The skateboard vs. snowboard comparison is actually tricks for beginners of these action sports. Though sharing a similar shape, they are completely different in other departments, no matter how you look at them.
So how can one make a choice?
To help you with this, we’re going to go thoroughly the design, skills and other requirements every beginner should know before diving into them.
The deck of a skateboard is typically made from maple plywood with a coating layer of polyurethane for durability and smoothness. There are also two sets of wheels attached under each end of the deck.
Snowboards, on the other hand, have no such wheels.
The general shape of a snowboard looks almost the same. But instead of maple wood, the core of a snowboard is often made from laminated hardwood, such as bamboo, aspen, birch, or beech.
The bottom of this deck is in contact directly with the snow. Typically made from polyethylene, the surface is well waxed to become hydrophobic and smooth, enabling smooth movements.
Apart from the wheels, the most distinct difference in design is the foot position. On a snowboard, your feet are fixed, thanks to the bindings.
Posture and Stance
The stance is what makes snowboarding and skateboarding look-alike in action and closely related in skills.
You may call it the “surf stance,” which you stand sideways on board moving forward. Though skateboards are usually shorter than snowboards, the position of your feet is similar: they are shoulder-width apart. But due to the different lengths, on a skateboard, they are closer to the ends of the deck.
On the other hand, the “duck stance” is where things become different.
You don’t stay in this position – feet facing 45º against opposite directions – much on a skateboard. While doing skateboarding movements, they are generally in a parallel position.
Another primary difference is how secured your feet are.
There are bindings on snowboards, which make your feet secured to the board during the ride. This contrasts sharply with skateboarding, where you can freely move your feet as you like. Putting one foot down and pushing it against the ground, you create a propulsion force to move the skateboard forwards.
No free foot position means no movement on skateboards!
This foot position also affects the balancing: snowboards allow you to lean backward or forward without losing its balance. This is not something you can do with a skateboard. The weight of the bindings and your boots also make controlling a snowboard dissimilar to that of skateboards.
Each of them comes with its own good and bad sides.
Riding a snowboard, you don’t need to worry about the foot position. All you need to care about is whether your feet sit tight in your boots, which the bindings already hold firmly.
But this also means when you fall while snowboarding, you can’t really bail out as your feet are tightly fixed to the bindings. Unlike skateboarding, you don’t have the option to move them to regain the balance.
Remember, snowboarding doesn’t allow serious mistakes.
At the end of the day, fixed feet results in better stability, especially at high speeds, but also means serious hazards when something goes wrong. This makes snowboarding more unforgiving, and balancing yourself is also harder to get the hang of than a skateboard.
While carving and balancing in basics are not that different, slowing down is a different story.
When you want to slow down or stop a skateboard, you can foot-brake or simply bail before catching up with it. However, due to the lack of any brake, you will need to use the edge of the snowboard itself.
Stopping in this way requires you to master the balancing skills first. As you move downhill, push your toes up or down, making the edges on the respective sides go into the snow and slowing you down until a complete stop.
The stronger the force you create, the quicker the board will stop.
Tricks in skateboarding and snowboarding are totally different when it comes to the wheels and the surfaces you’re going to move on.
Since their feet are freer to move on a skateboard, riders have more room to make fancy movements. This enables a wider range of tricks a skateboarder could do.
But all of them require your skills to be on the mark.
As concrete is the most common surface in skateboarding, landing is not an easy task. If your feet fail to fall exactly right on the board, you may lose control, and the trick you expect may result in painful injuries instead.
This fear of a terrible outcome is really a make-or-break for beginners.
It may encourage more practice and carefulness or lead to mental struggles. The thought of falling off the skateboard may limit how a newbie rides it.
This also applies to snowboards to an extent.
As you don’t have the option of jumping out of a snowboard in the midst of a ride, the fate of you and the board go hand in hand. And no one wants to land their butt on the snow in the winter!
A strong mentality is absolutely necessary for advanced skills in any sports. But snowboarding does have the edge over skateboarding in this department since it’d likely hurt you much less with a fall on snow than on a concrete surface.
We would say skateboarding is more difficult to pick up the essential skills since it may take you more time to get the hang of. Spend a day on snowboarding lessons with a private tutor, and you will grasp the basic skills pretty quickly.
But balancing on a skateboard is really a different beast.
With nothing binding your feet to the board, you may easily get loose of them, knocking yourself off balance. On top of that, there are many other basic transitions, such as mini pipes and ramps, that you need to learn early on in order to have a proper ride in skateparks.
It doesn’t mean snowboarding is easy by any means: you still need a lot of time and effort to master and become more experienced. But when only a basic ride is in the picture, skateboarding requires more from you.
Practice and Cost
Getting into skateboarding won’t cost you much.
A basic set up – a skateboard and some safety equipment – may just cost under $100. This is usually helpful when you need to test the water before committing fully into it. In addition to that, you can find a place to start practicing skateboarding without spending any money.
Receive a skateboard in the morning? You can just kick your first pushes in the afternoon.
Anywhere with a flat surface, from your backyard to even your driveway, can serve as a ground for skateboarding. There are also cities and towns with public mini ramps and skateparks as well. They are usually free and don’t limit the time you can use them.
They allow you to try that kickflip or ollie over and over again without costing a single penny!
In contrast, everything costs a ton with snowboarding. Besides the snowboard itself, you also need other gear like goggles, gloves, and clothes.
And we haven’t started to talk about the cost of traveling to snowboarding sites, which are not readily available like your local skatepark.
Beginners may need to pay up to $1000 for their first session, depending on the actual equipment they have. And you don’t have the luxury of freely trying the same movements as many times as you’d like.
Different environments pose different risks and hazards.
Falling from skateboards onto a concrete ground is certainly more painful, which often happens with beginners. It may lead to bruises or even broken bones. We highly recommend you to take more time before trying high-speed rides or difficult tricks.
And always wear protective gear when possible!
Snowboarding is more forgiving with such falls. However, the environment of mountain ski resorts has other hazards as well. You will never know what is waiting for you under the snowy slopes.
So don’t let confidence blind your eyes and follow all the safety advice.
So Skateboard vs. Snowboard, which Should I Choose?
Skateboards and snowboards are indeed different, from design, skills, learning to cost.
Snowboarding is a more expensive activity and less accessible to most of us. But once you have overcome those issues, it provides an experience like nothing else in the world.
On the other hand, skateboarding is more popular and requires less money from you to dive in. Spend some time to master the basic movements, and you will have a whale of a time with it.
But if they are all within your means, why not both?
Each of them has its place. Try skateboarding in summer and snowboarding in winter, and you could enjoy action sports all year round.
If you want to figure out which one would serve you better, put your thoughts into the budget, time, and which movements you like more. Whichever you choose, you will surely have a good time with it.
Let’s bring the game on!
We believe our skateboard vs. snowboard comparison is fairly enough for beginners. If you still have any questions, feel free to write it down in the comment section.