We all agreed that beginners definitely burned more calories because they work a lot harder (i.e., snowplowing). But given a snowboarder and skier, both at the same ability level, which would burn more calories?
After some research, this is what I found.
Skiing – Skiing targets the lower body. In particular, skiing will work the thighs, butt and hips. Skiing works to tone the muscles in these areas. Good core stability is also necessary to keep the upper body still, but still allow the legs to move beneath. The steeper the slope you are skiing, the harder the workout.
Snowboarding – Snowboarding targets the muscles in the back and abdominals from twisting during turns. In addition, core muscles are worked when getting up from a fall. Calf muscles work from the heel-to-toe motion. Here, snowboarders are burning more calories on flatter slopes as they have to work harder to move.
Both skiing and snowboarding involve periods of intense effort and burn well in excess of 1,000 calories a day out on the slopes. An adult weighing approximately 150 calories burns around 350 calories per hour (an hour of vigorous effort…not including breaks and sitting on the chair lift. However, I found one resource that said that if both the boarder and skier remain upright (no sitting on the slopes, boarders!), a snowboarder will burn approximately 20 more calories than the skier throughout the day because when standing upright on a snowboard you are constantly active.
Most sources that I found discussing this matter – whether snowboarding or skiing was a better workout – said that same thing: they are equal. Both are great workouts, burning a similiar amount of calories. The primary deciding factors are the terrain and the length of bouts of vigorous activity. So it looks like a draw…