This article will help you with your snowboard setup in a few easy to follow steps. What I love most about snowboarding is the simplicity. One person, one snowboard and one fresh line is all you need to have the time of your life. Simple alterations to your equipment and stance can really affect how your board will perform and ultimately how awesome the ride can be. Here are a few quick tips for the perfect snowboard setup, so that next time you’re on the mountain you can strap in and shred without any restrictions.
The first point of contact between you and your board. Soft boots are good for freestyle riders, as they are more forgiving at slow speeds. Stiff boots are better for free riding and carving as they give more support at high speeds and a more solid connection between you and your board. If you have a stiffer boot, but you want to experience how a soft boot feels, try loosening your boots up and making a few turns.
Next, getting the fit right is essential. Your toes should touch the end of your boot and when you apply pressure to the tongues through your shins, your toes should slide back slightly, but still have light contact with the inside. There should be NO heel lift when pressing your shins against the tongues. Remember that your boots will ‘pack out’ or expand inside as they wear in, so it’s better to start with something a little tight as they will loosen over time.
The next point of contact to the board. The first consideration here is the position of the bindings on the board. For normal and freestyle riding, you want a more centred stance, i.e. the nose and tail are the same length. This will enable you to ride regular and switch with ease and is the most versatile. When riding powder, most people prefer a set-back stance. By moving both bindings back by 1 inch or so, you are effectively lengthening your nose and shortening your tail. This will move the centre of mass towards the back of the board, raising your nose and helping the board to stay above the surface in deeper snow.
The distance between the centre of both bindings. Quite simply, the wider your stance, the more stable you will be, but the narrower your stance, the easier it will be to initiate a turn. Super steely park kids may give the impression that the wider the stance the cooler you look, but this is not the case. If you are at an intermediate level or above, you really wont need so much extra stability and it may slow your turn initiation. I am 5’8″ and I usually ride a 155cm board with a centred stance. I find the most successful stance width to be around 21.5″. Take a screwdriver with you up the mountain, or use the courtesy tools provided at lift stations in most resorts. Start with a stance that feels comfortable and wide and then every couple of runs, reduce it by 1/2 an inch or so. I guarantee that you will notice how much easier it is to start a turn with a narrower stance. Play around with it for a couple of hours until you find the sweet spot that suits you.
Important to get right so you don’t put unnecessary strain on your calves and knees. Usually you will find that people with a centred stance will ride 15/-15, 12/-12 or 9/-9. Having your binding angles as a mirror of each other will help switch riding and will allow you to be more versatile. Although some people who don’t ride switch as often and just want to charge powder with a set back stance will be more comfortable with a slight angle on the front and less on the back, e.g. 15/-9. Finally, you need to consider the angle of your high-backs. Almost all bindings will have some way of adjusting the high-back angle. Freestyle riders prefer less to no angle, which will be more forgiving when sliding boxes and rails. Increasing the angle so that the high-back is pointing more into the back of your leg will give you more support when initiating a heel side turn. This can make a huge difference if you have never tried it.
It is important to make any changes to these settings one at a time. Decide on a centred or set back stance, then alter the width, then your angles. It will be well worth it and you won’t have to worry about finding the perfect settings for your board again. Now with the perfect snowboard setup you will be able to concentrate on improving your riding, safe in the knowledge that your setup isn’t holding you back! If you’re interested in reading more useful articles about winter sports or you want to book your next ski/snowboard trip, visit our website here.