Although Snowboarding has been around since the 60s, it is still considered a relatively young sport. The art of sliding sideways was originally adopted by surfers and skaters looking to take their skills to the slopes but grew like a rocket ship once it hit the mainstream in the early 90s
The first 30 years of snowboarding was a long and slow process as devout fanatics such as Jake Burton and Tom Sims battled it out to create the perfect board whilst also carving out what exactly snowboarding was all about. On top of this, it took a long time to shake off the misunderstandings and misconceptions about snowboarding and its participants. Especially from the straight-laced skiers and resort owners who didn´t take kindly to a young and loud new breed of snowsports enthusiasts.
For most snowboarders (apart from us oldies) all of this must seem like ancient history but there are still many misconceptions about our beloved sport and the people who do it. Whether is be from someone who has never tried snowboarding or from an old-school skier who still holds a grudge, you would be surprised about what people could think!
In this article, we will look further into the 5 most common misconceptions about Snowboarding that are completely untrue and try to explain why it’s such a lot of nonsense!
Let’s dive in…
1. Snowboarding Is Just For Young People
Snowboarding isn’t just a young gun’s game. Contrary to popular belief, this sport isn’t reserved solely for kids in baggy pants. While the roots of snowboarding might have been woven into the fabric of youth culture, the reality is far broader and the sport has aged like a fine wine.
First off, snowboarding gear isn’t ageist. Snowboards, their accessories and clothing are available in a huge range of styles and sizes. You will not find an age range on 1 single piece of snowboard-related gear!
These days a snowboarder doesn’t need to leave the ground to be considered a good rider, in fact, there are specific snowboards designed just for drawing beautiful lines on the piste and the powder. Improving turning skills isn’t limited by age brackets. Advanced carving techniques are up for grabs for riders of any age eager to level up their skills.
And let’s not forget that the art of freestyle tricks isn’t something you age out of; it’s about passion and practice, not the number of candles on your birthday cake. As we get older we are more prone to injury and don´t bounce so easily but by working on the correct techniques we can still safely mix it with the kids.
When it comes to destinations, the best part about snowboarding is that it’s open to everyone. Mountain resorts aren’t checking IDs at the gates. Whether you’re seeking backcountry adventure or the thrill of terrain parks, age doesn’t determine the fun you’ll have. Older snowboarders even have the upper hand as they can spend hours in the bar telling the youngsters that it was so much better in the old days.
In essence, snowboarding isn’t just a young person’s paradise. It’s a diverse, inclusive community where passion, skill, and love for the slopes trump age stereotypes. So, if you’ve ever thought snowboarding was strictly for the young’uns, think again. It’s a sport for the young at heart, regardless of the digits on your birth certificate.
2. It’s Hard To Learn How To Snowboard
The idea that learning to snowboard is an impossible challenge is one of the biggest misconceptions out there. Sure, snowboarding techniques might seem daunting at first glance, but with the right approach and gear, it’s not as tough as it’s made out to be.
Snowboarding gear has evolved to cater to all levels. There are options for snowboards, bindings, boots and even clothing tailored for beginners. Designed to ease the learning curve and provide stability while you’re finding your footing on the slopes.
Carving techniques, often thought of as complex, are actually something you can pick up gradually. Modern coaching techniques make for a very steady and safe learning curve and are very different from the old-school “keep crashing until you learn” approach. With a good snowboard instructor or an online step-by-step guide to help you grasp the basics, advanced carving techniques, while challenging, are within reach with practice and a little determination.
Tricks? They’re not just for the pros. Coaching for mastering freestyle tricks exists for beginners eager to dive into the world of flips and spins, and for those who can’t afford coaching, there is lots of handy tips for online training such as Ed Shreds on YouTube. It’s about starting small and building your way up, not about being an expert from day one.
When it comes down to it, the misconception that snowboarding is hard to learn is just that—a misconception. It’s a sport that welcomes newcomers of all ages and abilities. With the right guidance, gear, and a willingness to embrace the learning process, snowboarding is as simple to learn as skiing.
3. Snowboarders Are Reckless And Disrespectful Punks!
The belief that snowboarders are reckless and disrespectful is a misguided and out-of-date stereotype that doesn’t hold up to the reality on the slopes. While some might hold onto this misconception, the truth is far from it.
Safety is a core value within the snowboarding community. Most snowboarders, like any other snowsports enthusiasts, prioritize safe riding techniques and although some of the tricks that you see are pretty extreme, they are usually completed in designated snowparks.
Like every sport, there are a few bad eggs that selfishly prioritize their own fun over others’ safety and comfort, but such people exist in the ski community too. Trust me I have seen an equal mix on the mountain.
