Snowboarding is an exciting hobby during the winter. I personally spent half of the season just to go snowboarding. Not only do I get the thrill of sliding down the slope, but it’s also an intense cardio workout that helps burn calories and lose weight.
There are a lot of nuances that even experienced snowboarders can learn. One of the most common things asked by beginners is how fast do snowboarders go? Also, what makes Olympic athletes different that they can generate such high speed when snowboarding?
How Fast Do Snowboarders Go?
The thing with snowboarding is that the speed can differ depending on many factors. If you’re looking at the average speed that a rider tends to generate, a hobbyist snowboarder can go between 20 and 30 mph.
Advanced riders can have speed bursts that could go up to 40 mph in the steep parts of the slope. Of course, this can be a bit dangerous already, especially when you are not experienced.
I personally tried going high speed open carves at around 45 mph. By tucking the body to lessen the drag, I was able to hit around the 60 mph mark. Unfortunately, this is really hard to execute. If your ride line is interrupted by obstacles such as other riders or trees, getting 45 mph will usually be the most you can get.
How To Go Faster on a Snowboard?
So how do you generate speed and go faster when you are riding a snowboard? Just like any sport, technique matters. As a rule of thumb, better control of your snowboard will allow the snowboard to generate faster speed. You need to have good balance and agility to have better controls.
Learn Rhythmic, Short turns
If you plan on increasing the speed of your snowboard, focus on rhythmic, short turns. This elegant technique will get you to consistently generate speed as well as make a very pretty sight. What you want is to practice the hockey stop that you have to kick the board horizontal to a large extent until you stop, make the turn for you.
When it comes to speed, there is no move that can beat the elegance and beauty of a true carve. Carving better allows you to go faster while staying in control.
When you are doing some trick tips on carving, you’ll also be able to stay on the hill longer because all that legwork on skidded turns makes your muscles feel like “jelly, ” which is caused by lactic acid buildup or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).
How to carve on a snowboard like a pro? Check out this awesome video that will teach you all about carving!
Exercises for Snowboarding
But aside from riding the snowboard, it is also a good idea to do exercises that can help improve your balance and proprioception. Good examples of these workouts include standing on an Indo board or doing planks. These are exercises that strengthen your core muscles and hips to be able to perform better control of your snowboard. This will help allow the body to readjust during every turn.
But of course, there are other factors at play if you want to go faster. For one, you need to consider the terrain that you are dealing with and the iciness of the snow. Then, you also have individual factors that can affect the maximum speed. This includes the weight, skill level, and risk tolerance of individuals.
How Fast Do Olympic Snowboarders Go?
The fastest snowboarding record in 2015 reached 126 mph during a parallel slalom race. Parallel slalom is different than your typical snowboarding routine. Instead of using the typical snowboard, Olympic athletes make use of slalom boards that are longer than your average snowboard. And instead of facing on the side, the feet and bodies are facing forward.
The attire is also different. Since Olympic athletes need to go fast, they are wearing fitted spandex suit that promotes aerodynamics. Athletes also wear hard boots just like your ski boots. Plus, they also make use of stiff plate bindings. The average speed of an Olympic athlete on slalom board is 70 mph.
Aside from the parallel slalom, snowboard cross or boardercross is another snowboarding race variation. This event involves obstacles, flat sections, and narrow courses. The goal is to test the players’ balance and ability to maintain speed. In this kind of event, riders usually hit an average of 55 to 60 mph.
Besides the boardercross and parallel slalom races, other Olympic snowboarding events are also. This includes slopestyle, big air, and halfpipe events. However, the goal of these events is to test the overall technique and control of players.
Skiing vs. Snowboarding: Which is Faster
Between skiing and snowboarding, skiing can satisfy your need for speed better than snowboarding. The fastest record for skiing is 157 mph, while snowboarding only reached 126 mph. If you compare the average skiers and those who use snowboards, skiers tend to ride 3.5 mph faster than snowboarders. Skiing downhill, the speed can reach around 40 to 50 mph and could even hit a speed of 80 mph.
There are a few reasons why skiing is faster than snowboarding. Even if both rely on gravity, skiing creates less drag compared to snowboarding. Skiers face forward and with two separate decks underneath. This means dividing the weight on more edges compared to snowboards. It is also more aerodynamic when the person leans forward.
And not only that, but the movement also plays a role in the speed of skiers. The human body naturally moves forward and not sideways. It moves more efficiently in this manner than staying on your side. You are also symmetrical when you turn using a ski.
Another reason why skiing is faster than snowboarding is because of the length of the ski. Skis are longer than your average snowboard. This means more surface area on the ski compared to the snowboard. With more surface area, the ski can also distribute the weight of the person better.
Lastly, clothing drag is a big factor that makes snowboarding relatively slower than skiing. Ski outfits are tightfitting compared to the loose and baggy attire that people wear whenever they are riding their snowboards.
Before you get too obsessed with your speed when snowboarding, it is always important to consider your skill and experience. I’ve had my share of accidents as a beginner and looking back, I believe that it would’ve been worse if the accident had happened at full speed.
Also, it helps if you can prepare your body a few months before trying snowboarding for the first time. You want to build your balance and strengthen your core before you ride your first snowboard.