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Longboarding vs Snowboarding: Are They Similar?

Longboarding vs Snowboarding: Are They Similar?

How easy is it to snowboard for a longboarder? To longboard for a snowboarder? How different are these two awesome sports?

Snowboarding and longboarding are very similar for riding stance and turning, However, in snowboarding your feet are strapped and you ride on one edge of the board. In longboarding, your feet are free moving, and you ride with the four wheels on the ground. Stopping is harder on a longboard.

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Is longboarding harder than snowboarding?

Riding a longboard is generally just as easy (or hard) as riding a snowboard. Both involve riding in a sideways stance, finding your natural stance (goofy or regular), maintaining balance in motion, and mastering toeside and backside turns through weight shifting.

Both require learning to control your speed and trajectory.

That said, each of longboarding and snowboarding have specifics that can make one feel easier or harder than the other:

Longboarding may be considered easier because:

  • Anyone can get on a longboard on flat ground and learn to push
  • You can put your feet anywhere on a longboard and easily move them around
  • You don’t have to go down a hill to ride
  • You ride on 4 wheels so you don’t easily skid or catch an edge
  • You don’t need to gear up for the mountain and the cold
  • You can always bail off a longboard

Snowboard may be considered easier because:

  • Crashing in the snow doesn’t hurt as bad as on pavement
  • Your feet are strapped so you can’t fall off the board
  • You can easily slow down by getting on an edge and skidding
  • Jumping with a snowboard comes natural after a little while
  • You can easily sit on your butt for a rest
  • You don’t have to push uphill, just grab a lift

Does snowboarding help with longboarding (and vice versa)?

Longboarding during the spring and summer definitely helps you stay in shape for snowboarding season. Longboarding helps you build or maintain core balance, leg muscle, and heel-toe strength.

Longboarding also helps you build up muscle memory for that boarding stance and those weight shifts when turning and carving.

Likewise, snowboarding in the winter provides very effective cross-training for longboarders, building balance, legs, and body motion for turns and tricks.

See also:
Is longboarding hard?

Longboarding vs snowboarding: stance

As mentioned, longboarding and snowboarding both involve a sideways “board sports” stance. Both longboard and snowboard can be ridden regular (front foot forward) or goofy (left foot forward).

That said, there are some important differences in stances:

1. Strapped vs strapless

Longboarding is done strapless whereas snowboarding rides strapped in. As a result, a rider’s stance will typically be different on a longboard vs on a snowboard.

For one thing, snowboard bindings are mounted somewhat perpendicular to the board, albeit with a slight angle (duck stance) so your feet are at a slight angle.

On a longboard, there will be a lot more variation in stance depending on the rider’s natural position, both in terms of stance width and angle. Some longboarders, for example, ride with their feet (or one foot) almost parallel to the length of the board.

Your stance on a longboard will also vary depending on whether you’re pushing, carving, freestyling, dancing etc. On a snowboard, your stance is fixed because of the bindings.

2. Stance & board width

Snowboards are in general longer than longboards. Longboards tend to have lengths between 28″ (cruisers) and 48″ (for a large dancer), while snowboards are typically 128cm (50″) to 160cm (68″).

Typical snowboard lengthTypical longboard length
50″ to 68″28″ (cruiser) to 48″ (dancer)

A longer board often means a wider stance – though again, this will vary from one rider to the next depending on rider height and riding style.

3. Flat riding vs edge riding

Riding a longboard involves riding with your 4 wheels in contact with the ground and rolling together.

In contrast, on a snowboard you ride mostly ridden on the edge of the board – riding flat on the snow can easily lead to catching an edge and crashing.

As a result, your stance will be different on a longboard as your weight often sit in the middle (except when turning or pumping), whereas on a snowboard your weight is primarily onto your heels or toes for edge riding.

See also: Is my snowboard stance too wide?

Longboarding vs snowboarding: turning & carving

Turning is very similar on a longboard and a snowboard. With both you need to shift your weight back and forth between your toes (for toeside turns) and heels (heelside turns). You weight your front and rear legs the same way. 

Carving involves chaining toeside and heelside turns, namely to control your speed when riding downhill. While the technique is similar on a longboard vs on a snowboard, the feeling quite is different.

The reason is on a snowboard, the strapped bindings allow you to put a lot more weight on your rail without falling, while on a longboard there’s a limit to how much weight your can offload without losing balance.

A longboard must have its 4 wheels in contact with the ground (except in slides), whereas on a snowboard you ride on one edge most of the time.

Doing a sharp turn on a snowboard edge feels very differently than leaning your longboard deck into a turn with your 4 wheels rolling.

Longboard setups that have a lot of lean feel more like a snowboard than others.

See also: What is longboard carving?

Longboarding vs snowboarding: freeride

Freeride in both snowboarding and longboarding involves a lot of carving, which we’ve discussed in the previous section.

