This article will show you how to find the best snowboard stance setup for you. Getting your set up right should make a significant difference to your progression and enjoyment on the mountain.
Whether you’re a beginner, or a more advanced rider that is yet to play around with his/her stance, it is worth spending a bit of time getting this right and finding that sweet spot.
Everyone’s ideal stance is going to be different so it’s necessary to experiment to see which feels the best for you and your style.
This post will cover the following:
- Regular or Goofy?
- Stance Width
- Binding Angles
- Set back or centred?
- High Back Angle
Regular or Goofy
If you are not sure which way down the mountain you prefer to ride then this is the place to start. Most riders will know this already but if you’re just starting and not sure if you are regular or goofy, then you’ll want to figure this out first.
For me I already knew I was goofy as I was always goofy on a skateboard and it just felt way more natural for me.
Just to clarify regular means you go down the hill with your left foot in front and goofy means your right foot is in front. Generally speaking right-handers are regular and left-handers goofy but this is definitely not always the case. Case in point – I am right-handed but ride goofy.
How to tell
The first way you should test this is try to imagine yourself speeding down a hill on a snowboard (even if you’ve never done it before). Imagine you are going really fast. With which foot forward would you fell in most control?
The second way is to have someone push you in the back from behind, when you are not expecting it – not too hard now! You don’t want to fall over, you wouldn’t learn anything then. Take note of which foot you used to step forward with. If it is your left foot then you are most likely regular if it is your right you are most probably goofy.
An alternative to the second method is to stand on the edge of step (the bottom step! Don’t try this at the top of a flight of stairs!). Count backwards from ten and then step off. Take note of which foot goes first.
The Slide Test
And finally, my favorite way, if you have good sliding socks and a smooth floor to slide on you can do the slide test. This is easy – just put on your slidiest (this is the technical term!) socks, take a short run up and slide on the floor. Take note of which foot you naturally led with – if it was your left then you are regular and if it was your right you are goofy.
Generally this is going to be slightly wider than your shoulder width.
If your stance is too wide it will be more difficult to manoeuvre the board. Imagine yourself on a snowboard with your feet really wide – it’s going to be really difficult to make any kind of sharp turn.
If your stance is too narrow it is going to give the board a really loose, unstable feel. Imagine yourself standing on a board with your feet almost together. It is going to be really hard to control the board and whilst your manoeuvrability will be awesome you aren’t likely to be able to control it very easily.
Figuring out your stance width
Try standing on a binding-less board and try out some different stance widths and see what feels most comfortable for you. To start with, get into a shoulder width stance, then move both feet slightly outwards until you feel more comfortable with bent knees than straight knees.
Measure from the centre of one foot to the centre of the other and then use this measurement as a guide when setting up your bindings.
When measuring for your bindings measure from the centre of one binding to the other.
If you’re still not quite sure the table below can act as a starting point based on height.
|Height in feet/(centimetres)||Width in inches/centimetres|
|<5’1” (155cm)||17-18″ (43-45.5cm)|
|5’2” to 5’4” (156cm-163cm)||18-19″ (45.5-48cm)|
|5’5” to 5’7” (164cm-172cm)||19-20″ (48-50.5cm)|
|5’8” to 6’ (173cm-183cm)||20-22″ (50.5-56cm)|
|>6’ (184cm and up)||22-23″ (56-58.5cm)|
This is only a rough guide and you should experiment to see what suits you best.
To some extent you want this may depend on your style. A freestyler might want a slightly wider stance for a more solid base for landings. If you require more manoeuvrability then a slightly narrower stance will help.
What angles you have your bindings on will depend on your ability level and your style of riding.
Stance angles is a topic in itself which I have covered in the article linked to below. Check that out to find your best stance angles.
Whether you have your stance setback (and how much setback you have it) or centred will depend on what you like to do on the mountain.
Setback refers to where on the board the bindings are in relation to the centre of the board.
A centred stance means there is an equal distance between the front binding and the nose of the board as there is between the back binding and the tail.
If the stance is “setback” then the back binding moves closer to the tail and the front binding closer to the centre of the board (further from the nose) so that there is a greater distance between nose and front binding as there is between tail and back binding.
Freestyle riders and some all mountain riders who like to ride switch a lot prefer a centred stance. This makes it easier to ride switch.
Free-riders and some all mountain riders will ride with a setback stance. How far setback that stance is depends on personal preference and the conditions you are riding in. A larger setback stance is great if you are riding in deep powder. This is because your weight is at the back of the board which assists with keeping the nose up and out of snow allowing for great powder float.
The high back is the high part of your bindings that press against the back of your boots holding them in place. What angle you have on your high back will depend on your preference and comfort.
You don’t want to be too upright when you are snowboarding. You want your knees slightly bent even in a relaxed position. For this reason the high-backs should be on a slight angle tilting forward (towards the board).
What feels best for you will depend on personal preference and riding style and you should experiment with this.
As a general rule of thumb freestylers and beginners prefer a more upright high-back as it is more forgiving and easier for landing jumps and allows greater room for error for beginners.
For more aggressive riders who are into backcountry riding or if you are in the pipe then a greater forward leaning angle is typically preferred. It forces your knees to be bent to give you that lower centre of gravity and control in your turns.
What to do next?
Now that you know all of the elements of setting up your stance it is time to get on the mountain and start experimenting. Once you have all of these elements set up just how you like them, you are going to get even more enjoyment from your riding.
If you have any questions or any other tips for stance setups please leave a comment below. I try to get back to all comments within a 24 hour period.