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I am in a real pickle and am capable of making up my mind without following the crowd, but would still like to research my decision. So here goes:


Should I ski or board?


I am sure this question will (and has) draw alot of ski v's board rivalry. If at all possible please try to be objective in your responses. No emotion driven advice, no comments on evolution, just useful info.


Here is soome background:


I am 29, male;

I am a good surfer, 18 years on the waves;

I used to ski, but not for a little over 10 years now;

I dont own any equipment for either activity;

I live in Tokyo;

I dont care about image and whats cool - I do what I am good at and what I enjoy;


Will my resort selection/run selection/lift selection be limited in Japan on a snow board? What about in the US, Canada and Europe?


I boarding more popular in Japan than other countries? (The Japanese appear to flock to the "cool" things but never get that good at it). So far in Japan it seems to be cooler to "appear to be a surfer" than actually to be a surfer. ie lots of talk but not much walk. Is boarding a victim of the same thing? This probably wont influence my choice.


What about relative set-up costs? Not that important but if one is 10x the cost of the other then it will weigh into the debate. On balance so far it seems much on par (by my casual observations).


I, for no sound reason, have convinced muself that I would much prefer to board if I was able to carve big wide slices in powder. I can read alot of surfing into the body dynamics. Plus I like the unexpected opportunities to carve off the top of big banks and snow drifts. Does that really happen or have I just made up these images in my mind? If it does exist, is it that hard to get off-piste in Japan?


There are alot of "form" aspects to skiing that I like. I used to enjoy the sleek elegence with which one could execute turns, controil the skiis. I also loved the speed.The importance n the subtleties of technique were always really enjoyable aspects of skiing for me. There are so many ways to ski depending on your mood of the day. Plus there are so many ways to ski the same slope. I am concerned that boarding will not offer the same range and may become boarding after a while.


Again, for no solid reason I have applied the surfing v's bodyboarding concept to ski v's board. The boogy board opened up the world of catching waves to the masses and, as a general rule, is a low skilled sport (compared to surfing). There are some awesome bodyboarders around that are freaks in some conditions. But even they often say that the booger buzz is only available in certain conditions (10 foot breaking onto 3 feet of water). Outside of conditions tailored to boogers, it is a pretty boring and limited activity (and did I mention low skilled). Did boarding open up winter sports to the masses hence alot of boarders are not very good, but were able to reach the 'average'; skill level alot faster than a skier is able to reach the average level?


I am not very interested in what I understand are called 'snow board parks'. Those half pipe things would be a buzz for a while but my days of 'hanging at the ramp' died when I lost interest in Tony Hawke (does that show my age? Is he still around?).


Boarders have always had an image with me as being ****er little brats, kind of like I was when I was a skater in my teens. Does that general perception persist? Again, I doubt it will influence me much but if the image is REALLY bad I may steer clear of it.


So many questions...


The simple solution would be to board for a while and make up my mind, but I REALLY want to avoid renting gear (esp. boots). I hate renting, although I would rent skiis for a while to try out different cuts before I chose on which ones to commit to and buy.


In the end I reckon that I will have a bloody good time regardless of which path I take, I just wonder what other peoples thoughts are.




(ps - from a jovial point of view.... by all accounts my little brother is an exceptionally good snow boarder. The most recent photo I saw of him was infact in an advert in a snow board mag. If I take up skiing again I will get the 'typical professionally employed resort skier' jibe from him. If I board he will no doubt lump me in the 'wanna be' category!

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why not try both???

maybe buy some really cheap used equip. just to fool around on, or go the rental way...no reason you have to do only one or the other...ne


I prefer skiing meself, if that is any help to you...

for a beginner, I imagine start-up cost is about the same (maybe a bit more $$$ for skiing, but not 10x)...



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from what you've said, and what you wanna do, go for boarding. Set up price similar. I boarded in Japan for six years before starting to ski, and had no probs at resorts.


Japan gets lots of fresh snowfall, so finding decent powder rarely a problem.

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gee, that was a helpfull post from Ocean, not. Generally when someone puts down another to make a point, the point that they are making is weak. Same goes for sarcastic tactics.


I thought deebee raised some good observations re skiing and boarding, and all were unbiased. The surf and body board comparison is quite true.


deebee: if you surf then you may well enjoy _quality_ boarding.

However skiing will seldom let you down.


As suggested above, you could do both but I dont think I would want to lug both sets of gear with me and then choose which to use.

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Yo, no name poster!


You humble me with your wisdom and insight. But when told on a forum "No emotion driven advice, no comments on evolution, just useful info" by someone who seems to look down on a sport he's just looking start, well, the sarcastic juices begin to flow. S'natural, like. But if you don't like it, go on, dock me another star.


