You’ve covered all aspects of the mountain, and now you want to focus on airs, rails, and the other elements of park riding. The next step is to choose a binding setup that will help you perform better in the park. While your current setup will probably get you by, choosing well-aligned binding angles and positioning on the board can provide better balance and help you boost bigger airs.
The key to a proper park-riding stance is keeping your weight centered on the board. You’ll want equal amounts of nose and tail and a stance that allows you to take off regular or switch. By following a few simple guidelines, you’ll have your stance that's fine-tuned for maximum park performance in no time.
Time Required: 20 minutes
How to Set Your Stance for Park Riding:
- Set your board on a soft surface with the base down. You’re going to be standing on the board to test your new stance, so make sure the bottom won’t get scratched or dinged. Stand on the board with your feet directly on the screw holes. Slide your feet so the distance from your front foot to the nose of the board is equal to the distance from your back foot to the tail. Keep your feet an inch or two more than shoulder-width apart, so your knees bend naturally into an athletic stance. If your feet are too close together, they’ll lock up and your landings could cause serious injury.
- Measure the distance between your feet, so you can place the bindings exactly where your feet were. Set the bindings on the board where your feet were and the set the mounting disks at zero degrees. The bindings (and your feet) should be perpendicular to the board.
- Rotate the mounting disk of the front binding to 10 degrees and the rear binding to -10 degrees. Your bindings are now in a duck stance, so step into the bindings and see how it feels. The perfect stance varies for everyone, so adjust the bindings in either direction until you find one that works for you. The duck stance may feel a little strange at first, but it should never cause any pain on your calves or knees. If you feel strain in those areas, adjust the bindings.
- Tighten the bindings in place with a snowboard tool. Push and pull on each binding to make sure they won’t budge; you don’t want them coming loose while you’re riding.
- Adjust the forward lean of your highbacks. Different companies use different systems for adjusting forward lean, so it’s important to know that an increase in forward lean means your highback is pushing your calves farther forward. The proper amount of forward lean will give you more power in your heelside turns, but won’t make you feel off-balance. You’ll probably need to test out a few different adjustments before you find the perfect amount of forward lean for you.
- Take a few runs and make adjustments based on how it feels. You need to be picky with your park-riding stance. If you go into the park with a stance that puts too much strain on your calves or knees, one hard landing or wipe-out can keep you off the mountain for the rest of the season.
- Don’t feel like you have to use forward lean. If you can’t find a comfortable amount of forward lean, you can still become a great park rider.
- Duck stance is ideal for park riding, but it isn’t required. If your knees or calves don't feel comfortable in the duck stance, a flat or slightly forward stance will work.
- Keep a snowboard tool in your pocket whenever you’re riding, so you can make binding adjustments on the fly.
- Don’t be afraid to adjust your bindings. Fine-tuning your stance can take a lot of trial runs; pay attention to your legs and your performance, and adjust accordingly.