how to set up your snowboard stance

How to Set Up Your Snowboard Stance [4 Quick Steps]

by Fraser

I know what you’re thinking, cool picture… but what does it have to do with snowboard stance?

Absolutely nothing. But don’t worry, the rest of the article does!

Due to popular demand, I’ve put together a very quick guide on how to set up your snowboard stance.

I’ll hit the basics and link out to more detailed articles for the aspiring snowboard nerds. 

Let’s begin…


Among the most exciting snowboarding moments is setting up your first board. While it may not compare to learning to carve or landing your first backflip, it’s still a monumental moment.

Once you have all the gear, you’re undoubtedly stoked to put your setup together. But you don’t know where to start.

Well, maybe we should start with the basics – width, angles and setback. 

how to set up your snowboard stance diagram

I assume that’s why you’re reading our guide on how to set up your snowboard stance. After a quick read, you’ll know everything you need to assemble your board.

1. What are You? Goofy or Regular?

Before mounting your bindings, you’ll need to determine your stance. Right foot forward is goofy, while the left foot forward is regular.

If you’re new to snowboarding and have never skateboarded or surfed, you need to perform a quick test to find your stance; if you already know, skip ahead.

The Push Test

The most common test to find your dominant foot is having a friend push you (gently) from behind. Whichever foot you use to catch yourself is likely to be your front foot while snowboarding.

Your dominant foot (back foot) should stay firmly planted. 

the push test
Don't do this!

The Ice Test

Another test is imagining sliding across a lake of ice (no need to put it into action); which way are you most comfortable? This determines the direction you’ll prefer when going down the mountain.

Hopefully the tests confirmed your front and back feet, and you know if you are goofy or regular. If not, you’ll soon find out when you start snowboarding!

2. Stance Angles

Now that we’ve determined your stance, we can place the bindings. However, we first need to set the stance angle and width.

The stance (or binding) angle is the direction your feet are positioned and strapped into the board.

how to set up your snowboard binding angles

Snowboard bindings allow you to set anything from +30 to -30 angles. Positive numbers should point toward the nose, while negatives to your tail, and zero is perpendicular to your toe edge. 

Every pair of bindings has a baseplate that allows you to set the angle. Once you’ve decided on your desired angles, line up the baseplate with the corresponding number on the binding’s footbed.

Let’s discuss some of the more common stance angles. 

Beginner (+15/0)

If you don’t have a preference, I recommend starting with a +15/0 stance. This will have your front foot pointing at a slight forward angle and your back foot perpendicular to your toe-side (front) edge.

best beginner binding angles, +15/+0

While this is the starting template for most riders, many never find a better binding setup.

You’ll even see many pro riders with the classic stance because it’s comfortable and easy to ride switch.

If you’re intrigued (or bored), I wrote a separate article on the perfect binding angles for beginners

Duck (+/-)

The duck stance, a favorite among freestyle riders, is where you angle both feet outwards; the front towards the nose, the back towards the tail. 

Usually, the front foot will be turned at +12 to +20 and the back foot at -5 to -20. As a general rule, avoid going more than a 30-point difference between the two (e.g. +15/-15 maximum). Your knees will thank you!

Most riders find this stance to feel pretty natural riding regular and switch.

Freeride (+/+)

A freeride stance positions both feet downhill. You’ll even see racers with an extreme +30/+20 position, almost mimicking skis.

Backcountry free-riders like Jeremy Jones use a mellow version of this approach when big mountain riding.

Angling both feet forward is common for directional boards, usually with a +25 to +30 front foot and a slightly angled +5 to +10 back foot.

This approach helps you see downhill easier and initiate turns more naturally; however, if you are landing or riding in switch, the “crossed up” feeling of riding -/- angles will take some getting used to.

3. Setback Stance

As you can tell by the various setups above, your binding positioning depends on the terrain. Another way to optimize your board is with a setback stance. 

Typically, snowboarders choose this approach when riding powder; however, some like the feeling on their everyday board as well.

snowboard setback stance guide diagram

A setback stance is where you move your bindings back 2-5cm. This shifts your weight toward your tail, allowing you to glide through powder effortlessly.

If you are a beginner, or riding all-mountain, I recommend starting with a centered binding setup (equal space between your nose and tail). The board will have a “reference stance” noted on the top-sheet, which is a good place to start. 

If you widen your stance, move both bindings equally to stay centered. 

