The quick answer is:
It all depends on your weight and snowboarding level. If you are an aggressive snowboarder, you’ll burn about 600 calories per hour on the slope. For beginners, you will likely burn far fewer calories.
Keep reading to learn more about how I came up with this number, based on research and personal experience.
Snowboarding can be hard work. Depending on your abilities and the condition of the snow when you ride, the sport can take a toll on your body.
That makes it a great form of exercise in addition to being a highly enjoyable activity that so many people around the world love.
When you get the opportunity to pursue something that’s both fun and healthy, it’s like having your cake and eating it too.
Most people think of snowboarding more as a form of fun than exercise. It’s good to examine the sport from a different perspective because that can lead to a better understanding of how it works.
If you want to know just how much exercise snowboarding takes, you can examine how much stress it puts on your body.
To measure this, let’s take a look at how many calories snowboarding burns.
What are Calories?
We’ve all heard of calories. In fact, many of you might count them for your diet.
However, not everyone knows what a calorie is. It’s not directly related to food or exercise at all. It’s a measure of energy that can be applied in a variety of circumstances we deal with every day.
The literal definition of a calorie is
The amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water one degree Celsius.
That doesn’t make much sense when you look at a bag of chips, but if you think of it in terms of the amount of energy it takes to complete a physically demanding task, such as snowboarding, it begins to make more sense.
Factors to Consider
Before we take a look at how many calories snowboarding burns, it’s important to know that there are a few different factors that come into play when figuring out the number.
Not everyone snowboards exactly the same way and the amount of exertion you put into any activity translates directly into additional calories burned.
That means, the harder you ride, the more calories you will burn on the mountain.
Your body weight also has a direct effect on the number of calories you burn. The more you weigh, the more calories you will burn in the same amount of time as someone who is lighter.
That is simply due to the fact that it takes more effort to move more weight around. This isn’t specific to snowboarding either. The more you weigh, the more calories you will burn during any physical activity.
Snow conditions also come into play when figuring out the number of calories you burn.
A big powder day will make you work harder for every turn, which takes a lot of physical effort. Even if you get in fewer runs or don’t move as fast, you’re burning more calories than you would on an easy ride.
Also, if you’re backcountry snowboarding, your burned calories will go up significantly because of all of the hiking involved.
How Many Calories Does Snowboarding Burn?
With the above factors taken into consideration, we can make some rough estimates of how many calories you burn while snowboarding.
Keep in mind that the numbers listed here are estimates, and it’s hard to know exact figures without looking at each factor involved with your snowboarding.
Even so, we will look at a range of numbers here to help you make as accurate of an assessment as possible.
According to this research done by the Harvard Medical School, an activity like downhill skiing burns 180-266 calories in a half-hour. That range is for people who weigh between 125 and 185 pounds.
Since skiing is a similar sport to snowboarding, we can make an accurate assessment that it burns a similar number of calories. We should also extend the range of weight as there are plenty of people outside the one mentioned in the study above.
By putting those factors together we can estimate that snowboarding will burn anywhere from 300 to 750 calories an hour depending on how much you weigh.
This range is still affected by how hard your ride, as well as the conditions out on the mountain, but it’s a good starting point that we can break down even further.
Let’s examine the numbers and make an estimate for a 185-pound male snowboarder.
- Average calories burned snowboarding/hour – 300-750
- Calories/hour for 185-pound snowboarder – 600
- Average on snow time – 3-4 hours
- Total number of calories burned – 1800-2400
The above estimate takes into account the fact that you do not spend your entire snowboarding day actually snowboarding.
You need to take into account any breaks you make for lunch or the bathroom, as well as time spent in lift lines and on chairlifts.
Note that the 600 calories/hour mark is for someone who rides fairly aggressively. If you’re a smaller rider who’s just beginning you will likely burn far fewer calories.
For a 110-pound rider who only spends a couple of hours on the snow, you will likely burn 400 to 600 calories.
If you’re an experienced rider who takes few breaks or if you venture into the backcountry, your calories burned can go far beyond the above numbers.
If you want to find the exact amount of calories you burn while snowboarding, you can get a heart rate monitor watch that will keep track of every movement you make on the mountain.
Fitness Trackers are a good way to keep an eye on your overall health. If you are really curious about how much energy you burn on the mountain, strapping one of those to your wrist is probably the most exact way to go about it.
You just input your personal information like body weight and height and then the monitor takes an accurate reading of your heart rate throughout the day.
These factors will give you the exact number of calories you burned while snowboarding.
Any way you look at it, snowboarding is a healthy activity that makes for great exercise. The harder you push yourself, the better you will become and the more calories you will burn.
Remember to always stay safe while riding hard, as pushing your limits can result in injuries if you are not careful.