whereas skiing is traditionally more about simply going down the mountain. While you don't need to be a daredevil-type snowboarder, the appeal of the sport largely lies in the thrill of the tricks and maneuvers, which can be dangerous. The risk of serious injury while snowboarding is greater than skiing, especially for a fully grown adult with no experience. The lateral riding position is likely to feel unnatural and presents a risk of twisting on a wipeout and causing serious injury to the knee. Also, a beginner snowboarder will wipeout far more than a skier ever will. If you're careful in your apprenticeship, I would say that you could learn to ski without wiping out more than a small handful of times and with a very low risk of getting hurt. Ultimately, this is why I would recommend skiing over snowboarding. To the experienced practitioner, both sports provide equal thrills and opportunities to do tricks and maneuvers. For the beginner (especially someone who isn't a teenager anymore), skiing is the one that will provide you a much lower risk of serious injury.