Whenever I’m trying out a new snowboard I always like to play around with the stance. Whether I change the stance angles, width or setback, it can prove quite rewarding testing out new ‘settings’. There’s really no right or wrong snowboarding stance, because it really depends on what works best for you. It’s not like we’re all built alike and the same applies to different snowboards. More importantly, what feels right for me will be different from what feels right for you. This guide will show you have to determine the best stance setback, width, and angle for your riding style.
How to set your snowboard stance?
As alluded above, there are 3 elements to a snowboard stance (listed in the order they should be adjusted):
- Stance setback
- Stance width
- Stance angle
Snowboard Stance Setback
What is it: Stance setback is simply the distance between the mid-point of the two bindings (picture an imaginary line connecting the bindings) and the center of the board itself. Zero stance setback means the mid-point of your bindings align with the center of your snowboard.
Most snowboards come with a set of metal holes for each binding, which are used for screwing in your bindings onto the snowboard. For example, most freeride snowboards come with some setback to give you a longer noise for added speed stability.
Note: The new Burton ICS snowboards and EST bindings don’t come with metal inserts as they are differently designed, but the idea is the same.
Why stance setback? Depending on your riding style you’ll need some setback. Essentially, the more stance setback there is, the more a snowboarder’s weight shifts toward the back of the snowboard. The longer nose provides better stability at higher speeds and control in powder. Freeride snowboards will usually have stance setback while freestyle snowboards wont.
When to have stance setback? The general rule is: 0 setback for freestyle riding, and negative setback (i.e. closer to the tail than the noise) for freeriding. You should avoid having a stance setback such that your bindings are closer to the nose than the tail.
General Stance Setback Options:
- Zero stance setback or centred stance – snowboard turns easily and you will have a good board control.
- 1 inch/2.5 cm stance setback – snowboard will have a shorter tail allowing more aggressive turns, higher ollies, and better float in the powder.
- 2 inch/5 cm stance setback – snowboard will have an even shorter tail allowing for deep powder riding but turning will be a bit harder.
Snowboard Stance Width
What is it: Stance width is the distance between the two bindings (i.e. how far apart they are). Stance width depends mostly on your height and should roughly be about 1 inch/2.5 cm wider than your shoulders. As long as you make sure you choose the right snowboard size for your height, then the default stance width will be just right.
Changing Your Stance Width?
- Wider stance – more stability, harder turn transitions, better for freestyle riding.
- Narrower stance – less stability, easier turn transitions, better for freeriding.
Snowboard Stance Angle
Regular or Goofy? First you need to find out whether you’re stance is Regular or Goofy. This is essentially which leg you have forward. If you put your left foot in front when you go downhill, you are regular and if it is your right foot you are goofy. Most of the snowboarders are regular. It’s important to have the correct foot forward as this will make snowboarding a lot easier to pick up.
- The leg you naturally kick a ball with will be your forward leg.
- The leg your naturally use to stop yourself from sliding in your socks will be your forward leg.
- Finally, the leg that feels most natural having forward while snowboarding, will be your forward leg (duh). So feel free to try out both legs forward and see which feel more natural and easier.
Stance Angle: Stance angle is the angle at which the binding is mounted on to the snowboard.
- Zero Stance Angle: When the snowboard binding is completely perpendicular to the snowboard.
- Positive Stance Angle: When the front of the binding (your toes) is angled towards the nose of the snowboard.
- Negative Stance Angle: When the front of the binding (your toes) is angled towards the tail of the snowboard.
Snowboard bindings usually have different stance angles. The angles are normally written like +15°/+6°, meaning the front binding is set at 15 degrees (positive stance angle) and the back binding is set at 6 degrees (positive stance angle). One rule to keep in mind is that the rear binding angle should never be larger than the front binding angle as this will put strain on your knees!
Different Stance Angle Options:
Alpine stance is a setup used for race/carve snowboards, that are so narrow that small angles will cause overhang. Large angles combined with hard boots allow you to carve aggressively. For better control in short turns, there should be some angle difference between the two bindings.
Forward stance is the stance used by most of freeride snowboarders. Both snowboard bindings have positive stance angles but they are much smaller than with alpine stance. Since these snowboards are much wider than alpine boards, overhang isn’t an issue.
Duck stance is a stance where the front binding angle is positive and the back binding angle is negative, thus each foot faces a different direction – kinda like duck feet. Duckstance gives you more stability as your body is aligned with the snowboard and is useful for park and freestyle riding. With duck stance, the front angle is anywhere between 30° and 0° degrees while the rear angle is negative, between -1° and -20°. Keep the angles apart by at least 8-10 degrees. Personally, I use this and my stance angles are +12° and -12°.
Which Stance Angle to Choose?
There is no right or wrong snowboard stance, as long as you don’t over do it. Start with a forward stance angle and adjust the angles on the slope to feel out for the best combination.
If you have any questions, leave a comment or contact me and I’ll respond right away!