Another key component of freeride in both sports is sliding. Stand up sliding is a lot easier on a snowboard than on a longboard, namely because snowboarding is about riding on one edge.

Sliding (or skidding) is one of the first things you learn in snowboarding, it comes naturally for controlling your speed.

As mentioned, in longboarding your 4 wheels are on the ground most of the time, so breaking traction isn’t natural and requires a lot more skills and practice, and is riskier.

Sliding for controlling your speed on a longboard while going down a steep paved hill isn’t for rookies. Sliding your snowboard to slow down on a big snow hill is a lot more accessible to newer riders.

Longboarding vs snowboarding: tricks & park

Tricks and freestyle are popular disciplines for both longboarding and snowboarding. Longboarding freestyle revolves around kick flips, manuals, ollies, tech sliding, and dancing tricks such as board walking, pirouettes, cross stepping etc.

Snowboard freestyling is primarily about jumps, 180s/360s, nose grabs, presses, switch riding (also common in longboarding), big air etc.

Snowboard tricks are closer to street skateboarding, with elements such as rails, kick ramps, and half pipe. Longboard freestyle is most often done on flat ground outside the skatepark – although some longboard riders do like to take it to the park.

Dancing is also very specific to longboarding (and longboard surfing). Dancing can’t be done on a snowboard since the rider is strapped in and doesn’t have the freedom to move around the board.

See also: Park vs street skateboarding

Longboarding vs snowboarding: riding on flat

One aspect that particularly sets longboarding and snowboarding apart is riding on flat ground.

Most longboarding styles involve riding primarily on flat, including cruising, carving, distance pushing (LDP), pumping, freestyle, dancing, and surf skate. Hills are only required for freeride and downhill longboarding.

In contrast, a snowboarder can’t do much on flat ground – aside for unstrapping and then pushing or walking to the nearest incline.

Longboarding vs snowboarding: downhill racing

Downhill riding is similar on a longboard vs on a snowboard. Obvious differences include the fact the snowboarders is strapped, which secures the ride a bit more at high speed compared to longboarding.

While downhill longboarders aren’t attached to their board, downhill decks generally feature foot pockets (contour, concave, wheel flares etc) which help improve the rider’s confidence at speed.

Falling while downhill snowboarding may also be slightly less painful and dangerous compared to downhill longboarding – although high speed crashing on hard snow can also result in serious injuries.

See also: Downhill longboarding

Longboarding vs snowboarding: safety & stopping

Pavement is certainly less forgiving than snow (even hard), that’s a fact. Most snowboarders would endure many fractures if they fell on concrete while longboarding as often as they do on snow.

On the other hand, snowboarding also has its fair share of hazards. The mountain can be treacherous if you don’t know what you’re doing. You can get caught in an avalanche or in a storm, fall in a crevasse or off a cliff, get injured while off-piste, etc.

Snowboarders being strapped in means they can’t easily bail like on a longboard, leading to potentially nasty lower body injuries when crashing.

Longboarders are also more likely than snowboarders to wear safety gear (helmet, wrist guards, elbow/knee pads) particularly freeride/downhill and freestyle longboarders.

That said, it’s typically a lot easier to slow down or stop on a snowboard than on a longboard, for the same reason sliding is much more natural.

See also: How to stop on a longboard

Longboarding vs snowboarding: learning curve

Which is easier to learn, longboarding or snowboarding?

With the right instructor, most people who are reasonable fit can learn to snowboard in a few days – see How long does it take to learn to snowboard. Some people are even able to teach themselves snowboarding.

Getting on a longboard isn’t hard either at first. You can get rolling and pushing on a longboard in a couple hours on flat and smooth ground.

Learning to longboard down a hill and control your speed, however, learning freestyle tricks such as manuals, ollies, or flips, or riding pool or park, takes a lot more effort and skills.

Many boarders find it more challenging and hazardous than snowboarding down a nice slope.

So while longboarding may be easy to get started on for relaxed cruising, it quickly gets challenging as you must overcome the fear of losing control and falling.

Likewise, snowboarding has a relatively fast initial learning curve, especially with lessons, but it also becomes a lot more challenging at more advanced levels e.g. riding down black diamond slopes or hitting the snowpark.

Which longboards ride more like a snowboard?

Some freeride longboards have a very similar feel to a snowboard, allowing you to carve and slide easily at downhill speed.

These longboards typically have a drop-through, drop down, or double drop construction that makes them very stable and ride closer to the ground.

Snowboard-style longboard decks often have a decent concave and/or wheel flares which create foot pockets for comfortably tucking your feet for confident carving and sliding at speed.

These boards often come fitted with 45º-50º RKP trucks that make them very responsive and carvy.

Snowboard-style longboards often come fitted with relatively small and hard wheels, e.g. 60-65 mm (depending on deck size) and 80-85A durometer, allowing you to easily push the board into slides.