Why don't you and he get together for some _quality_boarding? :p


Again, I'd suggest sticking with skiing. You can ride at more places that way, as some resorts haven't quite come round to accepting the '****er little brats'

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I am sorry I put you nose out of joint by asking for no emotionally driven responses. I tend to prefer rational opinion over emotional biases, I think that is fair. I also dont think I looked down on either activity - I find excellent qualities in skiing (from experience) and imagined fantastic qualities in boarding (by association with surfing).


Many of my thoughts were just ponderings - and as I said the actualities of them wouldnt influence my decision anyway.


And yes, I did use the phrase ***er brats - and then admitted that I used to be one in my skateboarding days (and grommet surfing days).


Here is another question - I surf goofy, always skated natural... how would I board? I tried it a little over 10 years ago and went natural, but that was how this guy had the board set up. I recal it felt pretty strange, but I thought that was the angled ice rink called a ski slope that I was on.

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Did boarding open up winter sports to the masses hence alot of boarders are not very good
No. Not at all. Numbers have been falling sharply since 1990 before boarding really hit Japan. Boarding has not made winter sports more popular or opened the hills to the "masses", whatever that is supposed to mean (SJG-stop telling everyone about these resorts! You'll only encourage BEGINNERS!!)

Boarding has simply helped keep a few resorts in business. Through its influence on freestyle and powder skiing, boarding has also put some life back into skiing. Maybe they call the short ones "fun skis" because the long ones weren't so much fun any more. I don't see anyone saying that modern, partly-snowboard inspired skis are rubbish and that everyone should return to pre-1990 vintage 2m sticks.

If you're going to criticize half-hearted surfers for buying flash gear and posing, maybe you shouldn't be so against renting, the logical alternative for people who just want to try out a new sport. In Japan, it's the have-to-buy-absolutely-everything-before-starting attitude that is the problem, not the I-want-to-have-a-little-go one.
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Mr NoFakie,


I used "masses" as a figure of speech, not much more.


My pondersings about people being obsessed with the latest thing were just that, ponderings, not opinions.


Very valid point re: renting. I should have clarified - I really dont like renting ski gear due to bad experiences in distant years and the valuable weekend skiing time it consumes. Perhaps things have changed.


As for surfers in Japan - I give them credit for pure enthusiasm. They will surf just about any windy ripple. As you say, they really do want to give it a go, and good on them. I didnt mean for my remark on skill level to be critical, just an observation of fact. Truth be told, the best surfer in the world is the one having the most fun.

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deebee, no probs.


Snowboarding is good fun and is as challenging as you want it to be. I've seen people riding their board straight down the fall line, no carving at all, and they go very fast indeed. That's another skill altogether if you want variety.


There are also lots of very skilled Japanese boarders who have acquired their ability the hard way with broken bones and lots of riding. Sure there are plenty of Kissmark Kids too, but so what? Everybody has to learn somehow.


If you want to try boarding, certainly renting is one way to go, but if you're a big bloke, you might start with a board that's too short (like me) and have more trouble than you really need. Borrowing saves you the early morning hassle of finding the right kit at the rental shop, and you can also play with your set up at home (I rode the tatami hard some nights finding a stance that felt right).


I recommend you get some general purpose winter sports clothes, and give boarding a go with rented or borrowed kit. You can always go back to skiing if you don't like it straightaway. (But then all the boarders I go with were once accomplished skiers...)

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Thanks Ocean, that is good advice, particularly regarding the 'all purpose' clothes.


In my research on the web I found this little bit and thought that what the skier says is similiar to what I said without even knowing it was an "issue". I think I touched a raw nerve without knowing about it. Sorry.


"This past Christmas, on a snowboarding trip to California's Mammoth Mountain, I shared a chair-lift with a skier from England. About midway up the mountain, he turnde to me and, out of the blue, said, "Snowboarding is really nothing compared to skiing. Skiing is more of an art. Snowboarding just doesn't have the same finesse. I politely resisted the urge to headbutt the guy. As a snowboarder, I'm used to that kind of token abuse from skiers. It's just part of a larger cultureclash beetwen the two camps: Skiers don't like us, claiming we're a bunch of crude, unfit-for-society malcontents who've sullied their pristine little downhill country-clubs; we think they're a bunch of efeete snobs whose poles seem to be stuck somewhere other than in the snow. "

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I have a pair of 28cm Nordica Vertech ski boots about 7 years old in not too bad condition that are sitting around my apartment collecting dust. If you decided to take up skiing and your feet are about that size let us know.


