8 Tweaks To Find Your Perfect Snowboard Setup and Stance

snowboard setup

Small changes and tweaks can lead to wonderful new feelings in your snowboarding. Especially, when it comes to your snowboard setup. To find the best position for your body type and riding style, it can help to play around with your snowboard setup. I had been riding with a set stance for years which felt comfortable and stable. However, I made some small changes last season and it opened up a whole new world. It improved my mobility, rotation, power transfer between turns and ability to absorb difficult terrain.

Your equipment is your connection to the snow. Your comfort level, mobility and ability to perform the board is influenced by what your stance is and how it is set up. Try the 8 tweaks in this post to find your perfect snowboard setup and get the most enjoyment out of your gear and time on snow. All it takes is a binding tool or screwdriver!

8 Tips On Your Snowboard Setup

  • Stance Width

This is how far apart your feet are when strapped in. A general rule of thumb for stance width is to have your feet shoulder width apart or just a little wider. Another way to test your stance width is to use the position your feet naturally take as you do a squat. Take the bindings off, stand on the board, do some squats and mark the position where it feels best. Then attach the bindings there.

A stance that is too wide or too narrow will inhibit your mobility. It can take a lot of testing to find the optimal stance that works best for your body. If you change your stance width, it can feel strange and awkward for the first few runs. Try to ride for at least a morning or afternoon in the new stance to fully test it out.

Snowboard setup, snowboard equipment, snowboard stance

 

Your snowboard setup will directly influence your comfort and enjoyment. Take the time to learn what works for you and your body.

  • Binding Angles

The angles the front and back bindings are set at.

  • Binding near the nose usually has a positive angle
  • Binding near the tail usually has a negative angle.

It’s helpful to set the angles to a position that is comfortable and natural for your body type and riding style. A ducked stance is generally the best and most versatile option (eg. +12 on front foot, -12 on backfoot). This makes it a breeze to ride switch, as you can steer more effectively. Also, it’s easy on your knees and a comfortable position to stand in all day when snowboarding.

snowboard setup, snowboard bindings, snowboard equipment, snowboard education, snowboardIQ

Start at 9 on the front foot, -9 on the back foot.

Tweak for comfort by playing with angles. 15 on the front foot, -12 on the back foot. Or even 18 on front foot, -15 on back foot.

snowboard setup, snowboard equipment, snowboard bindings

A “race” stance that is seen in an older carving snowboard setup has positive angles on both bindings. This places the rider in a more open position to encourage easier lateral movement with the hips across the board. As a result of the more open position, over time it can be uncomfortable, as well as difficult to do freestyle.

snowboard setup, snowboard equipment

  • The Position of Bindings Tip to Tail

This dictates how much nose or tail your board has. Starting slap bang in the centre is always a good place to develop preference and awareness from. Some board styles like powder or all-mountain, will have a slightly longer nose when the stance is centred. True twin boards will give the option to have equal amounts of nose and tail. This makes it easier to ride, balance and land tricks in switch.

snowboard setup, snowboard equipment, snowboard stance

 

  • The Position of Bindings Edge to Edge

This can affect how much toe or heel overhang you have. As you lean and bend through turns to get the board on edge, over-hang from the toes or heels will mean you can catch or drag them in the snow. You will want to centre the boot on the board so that there are equal amounts of toe and heel overhang. If you have big feet ride a wide size snowboard so that you minimise overhang.

Strap your boots in (feet not in them) and turn the board upside down to check if they are centred on the board. You will clearly see if the boots are further over one edge compared to the opposite.

Example – If the boot is centred and the toes stick out over the toe edge but the heel cup doesn’t poke out at all. You can set the binding back towards the heel edge, so you reduce the over-hang on the toes and equal it out in the heels.

snowboard stance, snowboard setup, snowboard equipment

  • Forward Lean On Binding Highbacks

Most bindings will have a forward lean option that dictates the position of the highback and how it affects your lower body. If you increase the forward lean, it will push the knees and ankles into a more flexed position. This can make it more responsive when turning on to heel edge and easier to bend down through the lower joints. Forward lean can make a big difference if you are struggling to get a true carve on heel edge. Not as useful for boxes and rails, because it encourages more of an edge to slide out on.

Snowboard equipment, snowboard stance, snowboard setup

  • Aligned Highbacks

In most modern bindings you can rotate the highback. Response and comfort improve when the highbacks align with / run parallel to the heel edge. This makes for an easier edge to edge transfer and allows the boots to flex more naturally when trying presses or tweaking grabs.

Snowboard setup, snowboard equipment, snowboard bindings

  • Adjustable Toe on Baseplate

Most baseplates will have an extendable and retractable toe piece that looks like a pedal. This is to ensure direct connection and power transfer between the boots and the board.

If your boot overhangs, the pedal will be sitting further down your foot away from your toes / end of the boot. Make an adjustment to ensure your toes and the pedal line up at the top. If you choose a small binding and are a larger boot size, you may need to extend the toe pedal so that it curls up to naturally cup underneath the toes.

  • Regular or Goofy

Before you set off on your ride, you need to determine your natural lead foot. Or if you have been riding for years and not done much switch riding, it’s an amazing way to quickly improve and learn new things.

  • Left foot as the lead foot = regular
  • Right foot as the lead foot = goofy

If you have done any other board sports like skating or surfing you should have a good idea of what foot will be comfortable to lead the way.

