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Setting Up Your Stance for Pipe Riding

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Setting Up Your Stance for Pipe Riding
Moss Haliday doing a handplant at Squaw Valley

Moss Haliday doing a handplant at Squaw Valley

Photo © Matt GIbons

Now that you’ve learned to ride all the natural terrain on the mountain, you’ve decided you want to spend some days working on your man-made terrain in the halfpipe

Or maybe you’ve decided you want to train for halfpipe competitions. No person needs to justify the reason they love to hit the pipe (ahem) or super pipe.  Regardless, you're going to have to adjust your binding setup for maximum performance. 

Halfpipe riding involves carving up the walls, maintaining balance, ollieing into the air and performing a number of tricks and spins. While the most effective snowboard stance varies from person to person, there are a few guidelines that will help you find that perfect halfpipe setup. 

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 20 minutes

How to Set Your Stance for Pipe Riding:

  1. Lay your board on a soft surface (carpet, grass or similar), and step onto it as though you’re going to ride.

  2. Stand with your feet on the screw holes in the board and adjust them until they are slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Your knees should be in a comfortably bent position.

  3. Measure the distance between your feet and set the bindings on the board where your feet were. You want a centered stance for halfpipe riding, so make sure there is an equal amount of nose and tail on the board. 

  4. Use the mounting disks in the center of the bindings to adjust the binding angles. A duck stance, with your feet angled away from each other, is the most ideal for halfpipe riding. The duck stance allows you to ride and land in a switch or regular stance comfortably. Try adjusting the front binding to 10 degrees and the rear binding to -10 degrees. 

  5. Adjust your binding angles slightly in either direction until you reach a comfortable position that doesn’t put any strain on your knees or calves. If this is your first time using a duck stance, it may feel awkward, but it should never feel painful.

  6. Tighten the bindings until they are snug in the new duck stance using a snowboard tool (a Phillips head screwdriver will do the trick too).  Make any adjustments to the angles if you feel discomfort.

  7. Adjusting the forward lean on the high back of your binding will give you more power in the pipe. 

  8. Start with your forward lean at zero and adjust it slightly from there. Different bindings have different forward lean systems, so keep in mind that an increase in forward lean should push your calves forward. 

  9. If you feel off-balance and aren’t comfortable after a few trial runs with your new forward lean, decrease it or adjust it back to zero. A proper forward lean adjustment should help you feel like you have more power in your heelside turns.

  10. Take your board for a spin on a normal run before you hit the halfpipe. Your new stance will feel a little odd at first, so pay close attention to your knees and calves and adjust the bindings if you feel any pain. 

Tips:

  1. Keep a snowboard tool with you when you ride, especially after making huge setup adjustments. Your setup is never permanent, so don’t be afraid to make adjustments.

  2. Don’t set your rear binding beyond -21 degrees unless you are already comfortable in that position. Such a drastic angle can cause severe injuries to your knees. 

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