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Are Snowboards Cheaper Than Skis? (Prices Compared)

It is no secret that winter sports can be expensive and buying equipment can be a bit pricy. The cost of gear can quickly stack up, especially if you are unsure whether to buy skis or a snowboard. You might make your decision based on price and ask yourself if snowboards are cheaper than skis.

Whether snowboards are cheaper than skis depends on various factors. Sometimes it is cheaper to buy a snowboard and sometimes it’s cheaper to buy a pair of skis. It all comes down to the brands you get, your ability, and what it is you want to do on the mountain.  

Below, we will not only explore the types of snowboards and skis available on the market, but we’ll also give you some of the prices that you can expect to pay when you go shopping. Read on to learn if snowboards are cheaper than skis.

How Much Do Snowboards Cost?

The price of snowboards varies based on the specific board. All-mountain boards are priced from $200-$1000, freestyle boards are priced from $250-$600, powder boards are priced from $500-$1700, split boards cost from $800-$2000, carving boards cost over $1000, and custom boards cost over $500.

There are several different types of snowboards available on the market. They range from basic beginner boards to sleek carving boards, and each type comes with a different price tag to look out for. There are several good brands to get your snowboard from including Burton, Saloman, and K2. You can also buy custom boards from a specialist maker.

All-Mountain Boards

For most regular snowboarders, an all-mountain board will give them everything they need. They will be sufficient for groomed runs, steeps, and powder while also giving an ok performance in the park. This is the type of board that you will probably use as a beginner due to its versatility. They can come at any price from $200 to nearly $1000.

The pricing tends to be tied to the skill of the user as well as its features. So, a beginner board will be far cheaper than an expensive one.

Freestyle Boards

Freestyle boards are a little wider and more stable than traditional all-mountain boards. They are also often shorter and a bit softer, so they are more responsive. These are the boards that you will want to use if you are going to spend most of your time in a park. Due to this fact they usually have a twin tip. 

These boards are usually a bit cheaper than other types of snowboards, but you will pay for the affordability with the fact that they are difficult on most terrain outside of the park. They tend to cost around $250-$600.

Powder Boards

Powder boards are some of the beefier snowboards on the market. They are designed to help you surf through the snow on a powdery day, having both a wider nose and a narrower tail. These boards tend to have a directional shape so you won’t be able to comfortably ride switch on one anytime soon. 

A good powder board can cost you anything from $500-$1700. You probably shouldn’t be buying one if you plan on sticking to groomed runs.

Split Boards

Split boards are a specialist type of board made for touring. This is because they can be split in the middle into something like a pair of skis to allow for hiking and backcountry boarding. As a specialist type of board, it means that they do come to a premium price. You will be very lucky if you can get one for less than $800, and they tend to cost upwards of $2000.

There is also the added cost of getting a set of split board skins to go on the bottom of your board so that you can use them to climb a slope. These can cost around $200-$300, although if you’re lucky you can find them included in a package with the purchase of a snowboard at some retailers.

Carving/Racing Boards

Carving boards have a bit more in common with a ski than a regular snowboard, right down to the type of boots that you need to wear while riding one. They are designed for carving with quick edge turns and are usually used in racing. As another type of specialist board, they do have a premium price with most coming to over $1000.

These boards are only appropriate for carving, making them less than ideal for most other circumstances on the mountain such as the park or powder, and should not be used as a beginner’s board.

Custom Snowboards

If you want to get a snowboard personalized to your taste you can get one custom-made. Companies that make these will usually allow you to pick a custom shape, flex, and graphic.Custom boards will cost around $500 or more, with some places charging a premium for different shapes and other features.

Bindings

Another cost you will need to factor in is the price of a pair of bindings for the board. Some retailers will not include them unless they are a part of a set. Generally speaking, a pair of bindings can cost anywhere between $150-550 for all-mountain, park, and powder. Race bindings can cost over $1000, and split-board bindings from even common snowboarding brands can cost between $600-$900.

How Much Do Skis Cost?

The price of skis varies based on the specific type of ski. All-mountain skis cost from $300-$900, park skis cost from $300-$700, carving skis cost $400-$1700 depending on how advanced they are, powder skis cost around $900, touring skis cost between $600-$1700, and custom skis cost over $1000.

Like snowboards, there are several different types of skis available on the market, each with its price tag. When buying a pair of skis, you need to be mindful of the fact that you will need to get a set of bindings for your skis too. Some reliable ski brands include Saloman, Blizard, Rossignol, and Fraction.

All-Mountain Skis

All-mountain skis, like all-mountain snowboards, are designed to be suitable for most areas on the mountain. Usually, they sit in the middle of everything and so are perfect for the average skier looking to try out each style of skiing from a groomed run to the park. They can cost anywhere between $300 and $900.

