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We are a family of skiers and snowboarders. In discussing which sport to teach our children first we keeping coming up with merits for both. Our intention is to eventually teach both sports and let the kids decide which they like best.

Is there an advantage to teaching one or the other first? Would an experienced skier have an easier time learning snowboarding, or vice versa?

Would this possibly vary by age, particularly for young children (starting as young as is practical)?

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  • Shouldn't we migrate this to Sports.SE? Commented May 29, 2013 at 14:23

3 Answers 3

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Start with skiing at around 3 or 4 years, let them choose what they want to do from 8 on. This has several reasons:

  • I don't know of any skiing/snowboarding schools that take kids younger than 3 for skiing lessons or younger than 8 for snowboarding.
  • Kids younger than 8 generally don't have the necessary sense of balance needed for snowboarding.
  • Skiing can be taught as a natural progression from walking. Young kids just walk short bits on awkward shoes and slide when the hill gets steeper. This lets them get used to the higher speed of skiing (vs walking) very naturally.
  • Other than a general sense of how snow feels under a board/ski I don't see a specific benefit from either sport for the other, so I don't think there is a logical ordering for the two (other than the age based one).
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  • This answer is a bit dated, with most major ski hills teaching snowboarding at 4. Both of my kids, 4 and 7, ride. Boarding seems always harder to teach in the beginning though, regardless of age.
    – Eric
    Commented Nov 27, 2017 at 15:10
  • From what I hear my point about age restrictions in ski/snowboard schools for kids still holds at least in france and austria. Though I know that on occasion exceptions are made by local schools. Commented Nov 27, 2017 at 20:18
  • There's no good reason other than ski-centric mindsets. Europe (where you are) vs California (my spot). We're about 50/50 boards/skis over here so go figure our training programs line up accordingly.
    – Eric
    Commented Nov 29, 2017 at 18:58
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Im studying it. Ill do some experiments this winter with my university group. As both discipline instructor i've seen that usually people that snowboard before they learn skiing easily than the opposite. Really fast. With children it's different, if they're less than 8 years old, they sould to learn skiing before if they're not really motivated, first for biomechaniclas reasons and then because snowboarding starts learning waking up and skiing you can start like walking :)

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Around here kids had to be 8 before snowboarding. I have no specific arguments as to why but from experience, learning to snowboard hurts a bit more. :)

We put our 6 year old in skis and did snowboarding at 8

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