Just like snowboarders, snowboard stances come in all shapes and sizes. A rider's stance on the board is a combination of footedness, stance width, centering, offset, and binding angles.
A rider's stance is determined by their ability, the type of riding they typically participate in, and their size, with a bit of personal preference mixed in.
Since every riders stance is different, there's no simple answer to the question, "How should I set up my snowboard stance?" Follow these basic guidelines, however, and you'll be much closer to dialing in your ideal stance.
Time Required: 30 Minutes
To figure out which foot you should have in front, imagine you're sliding across a patch of ice in a parking lot, or across a freshly waxed floor in your socks. Which foot would be in front? Since these actions are similar to sliding sideways on a board, odds are this will be your front foot on a snowboard.
Stance width is the distance between the center of your front and back binding. It is almost entirely a function of your height, although different types of riding may lend themselves to some tweaking one way or another (We'll get to the tweaking part in a little bit).
Consult this chart on snowboard stance width to properly determine how wide your stance should be.
Stance angles refer to the angle the bindings are mounted at relative to the snowboard, and are always expressed as degrees, either positive or negative. Bindings mounted perpendicular to the board, therefore, would be mounted at 0/0 (0 degrees in front, 0 in back). Let's look at some common setups for angles:
Forward Stance: A forward stance is ideal for carving, beginners, and all-mountain riding. Common angles are +20°/+6°.
Duck Stance: A duck stance is ideal for freestyle riding. Common angles are +15°/-15° (known as mirrored), or +18°/-6°.
Stance offset is the distance between the center of the bindings and the center of the board. The effective center is determined by measuring from the widest point of the board's nose to the widest point of the board's tail.
After finding the effective center, decide if you want to be centered (in the middle) or setback (towards the tail). A centered setup will offer all-around good control of the board, with easy turn initiation. It's an ideal setup for beginners. An offset setup makes the board ride with a stiffer tail, allowing more aggressive turns, higher ollie's, and better float in powder.
Centering your stance means your feet are centered across the width of the board. This is most often done by shifting the binding disks.
To center your stance, attach your bindings to the board, but don't tighten the screws all the way. Without putting them on your feet, strap your boots into the bindings, then slide them back and forth across the board until they are an equal distance from both the heel and toeside edges.
Go ride, then tweak:
The best part about setting up a snowboard is that changes can be made very easily, requiring only a screwdriver. Once you've setup your board, go out and ride for a few hours. After a half-day or so of riding (to get used to the feel of the board and the setup), you can start tweaking angles, stance width, etc. to your heart's content!
- Although stance width can be determined by consulting a chart, oftentimes the most comfortable width is equal to the width of the rider's shoulders.
- Going Narrower or Wider: Narrow stance widths are especially suited for Alpine Snowboarding or riders that spend most of their time carving on firm surfaces. Wider stance widths are well suited to freestyle riding, as they provide a more stable platform for landing big airs.
- When tweaking your stance, remember to make changes incrementally, and only change one thing (width, angles, etc.) at a time - otherwise, you won't be able to figure out which tweak worked and which one didn't.
- Once you've dialed in your stance, apply a small amount of Loctite® to the threads of your binding screws. This will prevent them from vibrating loose as the day wears on.
NOTE: You should always make sure your bindings are securely mounted to your board before riding, even after applying a threadlocking compound!
What You Need:
- Snowboard Bindings
- Snowboard Boots
- Tape Measure or Ruler
- Phillips Head Screwdriver