The modern snowboard is a relatively simple structure, designed using wood, plastic, and fiberglass. The bindings are an important part of any board. They keep you and your snowboard boots locked into place and ensure that your movements translate to the board properly.
The position of your bindings can easily be adjusted based on varying riding styles and personal preference. Essentially, your bindings set your riding stance, which is all about balance and control. Let’s take a closer look at how these bindings operate.
Your bindings are one of the most important pieces of snowboarding gear and have four basic factors that you can adjust:
- Stance width: This measures the distance between your bindings. This greatly affects your overall performance. While stance width tends to be based on personal preference, the norm is to have the bindings about shoulder-width apart. This stance allows for efficient transfer of energy during turns, jumps, and maneuvers. Freestyle riders opt for a slightly wider stance for increased stability when landing. Backcountry snowboarders often go with a narrower stance for improved turning radius.
- Binding position: You can install your bindings on a different set of mounting holes, allowing you to change the width or set the bindings closer to the tail or nose. A centered binding position evenly distributes your body weight between the front and rear bindings.
- Binding angles: You can also set the angles of your bindings. At the proper angle, you can maintain a comfortable stance regardless of terrain and take some strain off your ankles. Many riders will angle their front bindings slightly, keeping their toes pointed toward the nose of the board.
- Binding setback: Setback allows you to set your bindings closer to the tail. The more weight put on the back of the tail, the more your nose will lift out of the snow. This is often necessary for those who tend to ride in powder where keeping your nose down only leads to slow speeds, excess snow in your snow goggles, and wipeouts. Experienced boarders recommend about 1 to 3 inches of setback if you plan on riding frequently in deep pockets of powder. Backcountry riders tend to prefer more setback over freestyle riders.
While you are free to adjust your bindings after you’ve gotten the hang of riding, as a beginner, it’s a good idea to stay centered. A centered stance is the best for balance and board control and allows for easy adaptation to various terrains.