Today we’re taking a look at a long-standing debate…
“Do I need a snowboard leash?”
While some riders swear by their leashes, others consider them a misguided relic of the past.
If you’re left scratching your helmet, I’m here to clear things up!
What is a Snowboard Leash?
A snowboard leash is a device used to securely connect your boot to your snowboard. This prevents the snowboard from sliding away when you unstrap your bindings.
Depending on the design, a snowboard leash attaches to your bindings and then your boot, pants or leg.
This acts as an extra layer of security when you’re on the mountain, ensuring your board doesn’t turn into a rogue missile!
The 3 Best Snowboard Leashes
- Best overall snowboard leash
- Excellent reviews
- Extremely easy to use, even with BOA boots
This is a "long" leash and wraps around your leg. It's therefore compatible with all boots and bindings.
- Much shorter and more discreet
- An Amazon bestseller
- Perfectly designed for laced and BOA boots!
*This is a "short" leash and links your binding to the laces. The keyring loop can be opened and attached to your BOA lacing.
Are Snowboard Leashes Still Required?
Whether a snowboard leash is required often depends on the rules of the specific resort you’re visiting.
Some older regulations may still mandate the use of a leash (mostly due to outdated equipment!).
However, with modern snowboarding equipment, bindings are reliable, and the chance of your board sliding away is minimal.
In most cases, the snowboard leash has become more of a personal preference than a necessity. While some snowboarders continue to use leashes (for an added sense of security), others prefer the freedom of not having an extra tether.
Which Resorts Still Require Snowboard Leashes?
When I’m touring the states, I always pack a snowboard leash. Some resorts literally won’t let you on the lift without a leash. Better safe than sorry!
The same rules are also in place for several Canadian resorts, like Mount St. Louis.
I’ve never come across this rule in Europe, those guys are pretty liberal!
Who Should Use a Snowboard Leash?
Kids under 10 should definitely use a leash!
Beginners should consider it.
Anyone riding the above resorts must use one.
How To Use A Snowboard Leash
Snowboard leashes are fairly straightforward.
Attach the leash to your snowboard bindings, step in, then attach the leash to your boots or around your leg (depending on the type of leash).
They’re designed to be long enough to allow comfortable movement but short enough to prevent the board from gaining too much momentum should it detach.
The key here is to make sure that your leash is secure and doesn’t interfere with your riding. And like all gear, inspect your leash regularly for any signs of wear or tear. You don’t want your trusty tether snapping mid-ride!
How To Attach A Snowboard Leash
Attaching a snowboard leash varies slightly depending on its design. Typically, one end of the leash is attached to the binding, and the other end is secured to your boot.
1. Long Snowboard Leashes
These leashes are designed to be fastened to the leg, you simply wrap the strap around your lower leg and then secure it to the bindings.
2. Short Snowboard Leashes
These are much shorter and more discreet. They attach from your bindings to your boot lacing.
The good ones come with a steel loop which your laces go through. This can then be clipped onto to the leash.
The even better ones (the Snowboarding Interface Leash) have have a keyring which can be attached to BOA cables.
Best Snowboard Leash for BOA Boots
As per the above, one option for BOA boots is a short leash with a detachable steel loop, like the Snowboarding Interface Leash.
However, some riders worry about this fraying their BOA cable.
In my experience, this hasn’t been an issue. But if you want to be extra safe, choose the Dakine Standard Leash. This wraps around your leg, avoiding any risk of damage.
Do You Need A Leash With Step-On Bindings?
Whilst there are no rules forcing you to use one, most step-on bindings come with a leash to clip onto your boots.
In fact, Burton’s version has a dedicated loop on the boots, specifically for attaching the leash.
Why Skiers are The Ones Who Need Leashes!
There, I said it!
How many times have you actually seen a rogue snowboard on the slopes?
A dozen? Less?
For a snowboard to be set loose, both bindings have to be opened manually – something that most snowboarders rarely do.
On the other hand, skis are literally designed to detach under pressure! Sure, they have the little brake levers on the bottom… But we all know those don’t really work.
Rogue skis litter the slopes, particularly on the run down from the bar. Skiers are the ones who need “snowboard” leashes!
Whether you need a snowboard leash is not as clear-cut as it used to be. It often comes down to your own comfort level, the rules of the resort you’re shredding at, and, to a lesser degree, the reliability of your gear.
While not as necessary as they once were, a leash can still provide an additional layer of safety, and for some riders, a little peace of mind.
As always, the goal is to have fun and stay safe, whether you’re carving groomers or venturing off-piste.
So, buckle up (or not!), and enjoy the ride!
Your most frequently asked questions - answered!
Nope. For the sake of 10 bucks, it’s not worth it!
This depends on the resort, but most of the time it’s down to personal preference.
I do usually recommend that my younger students (<10 years old) use one. It’s a very cheap way to avoid a very expensive accident.