So you’ve just bought a shiny new pair of bindings and were wondering how to set them up on your board. Here are a few things to think about:
Goofy or Regular:
Try to figure out whether you prefer riding with your left foot forward (regular) or your right leg forward (goofy). If you’ve ever tried surfing of skating you should have a pretty good idea already, otherwise try and think about how you would stand if you were digging with a shovel. Alternatively, have someone push you from behind and whichever foot you step out with is usually a good indication of what your front foot will be.
Snowboards usually have a pattern of holes known as insets embedded into the top sheet. This allows you to adjust the position of your bindings as you choose. Most boards will have a reference stance, which is the recommended (and often most centred) stance for that size board. Many riders will adjust their stances either forwards or backwards depending on the kind of riding that they want to be doing.
- Beginners: a centred stance is usually best allowing you to switch between regular and goofy if you desire.
- Park and Freestyle: again a centred stance is best so that the nose and tail are the same length. This makes landing tricks more stable and allows you to ride switch easier.
- All-Mountain: Snowboarders who like to ride around the whole mountain often set their stance back a few insert holes. This makes the nose slightly longer than the tail improving float in powder and allowing you to really load up and pressure the tail coming out of fast turns. Riding switch is still possible.
- Freeride: Big mountain freeride snowboarders often set back their stances even further as the need for riding switch is reduced and instead a super floaty, surfy ride is preferred.
Your stance width is the distance between your bindings and is largely determined by your height and weight as well as the insert pattern on the snowboard.
- Beginners: a good stance width for learning is one that is roughly equivalent to your shoulder width or the distance from your knee to the ground.
- Park and Freestyle: generally wider stances are preferred. This improves stability and balance by lowering your centre of gravity slightly, which helps with landing jumps and spinning in the air.
- All-Mountain and Freeride: generally a slightly narrower stance is best as this reduces pressure on the nose to improve float in powder. Also a narrower stance allows you more movement in your knees and hips allowing you to initiate and drive through turns more effectively.
Snowboard bindings come with a set of discs that allow you to adjust the angle that you set your bindings (and therefore feet) on the snowboard. The angles you choose are a matter of personal choice but there are advantages of using certain angles for different styles of riding.
- Beginners: generally plus 15 on the front foot and minus 15 on the back foot is a good neutral stance for learning on. This allows you to switch between goofy and regular if you haven’t quite figured out which way you prefer riding. Once you get to grips with the basics and have decided on a front foot it can be more comfortable to reduce the angle on the back foot a little.
- Park and Freestyle: plus 15 on the front foot and minus 15 on the back foot is a really common freestyle setup allowing you to ride switch comfortably.
- All-Mountain and Freeride: For riders that ride regular more than switch a greater angle on the front foot is usually preferred. This setup puts your body in a more anticipated position for turns and allows you to use your hips and knees to drive through turns. In general, the more you go along the freeride scale of things the more forward facing the binding angles become, to the point that some freeriders ride with both bindings over plus 20 degrees.