Snow Boarding

Mastering the Slopes: A Guide to Your New Snowboard

January 15, 2024

Setting the stance on your new snowboard

So, you are finally done with the rental process every time you go on your winter vacation. Now you are the proud owner of your own snowboard. The graphics represent your style and personality. How do you set the bindings up? If you got your board from a local outfitter one of the perc’s of “buy local” is they will help you. Otherwise, read on to learn what you need to consider.


Regular or Goofy

Simply put, the first decision is whether you ride with right or left foot at the back. Right foot back is “regular” and “left” foot back is “goofy”. Visualize yourself riding down the slopes to determine this. Generally, right-handed people are regular and left-handed people are goofy. You have a dominant hand. You have a dominant foot. 

Another way of determining your stance would be to stand facing forward. If someone was to shove you from behind (not too hard), which foot would go forward to keep you from falling. That dominant foot will be at the back of the board…mission control. That is the first part of determining your stance. Now let’s see what else in the dynamics will come in to play in setting up your board.

Stance width

Stance width is important because it can affect the balance between stability and control. Generally, your feet will be slightly wider than shoulder width. If it is too wide, it will be difficult to maneuver the board. This would make the board harder to turn. If your stance is too narrow, it will make the board feel unstable. In the extreme, feet together would make it really difficult to control the board. 

To determine width, stand on the board without bindings installed. Experiment with different widths to see which is most comfortable to you. Start shoulder width apart then move both feet slightly apart so you are most comfortable with bent knees. Remember to turn your head and hips slightly to be able to look out over the front of the board.  Measure the distance between the center point of your feet. Bindings are then mounted from center of one binding to the center of the other using that same distance.


Binding angles

The angle that the bindings are mounted is dependent upon your ability level and style of riding. To simplify, one can consider three types of stance angles. A neutral stance is one where the back foot is perpendicular to the board and the toes of the front foot are angled toward the front (about 15 degrees). 

A duck stance is one used by freestyle riders as they may go in either direction in which the front of the board changes. This is called riding “switch”. Bindings are angled with toes pointed away from each other. 

A positive, forward stance is one where both bindings are angled toward the front of the board. The forward foot is angled more than the back foot. This is advantageous for those generally riding freeride, without switching, or rail riding. 


Set back or centered.

This consideration deals with what type of riding your board is designed for.  If you predominantly ride in one direction, freeriding, it can be advantageous to have the bindings set back toward the rear of the board.  This sets the nose up allowing for greater float in powder and crud. 

Freestylers usually have their bindings more centered. A centered stance makes the board more maneuverable and stable when they are busting out those prime moves.

Most boards have markings designating optimum positions with regards to set back.


High back angle.

The high back is the high part of the binding. Generally, if it is more vertical, it is more forgiving whether landing jumps for freestylers or room for error with beginners. If the high back is angled forward, it forces the knees to be bent giving a lower center of gravity and more control in your turns. And the more the angle, the more your quads will scream as the day progresses. 


Put this all together.

Remember, anything you do now can be changed later. Your installation of the bindings can be changed. As you develop your boarding style, so too can your setting be changed. Take it slow and see what works best for you. As always, Bill Jackson’s Shop for Adventure encourages you to seek the help of your local outfitter, so you have sound advice in determining what is best for you. If you have any questions, contact our snowboarding experts at 727-576-4169.