Park Skis

Park skis are flexible skis designed to be primarily used within a park. They are almost always twin tips to allow for skiing switch and tend to be cheaper than skis used in other areas of the mountain. They can come out to be anywhere between $300 and $700 depending on the brand you want to use and the features that the ski might have.

Carving Skis 

Carving skis, or on-piste skis, are made with carving on groomed runs in mind. They will have a skinny waist, less than 70 mm, to allow for the best control while using your edges to turn. They can cost anywhere from $400 for a beginner model and $1300 for an advanced model.

There are also racing variants of these skis designed for competitive events. These skis can cost around $1000. These would be an extremely specialized version of regular carving skis to provide the best performance.

Powder Skis

Powder skis are the fattest skis you will see on a mountain, with most having a width over 100 mm underfoot. These skis are only suitable for skiing in powder, so likely you will not see a set at most resorts. These skis are usually around $900 off the shelf and anywhere from $1300-$1500 for custom-made ones.

Touring Skis

Touring skis are used for backcountry skiing. They are designed for hikes and to allow for the best performance when skiing out in the backcountry. A good pair will cost anywhere between $600 and $1700

Like split boards, for the best performance, you will need to buy a set of skins to go on the bottom of the skis so that they will work for their intended purpose. They can cost around $150-$200.

Custom Skis

Like snowboards, there are several outlets where you can buy a custom-made set of skis with personalized shape, stiffness, and graphic design. These custom skis will generally cost you over $1000. The reason why these can cost so much more than a custom snowboard is that they will take twice the work to make. 

Bindings

Unlike snowboards, several skis come with the binding already attached to a rail system, so once final costs are added up, they may seem more appealing than their snowboarding counterparts. Generally, if you do need to buy bindings for your skis, they will cost you anywhere between $200-$700, with touring bindings being the most expensive.

The Cost Of Beginner Snowboard Vs Skis

For both skis and snowboards, the cost is tied to many factors, one of which is the skill level that they are intended for. Generally, beginner gear will be significantly cheaper for both activities. For a beginner snowboard and set of bindings, you shouldn’t need to spend much more than $300-$600. With beginner skis, you will be lucky to get a pair of bindings for between $400 and $600.

A beginner kit will usually be suitable for a couple of trips, so when you think it is time for an upgrade and wish to sell your old bits of kit, you might have an easier time getting rid of your snowboard than your skis. This is especially the case if the bindings have been drilled on rather than on a rail.

Why Are Skis More Expensive Than Snowboards?

Skis are more expensive because they’re more complicated to produce than snowboards, they have more complicated bindings that come with their overall production, and there’s a sense of elitism among manufacturers since skiing is seen as a sport for the wealthy, unlike snowboarding.

There Are More Parts

One of the main reasons that skis are more expensive than snowboards is that they are made of two pieces versus one. Although the majority of manufacturers make skis via mass production, they require more work than a snowboard does,as they will need to be pressed twice, there are two sets of edges to clean up and shape, and cutting of the base materials.

In comparison, it can take half the time to make a snowboard than a pair of skis. So, they are much easier to produce.

Bindings Are Expensive

You cannot ski without a pair of bindings, as otherwise, they are not going to stay on your feet. A pair of ski bindings are a little bit more complicated than a pair of regular snowboard bindings as they have a lot more moving parts to function. A snowboard binding on the other hand is little more than a base plate and straps in comparison.

Elitism 

Although it is not as prevalent now as it may have been 10 years ago, skiing is seen by some as a sport for the wealthy whereas snowboarding is less prestigious. For this reason, many ski manufacturers have kept their prices higher as they know that there is a market for them, whereas snowboards have just adapted to the market prices.

Is Snowboarding Cheaper Than Skiing?

Snowboarding is cheaper than skiing due to the less expensive equipment that comes with it. Skiing has more equipment required to do the sport, and the equipment it shares in common with snowboarding is often much more expensive. It’s even cheaper to rent snowboards than skis.

In snowboarding, the cost of the board isn’t the only thing to look at, as there are other bits of kit which are key in the sport. You’re going to have to buy boots and a helmet too. The bright side is that more often than not snowboard boots are a lot cheaper to buy than ski boots.

A good pair of boots that will last you for a couple of seasons (depending on how rough you are) will only set you back a few hundred dollars, $300-$400 at the most. In comparison to ski boots, most start at $300 which can be a pricy comparison.

The fact that there is less equipment means that it is often cheaper to rent snowboards than it is to rent ski gear. An average rental place will usually have snowboarding equipment for nearly $50 less. This is most likely due to rental shops trying to mitigate the loss of ski poles which are commonly lost or broken when out skiing.

Final Thoughts

Snowboards are less expensive than skis by the hundreds, but it does vary substantially based on the specific snowboards and skis you’re looking at. If you’re looking at specialist equipment, then it can turn out that skis become cheaper than snowboards in the long run.