If you aren’t sure, your dominant foot should be the back foot (the foot you would kick a football with). Or imagine running then sliding on ice, which foot would you put out first? This will be your front foot. If someone was to push you when standing with your legs together, which leg would you put out first to regain balance? Check out this awesome article from Whitelines on how to pick.

Snowboard setup, snowboard stance, snowboard equipment, snowboard education, snowboardIQ

To optimise your snowboard setup and stance can take a lot of time and tweaking. Never be afraid to try something new for a couple of runs. If you don’t like it you can always change it back. Sometimes making the smallest change can have a hugely beneficial effect on your comfort, mobility and rider performance.

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Fraser Johnston

Founder & Trainer at Watch and Ride
CASI Lvl 3 | Evaluator Lvl 2 | Park Evaluator. After coaching and evaluating "instructor training programs" for several seasons, I fell in love with the science of snowboarding. I believe there is no better way to spend a day, than using your body for sport outside in nature! It is always such a joy to guide and watch people reach their potential on the snow, as well as surpass milestones of what they thought was possible.The goal for Watch & Ride is to create fun and simple Virtual Snowboard Lessons that are available to everyone and conveniently accessible. My wish is to grow the sport and evolve the way people learn to snowboard, ensuring they have fun, stay safe and get the best possible experience on the mountain.

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  1. CSH says: Reply

    Wow. Informative, thorough and way to understand.

    1. I’m happy you found it useful and educational. Any other questions about your setup, please do not hesitate to ask!

    2. dolac says: Reply

      Excellent tips but.. why do some internet info says that dominant foot should go in front and some of them say to put in back? Thanks!

      1. It really comes down to personal preference! Everyone is built differently and what works for one won’t necessarily work for the other. I would recommend riding as much switch as possible as it’s a great way to boost your skills.

  2. Mike says: Reply

    Hi, that was a really interesting read. I’m trying to learn to eurocarve but am having trouble really getting onto my toe edge due to ankle mobility problems.
    Will angling my bindings further forward compensate for this?

    1. Thanks for commenting. The eurocarve is an awesome trick and super fun! I will send a video to your email that will explain exactly how to do it. What is your current stance angles and width?

  3. Joel says: Reply

    I have ridden close to the same angle for a long time. My stance width was determined by measuring from the crease in the back of my knee while barefoot and tall, then added an inch… that is the distance from centre of binding to center if binding. It is definitely true that equipment set up is huge part of getting the snowboard to work in your favour….most snowboard retailers should take more time in setting up customers on their snowboards. Great post!!

    1. That’s a great tip Joel and a cool way of figuring stance width out. I’m looking forward to trying it and curious to see if it’s close to what I’m riding now. A neutral, comfortable stance is half the battle when trying to first learn!

  4. Joel says: Reply

    I have helped more candidates on level one and two courses set up their equipement with great success…. so yep I know first hand how much it can improve a persons enjoyment of snowboarding….

  5. Basar says: Reply

    Very good and basic explanation, thanks.

  6. Jerry says: Reply

    I am an intermediate goofy foot. I watch other riders going in a straight line on their toe edge. When I get on my toe edge the board immediately turns to the left. I can ride somewhat straight on my heel edge, but slower. What am I doing wrong? Thanks, Jerry

    1. Hey there Jerry, it may be to do with where your shoulders are pointing! Do you have a video of your riding you can send me, I’d be happy to take a look. Cheers, Fraser

  7. Adam says: Reply

    I love boarding. I ride goofy. The back knee Is arguing with me on powder days. What stance would be most friendly just someone with these kinds of arguments

    1. I tend to find a neutral back foot angle like -12 or -15 is most gentle on the knee. In powder, the tendency is to really lean on the back foot which can compromise the knee. I like to take a straighter line, keep my speed up and stay centred on the board rather than shift my weight onto the back foot. If I feel the nose of the board dipping down into the powder, I can pump my back foot to bring the nose up!

  8. James says: Reply

    I have an issue standing up when not moving on my snowboard. When I get off the lift), I always have to sit down because I cannot simply stand up on my board and strap in. Even when I stop on the mountain, I cannot stand upright very long. It’s very annoying and I don’t know what is causing it. Do I have to adjust my highbacks? I’m no beginner and I ride regular on a Ride Kink with Burton Cartels, even though now I mostly freeride. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

    James

    1. Hey there James! I’ll give you an email to dive deeper on this

  9. Ollie says: Reply

    Hi Fraser. I have been getting some sharp pain down the outside of my front foot after a couple of hours of riding. Mostly when riding toeside for prolonged period of time. Any tweaks you could suggest to my setup to prevent this?

    1. Hey there Ollie, what angles are your bindings set up at? Do you have an orthotic insole in your boots that helps support the arch? Do you have any videos of you riding you could send over? Cheers, Fraser – also I’ve switch the blog over to https://shop.watchandride.com/blogs/news – sorry i missed this comment!

  10. Grahame says: Reply

    HI Fraser, Wow what great information, I have used this to set up my daughters first board and have reset my binding angles and have also centred my boots now on the board, I also now need to rotate my highbacks a little. Thanks for sharing all these tips.

    1. Hey there Grahame,

      Glad it helped! Some small tweaks can make such a big difference. Sorry for the delayed reply, I have moved the blog over to – https://shop.watchandride.com/blogs/news. Just setting up the redirects. Let me know if there is anything else I can help with.
      Best,
      Fraser

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