As for what you should do, rent the first couple of times if you can until you figure what it is you want to do. Failing that try going up with some friends or some of us here who have spare gear that might be okay for you.

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All good advice.. but here's something else.. You appear pre-disposed to skiing but I think that you can't overlook your skills on waves being a definite asset to be used towards boarding...


Six years ago I broke my wrist in MotoX late in the season and ended up with a cast on it till spring... So I tried boarding because I couldn't find a good way to hold a pole... For me, it never really took... just couldn't get the hang of it or feel real comfortable with BOTH feet nailed to a board... Thought I had an inner ear problem for a while


Because of your comments about the "Zen" experienced on a set of skis 10 years ago the one thing you must consider now is that Technology and design have changed skiing for ever... Boots ARE more comfortable.... Skis ARE more skiable and there is lots of Zen out there to be had on skis or on a board...


I do not envy your decision and would hesitate to make a recomendation to you except to say "go with your gut and I think you can't go wrong with either choice you make"...


It's all about the Zen of snow - not what your ridin' :p



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No offence taken there, big fella. Some skiers dismiss boarders as unskilled and as somehow taking an easy option by not following the noble art of skiing, and some of your thoughts seemed to point in that direction.


As long as you don't go to Shiga Kogen, boarding should not especially limit your choice of runs at resorts.


If I were to ski again, I'd get leather boots and telemark bindings. If you're thinking long-term and want great snow, difficult terrain, and to enjoy the mountain without lifts, music, lots of people etc., it seems like the best setup to have.

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I think jumping directly into telemarking is to much of a big decision, but I am actually prettyy keen to try it. I hope it is easier than downhill on x-country skis. I recal that was very hard to do.


Mogski - thanks for the offer. They sound a little big though.


I am still investigating my options, but I am leaning towards the board. I initially just assumed that I would ski as that is 'what I have always done' - and that is a horrible concept to base a decision on!


My girlfriend has also boarded a few times in the past and is happy to give it a go again. She really enjoyed it.


By the way - how many bloody board manufacturers are there?! There must be at least 100!


Then boots, bindings.... rather daunting.



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I may get some stick for this, but I think the type of board doesn't matter much as long as it's big enough (comes up to your eyes when stood on end) and fairly stiff.


Until you're good at skating (one foot out) and general board balance there's not much point in getting step-ins, so go for good quality comfy strap bindings and boots. And a helmet. That's about it.


I reckon...

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From a read of your musings, I would gather you are more inclined to board anyways given your surfing/skateboarding background. Either way, you'll need to start out again. Rent a few times on both and then decide. Perhaps have a play with goofy/natural on the board, and also check out the new generation of carving skis - there have been a few changes since you were last on skis - you might be pleasantly surprised!


I have skis/poles/boots dying to get rid of - in very good nick if you decide to go down that path....!


Ocean11 - heya - long time....! Got a question for you - I have got a mate starting out boarding and he is 200cms tall/100kg - what sort of board do you reckon I should get him to start on - I was thinking round 175 or so - reckon he would manage it, or longer better?


Ciao (just got back from 3 weeks in Italy!)


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Ocean, your comments on strap over step in bindings are the best I have heard. How simple... if you spend most of your time falling over when you get of the lift, what is the point in having quick click and go, "do it on the fly" bindings in the first place? Not alot, particularly when by all accounts the strap setup works 100% perfectly in the first place.


As for board (or skiis for that matter). I was always going to spend the money on staying warm and comfy and make the savings on the board.

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Hi Belle. Did you get your board tooned in the end?


For your BIG friend I'd suggest something more like 179, although you probably won't find one in Japan. I'm 182 cm/82 kg and ride a 169 cm board which is just right, although a bit longer probably wouldn't hurt. The taller you are, the further your head travels to whack into the hardpack. The bigger the board the better the stability so the less the pain. Turning isn't actually a problem with a longer board either.


And when he gets into the pow, he'll love the bigger board.


Italy eh? You do get about. Do you work really hard when you're not galavanting around?

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Ocean11 - nah, its still sitting by my bed reminding me daily how horrible I am... heading to Austria and Canada this season, so will get it tuned somewhere by hook or by crook.


Yeah, work like a maddog. Vacations are sweeter because of it, but its a mad life.


Thanks for the advice. He's gonna fall, and fall hard, no matter which way you look at it. I just got suckered into being his instructor for a few days and was having a think about what sort of gear he would need. I was wondering about availability of larger boards, but you've sorted that one for me. He might buy early season outside of Japan, but I was hoping he could try a few different sizes out before he did.

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