Guide To Snowboarding Stances: Which Stance Is Best For You?
If you are new to snowboarding you might be wondering what a stance is, well in simple terms, a stance is the way a person stands, like let’s say a posture. Now in snowboarding if you aren’t familiar with the ins and outs of this field then you might confuse stance with stunts, the latter are the acrobatic moves that snowboarders make while on the mountain.
Now back to stances, what is the right stance for snowboarding? Conventional wisdom says that the perfect stance should be a bit wider shoulder width. The most common stance is called the duck stance where their feet are slightly angled away from each other. This is not preferable for all mountain riding instead for this category riders (the all-mountain snowboarders) would rather have both their feet angled to the front of the board.
Choosing a Stance
Determining your stance is far from rocket science. There are a couple of different methods you can use to determine your stance..
The trial and error method. Basically, get on your snowboard and try to see which stance you are more comfortable with. A bunny hill is the perfect place to try out these various new stances.
The second most common test is the push test. In which a fresh snowboarder will get on their board, remove their shoes and then have someone gently push them from the back to the point that you will have to put a foot forward for support.
Here we are looking at the foot that you will use to catch yourself and the foot that you put forward is the very same one that will be at the front while snowboarding. And just so that you are sure, you can repeat the test a couple of times, important to note is that with time as snowboarders become accustomed to snowboarding they tend to change their stance.
Skateboarders, moving from skateboarding to snowboarding puts you miles ahead of the snowboarding learning curve. You can try your same stance from skateboarding when snowboarding, we are not saying that this will definitely be your stance for snowboarding, but there is a very good chance this is the case.
It is often the case that the way you ride your skateboard is the very same way that you will ride your snowboard, because the sports are so similar on so many different levels. This means that if you skate with your right foot at the front then it is very possible that you will snowboard the same way.
Different Ways to Ride a Snowboard
In snowboarding, there are two basic riding stances, the goofy and regular. The former refers to riding with your right foot forward, while the latter is riding with your left foot forward, each person, therefore, can ride with the stance that they are comfortable with, so it all boils down to personal preference and style.
Snowboard Binding Angles
Successful snowboarding also has a lot to do with the angles of your bindings and how they are placed on your snowboard. Bindings should be set on the snowboard with based on the type of snowboarding that you will be doing. Most snowboarders set their front binding at a 15° angle, and the rear binding will be set at either 0° with a -6° angle.
If you are a beginner finding the right angle will not exactly be easy, you will want to ride primarily in one direction. So your stance should be set in such a way that makes turning a lot easier while maintaining stability. The binding angles that would achieve this is +15 for the front binding and +0 or +3 for the back binding.
Types of Snowboarding Stances
Ducked Stance- ducked snowboarding has a couple of variations. In this stance, the bindings will face outward with varying degrees from extremely ducked to almost straight. The ducked stance is perfect for riding both the control and switch in the terrain park and is mostly adopted by the freestyle and park riders.
Forward Stance- just like the ducked this has variations.
The Standard Stance- has the back binding straight while the front binding is slightly turned out. Unfortunately, this stance is very poor for riding switch. The standard stance is also the best for the new snowboarders as it gives them the best feeling of control.
Best Angles for the Freestylers
Fresh snow is the perfect environment for the beginner and intermediate snowboarders. If you have frequented resorts then you might have noticed that most of the freestylers love the slight duck or the mirrored duck stance, both of which can be achieved at different angles.
For the slight duck stance, the back foot will be on the negative angle and from different angle to the front foot. The stance also has varied combinations such as the +15/-19 or the +15/-6, the combinations that you can try with this stance are many that range between +21 and +12 for the front binding, for the back binding it will be -3 to -15.
The above angles will not work for everyone so you should try them to see which one works the best.
Free Riders Angles
Both angles should be positive for Freeriders. Some of the preferred stances are +18/+6 or +21/ +6. For the most part people like to position the front foot between +24 and +15, and the back foot at +3 and +9. Important to note: you don’t have to stick to these angles and you can, therefore, try out the ones provided and find the stance that suits you the most.
Angles for All Mountain Snowboarding
All mountain snowboarders do a bit of everything with just one board, and they are known to ride with either a slight forward or slight duck stance. For the individuals addicted to switch then they should go with the slight duck stance. So, as you experiment the different angles here are a few options to consider +15/ -3, +18/ -6 and +15/ -6.
Free Rider Angles
For the free riders, both angles will feature the positive angles and a forward stance. According to the professionals, your foot will be placed between +24 and +15, while the back foot will remain at +3 and +9. Other common stances for the free riders are +18/ +3 and +21/ +6.
Other Snowboard Factors to Consider
For the first-timers trying different angles when setting up your binding is not an option at least for now but after a few days of experience then you can try adjust your angles to suit your preference.
High Back Angles – the highback is normally configured to change how the binding responds when you lean back, and you can adjust them to make them more responsive by adjusting the angle of the back. To make them less responsive you will have to lean the bindings back more and more to make them more responsive lean them more forwards.
Also, remember that if you lean them too much on the front side movement will be restricted more especially when you want to turn. This may leave you fatigued much more easily. You can also set the high backs to be in line with the back edge, so if you exert any pressure on them it will automatically be transmitted in the direction that it needs to act.
How to work on your snowboarding stance
For the perfect snowboarding experience, your should be comfortable, but there is no way you can achieve this if you haven’t built the muscle memory. For newbie’s, having your legs locked into your snowboard binding will with time start to feel natural.
