It's official: skiing is more fun than snowboarding

New research answers the long running debate about whether skiing or snowboarding is better.

It is a rivalry that has played out on ski slopes around the world.

Now there may finally be an answer to whether skiing or snowboarding is better – at least as far as the enjoyment of those who take part is concerned.

Sports psychologists have found that skiers seem to gain more pleasure from their sport than those who use snowboards.

In a survey to assess the happiness and well-being of those taking part in winter sports, the researchers found both skiers and snowboarders benefited from a day in the mountains.

Even those who only headed to the slopes occasionally seemed to receive an emotional boost.

However, on average the skiers rated their own level of pleasure and involvement in their sport around five times higher than those who snowboarded or did both sports.

The researchers suggest the reason may be because skiers become more immersed in their activity when moving down a slope than snowboarders.

They say this "flow" directly leads to increased satisfaction with their sport.


Others may suggest, however, that snowboarders are simply a more relaxed crowd and so have a tendency to underplay their answers when being questioned about their sport on the slopes.

Hyun-Woo Lee, a sports scientist and former racing driver at Florida State University who led the research, said: "Positive emotions are involved in the enhancement of the experience itself.

"In a ski resort context, it was meaningful to focus on the role of experiencing flow in physical activity when considering happiness.

"Visitors of ski resorts can have a higher sense of meaning to the activity through the effects of pleasure and flow.

"Skiers had higher means on pleasure and involvement compared to other participants enjoying snowboarding or both."

The researchers questioned 279 people at three different ski resorts in South Korea about how their sport made them feel.

Around 45 per cent of those taking part were skiers while 40 per cent snowboarders and the remaining 15 per cent enjoyed both sports.

The researchers found 90 per cent visiting ski resorts fewer than five times in a season and they spent an average of four and a half days at a resort.

Mr Lee and his colleagues at Yonsei University in South Korea have published their results in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life.

The researchers do not say whether they themselves ski or snowboard – which along with the relatively small study and restricted geographical area is likely to raise questions about the validity among snowboarders.

Regardless, it is unlikely to end the rivalry that exists between snowboarders and skiers.

However, the findings do go some way towards helping to unravel some of the reasons that make winter sports so attractive despite their relative high cost.

He said: "Adult playfulness can influence people's happiness, while activities and socially convening around a sporting activity such as skiing have positive psychological outcomes and contribute to overall well-being.

"This is also true for people who only casually participate in sports."

The Telegraph, London