When determining your snowboard binding setup, there are three basic things to keep in mind.
- Regular or goofy?
- Stance width
- Stance angles
You need to know a little bit about your snowboard when you set up your stance also. Is your board directional, true twin, or directional twin? If your board is directional then keep in mind that your nose will be longer than your tail.
First off, are you regular or goofy?
If you don’t know than there is a simple test to help you determine that answer. When you kick a ball, which foot do you use. You want your kicking foot to be your back foot, the idea is to have your stronger leg in the back. So if you kick with your right foot you would be regular footed and have your left foot forward. If you kick with your left then you would be goofy and have your right foot forward. This works most of the time. Occasionally you will get someone who bucks the trend and kicks right footed but insists on riding goofy. Let them be, but perhaps encourage them to learn to ride switch early on…perhaps they will find that they really do favor riding regular.
Orient your board so that your front foot is at the nose end of your board, unless you have an assymetical sidecut and then you need to make sure that your heels point to the side that says “heel side”.
To determine your stance width, stand on your board with your feet approximately shoulder width apart. Bend your knees and simulate a snowboarding stance.
Adjust the stance width as necessary to be comfortable and you feel like you can get good leverage when you bend your knees. Too close together and you will feel like falling over. Too far apart and you will feel like your legs will get tired very fast. Find that happy medium. Then measure from the center of one foot to the center of the other foot. This is a good place to start in determining your stance width. Translate this measurement to the inserts on the board. Also observe the angles that your feet are at. Do you tend to stand with them ducked out to the sides, or are they pointing a little more forward?
When setting your stance width, you will need to work within the confines of your insert pack. That might mean that you have to go a half inch smaller or larger than what you measured. That’s ok. We’re just working on starting points here. You can try moving things around to see what feels comfortable as you ride. If you cannot get your bindings on even holes (for example, both on the innermost set of holes, or both one hole away from the center) then set the back binding further back. So if your stance width is 19.5” and the only way to get that is by having one binding on the centermost hole and the other one set one hole back, make it the back foot that is back the extra hole.
Now for angles…you will see little hash marks on the bindings with numbers. These numbers are degrees of angle.
You want to set your front foot as a positive angle and your back foot can go from a negative angle to a positive angle depending on what you want to you. If you are still trying to work out whether you are goofy or regular than a traditional duck stance will be a good place to start. A common beginner stance is 0 degrees on your back foot and + 15 on your front foot. Everyone has a different preference for where they like their angles. I started off at +15, -15, but once I determined that I was goofy, I started to get knee pain in my back knee and ticking that angle in relieved most of that pain. After a few years of riding and countless stance experiments, I have arrived at +18, -9 (for now anyway). It allows me to be more comfortable when riding goofy, but still lets me ride switch.
If you are going to be riding a lot of park, a duck stance will help you ride both ways and take off and land in both directions. If you are riding a lot of backcountry or powder, you might not ride much switch at all, so setting your angles forward might work best for you. You can change your stance based on the conditions…a powder day might warrant setting your stance back a little further on your board. That way you won’t have to lean back as much to keep your nose up out of the snow.
When positioning your bindings on the board, you want to equalize any overhang of your toe and heel sides as much as possible. If you have too much overhang on one side or the other you could end up with toe or heel drag.
The most important things when you mount your bindings are that you start somewhere and that you don’t hesitate to experiment. Try different widths and angles to find your comfort zone. It’s not hard to change things up, and you may find that certain positions are much more comfortable for you. Some people like to move their stance around all the time, others set it and forget it. Either way, be sure to check your bindings screws regularly because they can loosen up.