Are Skis or Snowboards Faster?

Skis are technically faster than snowboards, but the top speed for either depends on the skills of the skier or rider. The world record for top speed on skis is 157 mph, and the record for snowboards is 126 mph. 

I’m Christine, the founder of this blog and a lifelong skier. I love the sport and spend as much time as possible on the slopes every season. I’ve done some research to find out the top speeds reached by skiers and snowboarders. 

This post will explore whether skis or snowboards are faster. I’ll highlight the top speeds of each and provide you with some other vital information to help you learn about how fast your favorite winter sport can go. 

Let’s get flying. 

Key Takeaways

  • The world record top speed on skis is faster than the top speed on a snowboard, so skis are generally considered faster than snowboards. 
  • Most skiers and snowboarders will never get anywhere near world-record speeds, and the highest speed you can reach on either depends on your skills and experience on the snow.
  • If you want to ski or snowboard at high speeds, you always need to focus on safety. Skiing or riding fast can cause you to get out of control and pose a risk to others on the mountain. 

Are Skis or Snowboards Faster? 

Looking at this question objectively, the easy answer is that skis are faster than snowboards. This is because the top speed recorded on skis is quite a bit faster than the top speed recorded on a snowboard. 

The world record top speed on skis is 157 mph or 252 km/h. The world record for top speed on a snowboard is 126 mph or 203 km/h. That’s over a 30 mph difference in the top speed between the two winter sports. 

Now it’s important to remember that these are world record attempts, and most skiers and snowboarders won’t get anywhere near those speeds in their lives. Going that fast is really dangerous, and it can only be attempted in certain situations. 

This example of the world records does show that skis are faster than snowboards, without considering other factors. But many factors come into play when attempting to reach top speeds on the slopes. 

The skill and experience of a skier or rider will determine how fast they can go. A beginner won’t be able to go as fast as a highly experienced person. And some people weigh more, which can also contribute to higher speeds.

Snowboard vs Ski Race

If you put a snowboarder and skier in a head-to-head competition for top speed, I’d place my money on the skier if both racers were the exact same ability level. But there are always too many factors to accurately predict this in reality. 

Even though the fastest snowboard speed is less than the fastest ski speed, a snowboard vs. ski race doesn’t always mean that the skier will win. Again, this relates to how skilled each racer is and many other factors. 

Average Speeds of Skiers and Snowboarders

If you look at the average speeds of skiers and snowboarders, they are much closer than what the world record top speeds might suggest.

The average snowboard speed in km per hour is 32 to 64, or 20 to 40 mph. This is essentially the same as the average ski speed. On the mountain and in everyday situations, the average speeds of everyone are right around the same. 

This is why I think it’s challenging to come up with a definite answer for if skis or snowboards are faster. Sure, the record speed for a skier is higher than a snowboarder, but how often are people attempting to reach these speeds? 

Not often. In reality, skiers and snowboarders are sitting at the average range of speeds almost all the time. So that means that on the slopes at the resort, skiers and snowboarders are pretty equal in the speeds they are reaching. 

Safety Considerations

Whenever I write about going fast on skis, I like to include a quick reminder that safety should be a consideration anytime you ski or snowboard at high speeds. Not only is it easier to lose control at high speeds, but your risk for injury to yourself and others also increases.  

If you are skiing on a very crowded run, you should never attempt to reach top speeds because you could easily collide with another skier. Not only can this result in injury, but it can also get you in legal trouble if the accident is your fault. 

Skiing under control is critical for every skier, regardless of their skill level or situation. Skiing and snowboarding can be dangerous, and you don’t want to increase your chances of an accident just by going fast. 

Final Thoughts

If you look at the world record top speeds, skis are faster than snowboards. But for practical purposes on the mountain, skis and snowboards are pretty similar in the average speeds skiers and riders reach. 

Do you know the fastest speed you’ve reached on skis or a snowboard? Let me know in the comments below.

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