From distance, every snowboard set up kind of looks the same. The only thing we might notice when we rent our first board, is that they choose the right length for us. To get ourselves up and running and master the first few turns, the right length is absolutely crucial. But beside that, there are plenty of more options to modify and personalize our gear. There is the shape of our board, the FLEX of the bindings and the stance! I think it is never too early to find a stance that suits us to have as much fun on the snow as we can. So let’s get into how to set up Snowboard Bindings!
Set up Snowboard Bindings
Goofy or Regular?
What we call the stance simply describes how you stand on the board. The first decision everyone has to make is which foot goes in front. Are you riding Goofy or Regular? About 2/3 (ish) of all riders are regular which means, their left foot is the front one.
There is nothing wrong with being a Goofy, I am myself. The name actually comes from the Disney character since in one cartoon you saw him riding a surfboard with the right foot as the front one. I mean, which freak does not like Goofy anyway? 😉
With practise, you can become really comfortable riding switch. That means you can alternate between Goofy and Regular, but you will always prefer your own stance. One of them is always going to feel better but I highly encourage you to try riding switch as soon as you can and as often as you can.
The more days you spend on the snow without riding switch, the harder it will be learning it. The ability to switch from Goofy to Regular while riding lifts the fun you have on the next level. It gives you more mobility and more freedom and by the time you get better, you will appreciate that you put in that effort and learned it right from the start.
Although, on your first day on the board you want to have the right foot in front. The best way is to give it a try and simply see what feels better but there are a few tricks. In the end, just strap yourself on the board and feel whats more comfortable. Just standing on it might already give you a good feeling for what is right and what is not.
From 0° to 90°. Set up the right angles.
Once we figured out if we are Goofy or Regular, things are getting a bit more technical. Each binding can be adjusted through the base plate on a specific angle, relatively to the board and is a crucial part of how you set up snowboard bindings.
The base plate has marks on it and each one usually represents 3°. When you rent your first board, the chances are quite high that you get one set up around 0° for your back foot and around 12° to 18° on your front foot. That is totally fine for your first turns! Once you mastered a few runs, you should consider playing around with different angles though.
For people who focus on carving and going fast, it is not unusual to have quite big angles. Alpine Raceboards for instance can have them set up around 65°back / 70°front.
Freestyle riders tend to have something close to 0° for easier flips, rotations and riding switch. The so called duck-stance with negative angles on the back foot (-10°/10° e.g) is very popular here but these days you can even see a lot of beginners with their board set up that way. Like I said, it is never too early to get used to riding switch!
The best advice I can give you here is to try it out yourself. Most ski resorts have a set of tools on every lift station and for a few bucks you can get a multi tool that fits in every pocket. Re-adjusting only takes a few minutes and can be very helpful or even necessary if you decide to switch the terrain you ride for the rest of the day!
Finding a stance you are happy with can improve your riding a lot and makes it much more comfortable and fun!
The only don’ts are:
- Riding the pidgeon-style with a negative angle on the front foot! There is no way this stance improves your riding in any way, it just helps you getting injured.
- Having too much of a difference between front and back (0°back / 50° front). This will result in something very unstable and can´t be good for your knees, too.
The Gas Pedal
Know as the gas pedal is the tip of your footbed. Depending on you bindings, this part can be moved for- or backwards to fit the size of your boots properly. Generally, your boot should stick out of your binding equally in the front and back without adjusting. Since this is varying for different boot/ binding combinations, we can get rid of minor differences by moving the gas pedal.
The highback is the part of the binding that covers your calves. They way it´s set up has a strong influence on how responsive your heel edge is. It can usually be adjusted in two ways:
On the back of the highback you find a mechanism to limit it´s movement. More forward lean results in a quicker response what is great for carving for instance. To much can be very uncomfortable and on some bindings, you even can take it completely off. That gives you a lot of mobility for the cost of less pressure on your heel edge.
Go for a neutral position first and try from there on.
The highback should be in line with the heel edge of your board. To do so, loose the screw on one side and look at your gear from above. You can slightly rotate and twist it in position what makes it more comfortable to ride and let you put the pressure where you want it.
Stance width and mounting systems
If you look on your board without bindings you either see holes or two channels to mount bindings. What you have depends on the brand of your board but all the mounting systems are mostly compatible. They are called 3D, 2×2, 4×4 or channel
You can choose to mount both of your bindings closer to the tail which results in more float for powder days for instance. A more narrow stance results in quicker turns but less stability. Again, personal style and terrain have an influence on that decision but basically our stance should be bit wider than our shoulders.
A good width to start with is the distance from your knee pit to your heels, with the bindings pretty much centred on the board, leaving a little bit more nose than tail, because you always end up riding more on your preferred side.
Find your Setup
I hope I could give you an overview about how to set up your Snowboard Bindings. What you end up doing depends as always on you, your style and the terrain you ride. Let me give you a quick overview again:
- You will always prefer Goofy or Regular, but try to learn to ride switch as soon as possible. You will thank me later!
- Find the right angles for your bindings! Test, change and test again to find out what you like the most. Don´t use negative angles on your front foot!
- Start with a stance width that is a little bit wider than your shoulders.
And always make sure your buckles are on the outside! I don´t know any binding out there, that is interchangeable. There is always a right and a left one! Buckles go on the outside!
Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave any kind of comment or questions below, I will get back to you! I hope you found this article helpful. Keep riding!