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Ski or Board?
Debbee Tucker and John Steinert work as instructors for the Wolf Creek Ski Area Ski School. We asked them the key question when it comes to enjoying the incredible snow that Pagosa Country offers the outdoor enthusiast: Skiing or snowboarding?
John Steinert Debbee Tucker
How long have you been snowboarding?

About 21 years.

If someone was going for their first time and trying to choose between skiing and snowboarding, why would you convince them to snowboard?

Because I think snowboarding seems to open up the mountain more to you, I feel more comfortable riding steeper things, and the feeling of riding a snowboard is just one of the best you can have — the floating on the snow and everything, especially in deep powder, — it just gives you a nice feeling. From a learning standpoint, I think snowboarding for the first day is a little harder to learn than skiing. Once you get the basics down with snowboarding, I think you progress a lot faster than you do at skiing. So, you have that one day where you have to learn, then, after that, things progress real quickly.

What about the costs? Is it a little bit easier to get into snowboarding than skiing?

Yes, it’s less expensive to buy a snowboard than skis. You have basically less gear; you got the board and boots … that’s it. The boots are way more comfortable.

Way more fashionable, too?

(Laughs) Uh, yeah. You know, all the cool people snowboard.

How long have you been skiing?

I’ve been skiing Wolf Creek for 25 years. I have a huge passion for skiing and, in the last eight years, I took on backcountry skiing, so I have all-terrain gear or as we call it ‘AT’ or ‘Randonee’ gear, and that means you can release your heel with skins on the bottom of your skis, hike up a mountain, take the skins off, clamp down your heel and enjoy some real virgin snow out in the backcountry.

Why would people pick skiing over snowboarding?

Well, because I’ve taken up the backcountry skiing, there’s a lot more freedom to get me out there with AT gear. My personal opinion: it makes it a lot easier to hike. All the way around, it’s just an easier way to utilize the backcountry and I love getting all four limbs going at the same time. I love the challenge of it. I’ve learned to snowboard; I haven’t put a lot of time into it, but I just prefer skiing over snowboarding because of my mileage.

If someone was going for their first time and trying to choose between skiing and snowboarding, why would you convince them to ski?

Probably, again, because of the challenge of using all four limbs, and there just seems to be more freedom in the trees. It’s not quite as challenging, quite as risky for me personally.