Do Skateboarding Skills Transfer to Snowboarding? These Do.

There’s many kids who grow up in the concrete playgrounds riding bowls and rails on their four-wheeled boards. When winter rolls around, it’s common to wonder if those skateboard skills transfer over to a snowboard. The short answer is some of the skills transfer from skateboarding to snowboarding but not all of them.

We’ll look at which skateboard skills transfer to snowboarding and what you’ll need to additionally learn to get comfortable on a snowboard.

Skateboarding at Skate Park near Venice Beach
Skateboarding at Skate Park near Venice Beach. Photo Credit Nan Palmero (Flickr CC)

Is Skateboarding Different From Snowboarding?

There’s so many differences between skateboarding and snowboarding but it’s not to say there aren’t any similarities. The differences are easy to point out, starting with the weather, no clunky boots for skateboarding, harder falls in skateboarding and even down to some of the tricks.

What skateboarding does though is provide a great base and segway into snowboarding. The culture is relatively the same and people are out there to express themselves. To some, this is hanging with the community, while for others it’s taking in nature during the winter.

There is nothing like 1,000 acres of expansive terrain to explore and get lost on the trails.

Which Skateboard Skills Transfer to Snowboarding

Skateboarding and snowboarding are both board sports that share a lot of common features. They can both be enjoyed as solo sports or as part of a group, they can be done on flat ground or slopes, and they are both great ways to get some exercise. But while they may look similar, the skills required to be a good skateboarder don’t always transfer over to being a good snowboarder.

There are a few basic skills that you need for both sports – balance, coordination, and strength. But in addition to those skills, you also need to know how to ride in different terrains and how to use the different types of equipment available for each sport. For skateboarding, that means knowing how to ride on curbs, grind on rails, and do tricks off jumps.

The fundamentals are similar from skateboarding to snowboarding but there is a whole different feel once you strap into snowboard bindings.

How Long Have You Skateboarded

Another factor that plays into a skill transfer from skateboarding to snowboarding is how long you have skateboarded. If you have grown up skateboarding and try to learn to snowboard, it will undoubtedly come easier than someone who has never been on a board in their life.

We think it comes down to all the little muscles used in skateboarding that are developed over time. Frankly, having used those muscles already is probably one of the best benefits to coming from a skateboarding background into snowboarding.

How Your Skill Level of Skateboarding Effects Learning to Snowboard

Skateboarding at a Skate Park
Skateboarding at a Skate Park. Photo Credit Victoria Pickering (Flickr CC)

If you are an intermediate to an advanced skateboarder, you will find it easy to learn how to snowboard. This is because the skills required for each sport are very similar. Snowboarding involves getting on a board and riding down a hill, while skateboarding involves riding on a flat surface and turning by using your feet.

Beginner skateboarders will have an edge over someone who has never been on any board but they won’t be that far ahead of brand new snowboarders. We do see that intermediate to advanced skateboarders often transition to a snowboard park quicker than someone who has never ridden any boards before.

Identifying the Skills Gap Between Skateboarding and Snowboarding

There are many skills that are transferable between skateboarding and snowboarding. However, there are also some key skills that are specific to each sport. The skills gap between skateboarding and snowboarding can be narrowed by focusing on the key skills that are specific to each sport.

Skateboarding and snowboarding both require balance, agility, strength and coordination. The biggest skills you can’t feel on a skateboard when compared to snowboarding are –

  • Stopping
  • Skating
  • Turning

Skating is the most similar between skating and snowboarding but the slickness of the snow takes skating to a whole new level. Not to mention that you have a foot strapped into the board. It is certainly a skill to get used to, even though it will be quick to learn if you come from skateboarding.

Turning just doesn’t feel the same on a snowboard once you dig that edge in for a carve. Skateboarding and snowboarding both feel a bit like surfing but on different surfaces. You can’t imitate a deep carve in some fresh powder or even a steep groomer on the slopes.

Do Skateboarders Learn to Snowboard Fast?

Snowboarder shredding the slopes.
Snowboarder shredding the slopes. Photo Credit Peter Kim(Flickr CC)

There is a debate among board sport enthusiasts as to whether skateboarders learn to snowboard faster than those who start on skis. Some people believe that the skills required for each sport are so different that those who start on a skateboard are at an advantage when they transition to snowboarding. Others think that the two sports are so similar that it doesn’t matter which one you start on.

The truth is, there is no definitive answer but we totally think skateboarding transfers to snowboarding better than skiing. Some skateboarders take to snowboarding quickly, while others struggle with the new skill set. It’s slippier than you think on the snow! We are convinced though that any background on a board will put you further ahead than someone who has never tried their balance on a board.

So, Do Skateboard Skills Transfer to Snowboarding?

We argue yes every time we get asked by a skateboarder. Skateboarding skills seem to transfer over to snowboarding to some extent. The biggest difference is that snowboarding requires more use of the legs and hips, while skateboarding relies more on the ankles and feet.

Jessie Gonzalez writes for Proper Peaks and lives in Stockton, CA. One of her favorite things about snowboarding is seeing beginners get started and watching them enjoy the sport.

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