The best way to getting into your snowboarding stance is by first aligning with the direction that you wish to ride, then ensure that you your shoulders and arms completely relaxed. Next, align your hips parallel to the board instead of turning forward; then relax your hips while bending your knees which will help engage your turns.
If you follow the above steps above, you will definitely feel comfortable on your snowboard, now when turning and jumping, there will be some discomfort but which can be mitigated with a few fixes on the snowboard. A Burton snowboard allows adjustments on the fly while on the hill, but if your snowboard is different then you will have to bring a pocket tool to use for the relevant adjustments.
Stance width is the distance between your snowboard bindings and is determined by your height and should be fine-tuned. According to science stance width and the foot placement angles affects the hip and knee joints when initiating the frontal and the sagittal planes. So when snowboarding the best stance width and foot angles will greatly affect your movements.
So how do you find the perfect stance width? The first thing to do is measure the length from your knee cap to your heel, which will produce a slightly larger number when compared to the width of your shoulders.
Snowboarding Tips and tricks
Many people are quick to learn through observation, and if you watch the snowboarders from afar then you will notice that they have perfectly mastered their moves. For them coordination from the waistline to the feet on the board is relatively natural. Once you have your board adjusted to the perfect setting, turning should be fun, but avoid bending too low at your waist because that will throw you off balance.
You probably have noticed that the professional riders are very flexible. That is because they have mastered the art of balancing their foot. You too should avoid putting too much weight on one foot. You must also practice on holding an edge for longer, and the best way to achieve this is by being in an athletic stance with some flexion in the knees.
Additionally, you should ensure that your bindings are not too close to the nose or tail of your board.
Choosing the right snowboard
People are used to buying products from brands that have been in the industry for a long time, but even at that, you have to be wary of the size and quality of snowboard that you decide to buy with. A good snowboard should, therefore, offer the right feel and flex; other factors to consider are your ability level as well as the conditions that you ride in.
Riding a snowboard should not feel like work rather it should be fun and enjoyable. Below are the top things to look out for when choosing a snowboard.
Width of the Snowboard
It is hard to guess how someone could fail to check the width of their snowboard, but it happens. Now two scenarios are presented when it comes to snowboard width, if you choose a snowboard with a narrow width then you might be exposing yourself to boot drag if your boots are too big for the board.
The second scenario is buying a snowboard that has too wide a width for your boots which will make turning much harder. There are instances where both the width and the length fail to match up for the specific specs that you want, which will then force you to adjust your length requirement and that you might have to go with a shorter board.
Length of the Snowboard
The length of a snowboard correlates with your weight. So if you are lighter then your snowboard should also be shorter. Heavier people should go with longer boards. Height also plays a factor in snowboard length, for example we have noticed that shorter people can deal with having a narrower stance, while the tall people do better with a wider stance.
Tall and light in weight individuals should, therefore, not use weight as the only factor to determine the type of board that they want to buy then they will likely end up with a board that fails to accommodate their stance width.
Your Snowboarding style
Currently, in the market, there are basically three different types of snowboards, and these are Alpine, Freeride, and Freestyle. Each of these boards features a unique construction technique, the materials used are also different, and their flex pattern shape and size are also different. In essence, the type of snowboard that you go with should relate to your style of riding.
Park and Freestyle snowboards- are equipped with a soft and medium flex that allows riders to express their freestyle tricks, riding, and jibbing. The boards typically have bomber edges and base construction, which helps them withstand impact with rails and have less swing weight for much easier spins. So, for the snowboarding enthusiasts who consider the mountain as their playground then the park and freestyle snowboard is the right choice.
Powder and free ride snowboards
If you want to ride ungroomed and float in deep powder or on steep terrain then this is the type of board for you. The powder and free ride snowboards have been designed to offer riders smooth and stable rides at fast speeds and as well as in varied snow conditions.
Distinguishing the powder and free ride snowboards should not be a headache because these boards have distinct tapered tails and big noses; most of them are wide and short for providing the best agility and response in the tight spots.
All Mountain Snowboards
These boards can carve and hold an edge, they are medium flex and can float decently in powder. The all mountain snowboards can be ridden in both directions. These types of snowboards are mostly used by riders who want just one snowboard to handle varied riding styles and terrain.
Attaching a stomp pad
Before you attach the stomp pad ensure that the board is free of grease and remove the backing off the pad. Then place the pad on your preferred place on the board. To ensure that the stomp adheres to the board, place something heavy on it to exert pressure and then let it sit for a couple of hours for the adhesive bond to be strong before use.
Binding position across the board
During binding installation, it is important to ensure that the bindings have been positioned in the right place on the board for the right positioning of your heels and toes. You can achieve the above by sliding the binding along the grooves on the mounting disc in the area that the mounting screws are to be inserted.
Once the binding is correctly set, you can proceed to tighten the mounting screws consequently setting the binding in place.
The incorporated binding straps should be the correct length to allow you to buckle up with ease, once you have put your feet in the binding the plastic ladder straps should easily fit on into the buckle until the ratchets click.
To choose your perfect stance it’s important to first to assess your ability and your riding style. You will then be able to determine the type of snowboard that will suit you. Carefully pick the boots that you are going to use in that they should offer a snug fit, and ensure that your toes do not touch the end of the boots.
The boots that you wear should also promote blood circulation and the toe box spacious enough to allow your toes wiggle, but you should not be able to move your foot back and forth in the boot. Important to note: that new snowboarding boots might take some time before breaking in, but you can make them comfortable by wearing thick socks the first couple of times that you use them.