Additionally, the snowboarding culture revolves around camaraderie and respect. Snowboarders generally respect fellow riders and adhere to slope etiquette. This sense of community often includes mentoring and supporting beginners, fostering a positive and welcoming atmosphere.
In essence, the misconception of snowboarders as reckless and disrespectful overlooks the dedication, skill-building, and respect prevalent in the snowboarding community. It’s a collective commitment to safety, skill development, and mutual respect, debunking the unfounded stereotype.
4. Snowboarding Damages Ski Slopes
The notion that snowboarding damages ski slopes is a complete misconception. While this belief might have circulated in the past, it has never been proven and has no grounding.
Both skiing and snowboarding have a comparable impact on slopes. The truth is that any winter sport, including skiing, snowboarding, or even hiking, leaves some mark on the snow. However, modern snowboarding equipment and techniques have significantly evolved, minimizing any potential impact.
Snowboards distribute weight across a larger surface area compared to ski edges. Additionally, technological advancements in snowboard materials and designs have led to less friction and reduced surface disruption. As a result, the impact on the snowpack from snowboarding is no more significant than that from skiing.
Resorts and ski areas often cater to both skiers and snowboarders, recognizing the shared enjoyment of winter sports. They maintain the slopes to ensure optimal conditions for all enthusiasts, irrespective of their chosen method of mountain fun.
In essence, the idea that snowboarding uniquely damages ski slopes is a misconception. Both skiing and snowboarding leave similar marks on the snow, and the impact largely depends on factors like snow conditions, grooming, and the number of users. The snowboarding community, like skiers, values the preservation of slopes and works in tandem with resorts to maintain enjoyable and sustainable experiences for all snow sports enthusiasts.
5. Snowboarding is More Dangerous Than Skiing
The belief that snowboarding is more dangerous than skiing is completely untrue!
Both skiing and snowboarding carry risks, but neither is inherently more dangerous than the other. Injury rates between the two sports have shown to be quite similar over the years, with no substantial difference in overall risk.
Historically, when snowboarding was in its infancy, there was a perception of higher risk due to the learning curve and un-refined equipment. However, as snowboarding techniques, gear, and safety measures have evolved, the gap in injury rates between skiing and snowboarding has significantly decreased.
Moreover, modern snowboard equipment is designed with safety in mind. Advances in snowboard bindings, helmets, and protective gear have contributed to reducing the likelihood of injuries. Additionally, snowboarders are increasingly educated about safety measures and responsible riding practices.
Ultimately, the perceived difference in danger between skiing and snowboarding is more about individual skill level, experience, and responsible behaviour on the slopes rather than risk in the sport itself. Both skiing and snowboarding can be enjoyed safely with proper knowledge, training, and adherence to safety guidelines. Therefore, considering snowboarding as significantly more dangerous than skiing is a misconception that doesn’t hold true.
Other Common Misconceptions about Snowboarding That Are Completely Untrue
Here are some more completely untrue misconceptions…
Snowboarders Can’t Go As Fast As Skiers
Snowboarders can absolutely match the speeds of skiers, often reaching similar velocities depending on terrain, skill, and conditions. Both skiing and snowboarding offer opportunities for high speeds, and experienced riders in both sports can reach some seriously fast speeds!
Snowboarders Can’t Go On Flats
Many people feel that snowboarders will get stuck on flat sections as they do not have poles to push themselves along.
This is kind of true but good snowboarders can bounce from tail to nose along flat sections or easily unclip their back foot and skate along. Once you know a resort well, its also easy to hold your speed over flat sections.
Snowboarders Can’t Ride With Skiers
The misconception that snowboarders can’t ride with skiers is false! In reality, snowboarders and skiers frequently ride together on slopes and share the same terrain without any issues.
Both snowboarding and skiing communities often coexist harmoniously, enjoying the same runs and resort facilities. The misconception might have stemmed from outdated stereotypes or misunderstandings about differences in riding styles or speed preferences. However, snowboarders and skiers can easily shred together.
Snowboarders Can´t Ride Moguls
As Skiers face forward they have better mobility when it comes to riding through a mogul field, but that doesn’t mean that Snowboarders can´t master the art of the mogul!
With the right technique and some practice, moguls can become enjoyable on a snowboard. Here is a short video on how best to ride mogul fields by SnowboardPro Camp
All Snowboarders Only Want To Ride Freestyle
The misconception that all snowboarders exclusively pursue freestyle riding stems from a limited view of the sport.
While freestyle riding is a significant aspect of snowboarding, it’s not the sole focus for all snowboarders. Snowboarding encompasses various styles beyond freestyle, such as freeriding, carving, backcountry riding, and more. Each style offers unique experiences, and many snowboarders enjoy a combination of these styles, exploring diverse terrains and riding techniques.
Other Helpful Articles
If you enjoyed these articles you will love these too!