Ski or Board?
Posted: 19 January 2007 03:35 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi,
 
I’ve previously skiied for one week two years ago. I loved it and am planning another week for the end of February. I had planned to spend the week trundling down the green and blue runs generally enjoying myself while my partner does ski school in the mornings. However I’m wondering if we shouldn’t both give boarding a try and wondered if anyone had any advice. We’d both do school in the mornings for the week but I don’t want to end up spending the whole week trying to learn to board and not getting to spend some time just crusing the runs. Would I be up and running on a board after a few days?
 
I’ve been looking at either Hemsedal in Norway or Avoriaz, Valmorel or Courcheval in France. Anyone got any good or bad info on these places?
 
Thanks
Ian

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Posted: 21 January 2007 10:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Hi there
 
Learning together should be fun assuming you both get on with it - and that’s the sticking point I suppose. Based on my own and friends experiences, learning to board is different to learning to ski. Boarding is generally quicker to learn - a steeper learning curve - code for it hurts a lot more than skiing. If you are not a robust and determined person then I suggest skiing. A good friend of mine is making very slow progress in boarding because he is afraid of getting hurt - a nervous intermediate after four weeks, whereas I was roughly doing intermediate runs after three days lessons (none since).
 
If you decide to dip your toe, I suggest a minimum of 3 half day lessons. Consider as much armour as you can afford - wrist guards and helmet are vital. I also use knee and elbow pads and impact shorts. Hotel towels down your pants are an alternative way to protect your cocxyx - I’m not joking.
 
IMHO, boarding is physically harder-work but more fun, although less practical than skis.
 
Have fun.

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Posted: 22 January 2007 09:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Stewart’s suggestion of at least three half days is a good one for learning to board. I tried only the two hour taster-session at Serre Chevalier. It wasn’t nearly enough to give an impression of whether I would enjoy the sport - and, in fact, I didn’t really enjoy spending most of it falling over and scooting around a small slope. Couldn’t wait to get back on my skis.
 
I plan to give it another go though, as being a much better skier now I reckon I wouldn’t have the same fear level as I did a few years ago.
 
As for resort: look for somewhere with fewer drag-lifts and more chairs, as well as plenty of gentle runs. Drag-lifts are a nightmare if you are learning and a sure way of putting you off going beyond the nursery slope!
 
Your suggestions are all good in terms of the resorts, but Valmorel has a lot of tricky drags - so I’d avoid it for your first attempt. It is also very family oriented - which may or may not be to your liking.
 
I’d definitely take a look at Courchevel - there are good nursery slopes and graduation runs. Avoriaz is convenient and traffic-free and I thought there was a good choice of cruisy blue runs - but it can get busy. Both resorts will offer reliable snow generally.
 
Other places you might consider are Andorra - a good place to learn (decent instruction and gentle slopes) and Galtur in Austria. A friend of mine really enjoyed the quiet slopes there for his second week of boarding. He also rated highly Alpe d’Huez, as a place with "excellent greens".
 
Give it a try!
 
W
 

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Posted: 30 January 2007 01:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Hi there
 
I agree with everything Stewart suggested but would throw in two more things to look for: (1) good snow, preferably with recent snow falls - falling on "hard packed pistes" is, well, hard, (2) reasonably wide and preferably uncrowded slopes.  In my view it’s actually harder, as a beginner, to snowboard on a gently sloping but hard, narrow and crowded green snowcat track than on even a steep blue or gentle-ish red that is uncrowded, wide and has soft or powdery snow to fall onto.
 
Basically, snowboarding is more painful to learn but once you have the basics down (ie can link turns) it’s really only a matter of pushing yourself to try steeper runs and move at greater speed - unlike skiing, your technique doesn’t keep changing as you improve and move on to more tricky terrain.  It is also possible to get down steep runs early on with a snowboard (by sideslipping) if you happen to take a wrong turn and end up at the top of a red or black run.  The disadvantages of snowboarding are that drag lifts are difficult to master, you spend a fair bit of time sitting in the snow doing up bindings etc while your skiing friends glide off the lift and down the mountain, and if you hit a long, flat section of the mountain there are no poles to push yourself along with.
 
Courchevel is probably the best place in the Three Valleys for a novice snowboarder, try the runs off the Jardin Alpin gondola out of 1850 at first (although they can have some flattish bits) and move on to some of the blue runs off the top of the gondola out of 1650 once you get your confidence up and have mastered linked turns on green runs.  I must admit I haven’t been to the other resorts you mention.
 
Hope this is useful - good luck
 
Florian

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Posted: 09 March 2011 09:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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why choose? I do both, not very good at either but I enjoy it!

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