4. Finding Your Stance Width

You’re almost there!

The next step is finding your stance width. This is the distance between the center of each binding baseplate.

Your stance width is fundamental to your balance and comfort on the board. Determining your ideal stance width depends on your preferred terrain and riding style. 

While you are still learning, we recommend a shoulder width or slightly past to establish stability. As you grow as a rider, you can experiment with different stances to fit your style.  

Most riders find their ideal stance between 40 and 65 centimeters depending on height, weight, and terrain

Narrow vs Wide Stances

A broad base offers more balance. As a result, freestyle riders looking for extra stability when stomping landings opt for a wide stance. 

Freeriders sometimes choose a narrower stance. The idea is that closing off the hips allows one to pivot and shift weight for seamless edge-to-edge transitions.

How to Set Up Your Snowboarding Stance

After considering your stance angles and width, you are ready to assemble your setup!

All you need now is the gear and a trusty screwdriver.

Find The Width

Now measure the width. If you have an appropriate board size for your height, you’ll likely be safe choosing the middle drill holes. For reference, a 185 cm rider will likely choose a stance width between 56 and 61 cm.

However, don’t be afraid to bust out the tape measure to ensure you have the perfect stance width. Simply measure from the center of one binding, to the center of the other.

I find it much easier to measure the mounting holes rather than the binding (more accurate too). 

Remember to measure the central holes, as these represent the center of the binding. Here’s a few pictures to explain. 

measuring snowboard stance widths for bindings
how to measure snowboard stance width
A 21" reference stance

If you want a wider or narrower stance, remember to move both bindings in or out by the same amount (otherwise you’re accidentally adding setback). 

Adjust your Angles

Choose the angle that fits your snowboarding style. Again, start with a (+15/0) angle if you are a beginner. Adjust the baseplates to correspond with your preferred stance. You’ll notice the baseplates have small teeth that fit into your footbed.

Most bindings have a little arrow to mark the angle, allowing you to adjust by 3-degrees at a time. However, Burton EST bindings have a visible number and allow almost infinite adjustments.  

snowboard binding angle disc

For most bindings, you’ll need to remove the footbed to get to the binding disc. Some will simply pop off, others will need unscrewing. Remember to put it back on before riding!

how to remove snowboard binding footbeds

Secure Your Bindings

First, make sure you’ve differentiated your right and left bindings. The ratchets will be on the outside.

Then make sure your bindings are compatible with your snowboard’s mounting pattern. These are fairly straightforward, per the diagram below. 

Now it’s time to attach the bindings to the board. Follow the steps below.

  • Double-check your angles
  • Place the bindings above the drill holes that reflect your stance
  • Use all the hardware provided by the manufacturer (screws, washers, etc.)
  • Hand screw the bolts until they are secure (don’t use a drill!)
  • Be gentle. Avoid stripping out your bolts at all costs!

Fine-Tuning Your Setup

Dial in Your Highbacks

The highback of your binding affects heel-side turns. Increasing the forward lean can make heel-side turns more aggressive, but it might be less comfortable.

Some highbacks can also be rotated slightly to line up with the heel-side edge. This isn’t essential but can (in theory) optimize power transfer.

Adjust the highback setting to find a balance between performance and comfort.

Adjust Your Footbeds

Most bindings come with some degree of adjustability in the footbeds. Aim for as much of your boot to be supported as possible, without risking toe-drag (catching the binding or boot during turns). 

Adjust Your Binding Straps

There are dozens of different snowboard binding parts these days. Arguably the most essential, are your ankle and toe straps. 

Ideally, you should center them over your boot – avoiding the ladders being extremely short or extremely long. 

Test and Tweak!

After you’ve set up your stance, it’s essential to test it out.

Lace your boots up, strap in, and see how you feel. Squat down, try a manual, and bust a flat ground ollie to get the feel of your setup.

Make sure your knees and ankles don’t complain.

Then hit a few runs, paying attention to how the board responds, and making any necessary tweaks. Don’t be afraid to make adjustments until you find your sweet spot.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to set up your snowboard stance, it’s time to hit the slopes!

Don’t obsess too much initially. You’ll find your perfect stance width and angles over time. As long as you’ve set up your gear safely, you’ll be fine. 

At some stage, I’d also recommend learning about the best snowboard shapes and most common snowboard profiles. But perhaps you’ve had enough of me for one day.

Get out there and enjoy your new setup!

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