Should You Set Your Bindings Back In Powder?

by Fraser

For some people riding powder is effortless – and it shows. For others, the experience can be a mix of fun and frustration. One of the main difficulties riders face when riding in deeper snow, is keeping the nose of the board above the surface; stopping the board from digging in.

Have you been in this position before? Do you set your bindgins back to help out? Should you?…


What effect does moving your bindings back have?

The simple explanation is: it helps the nose of your board to float because the tail has more weight on it…

  • Moving your bindings back will shift your centre of gravity towards the tail of the board. Without changing your stance, leaning back or anything else, your weight will be pressing down, closer to the rear of your board.
  • More weight at the back of the board makes the tail sink more. If the tail is going down by itself, the nose is coming up. If it’s floating above the snow, you’re riding powder!

By moving your bindings back, you’re helping to achieve the float without having actively move your centre of gravity back, by changing your stance and inevitably putting more weight through your back leg. That can be a big plus for avoiding the dreaded “leg burn”.

Be aware – this isn’t a free ticket to fatigue-free powder riding. Even with a setback stance, your body position needs to be different to what it is when riding groomers. But it does make a substantial, positive change.

Take a look at a lot freeride boards – they are built with a default stance that is “set back”. It’s more suited to riding powder.

Reasons to do it…

Fairly simple really. Assuming you’ve been having difficulties with a twin, or close to twin stance, moving your bindings back will improve your ability to ride powder. If you’re finding it easier to ride powder, you’re going to get more out of it – which most likely means more fun!

A related issue is how this might change your view on having more than one board. If you’ve got a board that you like to ride everywhere, but it doesn’t quite deliver in deep snow, you might be thinking about getting a second board?

If you can get the float you need by moving your bindings back on powder days that will help you to stick with a single board.

Reasons not to do it…

First up, you might not need to. Good stuff. It’s also worth considering that if the snow isn’t quite so deep, you’ll need less help from a setback binding stance. E.g. on a deep powder day you move your bindings back, but in 20-30cm you get by just fine.

It’s a bit of a faff. Let’s say it dumped over night; you wake up to find a shed load of fresh snow and you’re rushing out for first lift. It’s another thing to mess around with getting set up. You’ll get on fine how they are…

You might want to ride switch. This is the crux of the debate, really. If you’re contemplating moving your bindings back for powder days, chances are you normally ride a twin stance, or close to twin.

Putting switch to one side, there aren’t any good reasons to not move your bindings back if you’re presented with fresh snow – assuming you can’t already rip it up in any conditions. Simply put, a setback stance will make it easier…

But what if you do have switch principals? Or switch ideals. Maybe you want to be able to land some tricks switch in powder, maybe take off switch – or actually just be able to ride evenly in both directions? Moving away from a twin stance is just going to make riding switch all that harder.

Have your say

What do you think? Is it foolish to not use the option available on all snowboards to move your bindings back, and therefore ride the powder more easily? Is it a good idea, but something you don’t bother to do? Or should you take your twin stance to the deep stuff and just deal with it – lay the foundation for off-piste freestyle? Have your say.

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