snowboard setback stance

Snowboard Setback Stance [A Simple Guide 2024]

by Fraser

Ready to master the art of the snowboard setback stance?

Then you’ve come to the right place!

From deep powder to deep carving, our guide breaks down the when, why, and how. Let’s dive right in. 

The Short Answer

In snowboarding, a setback stance involves shifting both bindings closer to the tail. This enhances floatation in powder, improves stability at high speeds, and facilitates smoother turns. It's an excellent tweak for riders looking to optimize their carving and powder performance.

What is a Setback Stance?

If you’ve already had the pleasure of slashing through deep snow, you understand that it requires an adjustment.

The deeper the snow, the more you need to lean back!

Otherwise, your nose or front edge will become buried, sending you hurling forwards. 

snowboarding with a setback stance

But what if we told you it’s possible to move your gravity towards the tail? You could minimize that quad burn and truly enjoy an unparalleled powder experience.

Introducing… the setback stance!

snowboard setback stance guide diagram

By simply moving your bindings back 2-5 centimeters, you will optimize your weight distribution, saving your legs, limiting time spent unburying yourself, and increasing your overall pow day experience.

How to Setback Your Snowboard Stance

Trying a setback stance for the first time can take some getting used to.

So, I suggest starting by only moving one insert (or two centimeters) down your board. After getting used to the feel, gradually close the distance to your tail until you find the sweet spot.

how to setback a snowboard

Remember to move both bindings, otherwise you’re widening your stance and not adding a true setback!

If you’re concerned about riding or landing switch, you likely won’t want to go the full 5 cm back from center.

A slight adjustment won’t make a dramatic change, and you’ll still be able to effectively ride in powder switch, although you will be exuding more energy keeping your weight back.

Snowboard Setback vs Centered Stance

Traditionally, we position our bindings in the exact center of our board, just beyond shoulder width.

A centered stance works great, especially if you are a freestyle snowboarder or spend a significant part of your day riding switch.

However, centering your gravity over the middle of your board isn’t ideal for riding forward or making fresh tracks off-piste.  

snowboard setback vs centered stance

As you can see, setting back your bindings makes your nose longer and your tail shorter – much like a directional board. But is this right for you?

Let’s discuss setback vs centered snowboard stances. 

1. Setback Snowboard Stance

What is it? A setback stance involves positioning the bindings so that they’re closer to the tail of the board than the nose. This means the rider’s weight is more toward the back.


  1. Powder Days: Setback is ideal for deep snow. It helps lift the nose of the board, preventing it from sinking and making it easier to cruise over the powder.
  2. Stability: If you’re hitting high speeds, especially during carving, a setback stance can offer more control and stability.
  3. Initiating Turns: The shift in weight can make turns feel smoother and more intuitive, particularly in heavier snow.


  1. Switch Riding: Riding “switch” (in the opposite direction of your natural stance) can be trickier with a setback stance due to the asymmetry.
  2. Park Limitations: If you’re hitting jumps, rails, or other park features, a centered stance is typically preferable*.

*Landing switch on a halfpipe with your weight over the front of your board is a recipe for disaster!

Plus, spinning, nose presses, and board slides are way more difficult when you aren’t centered perfectly over your board.

2. Centered Snowboard Stance

What is it? Here, the bindings are equidistant from the nose and tail of the board, placing the rider’s weight right in the middle.


  1. Versatility: A centered stance is super versatile and works well for all-mountain riding.
  2. Switch Riding: The board’s symmetry is maintained, so riding switch feels more natural and balanced.
  3. Park Performance: Those who hit up the terrain park often prefer a centered stance. It offers a consistent feel whether you’re taking off, landing, or riding rails.


  1. Powder Riding: Without the weight shifted towards the tail, the board’s nose may dive in deep snow, making powder runs less efficient.
  2. Speed Stability: While still stable, some riders feel a setback offers that extra bit of control during high-speed descents.

Setback on a Directional Board

The practicality of moving your stance toward the tail has encouraged manufacturers to design boards with preset setback screw inserts.

Many directional boards, appropriately, are intended for asymmetrical weight distribution. As you likely won’t ride switch much, it makes sense to lean into a more natural binding position.

If you have a directional board, the center position may already be “setback.” If you can, move the bindings back 2-5 cm, depending on your preference and the snow conditions.

Consider Your Reference Stance

The reference stance on a snowboard is the manufacturer’s suggested binding placement, marked with indicators on the board.

Derived from thorough testing, it ensures balanced performance for the average rider.

On directional and powder boards, you’ll find that the reference stance is already setback… sometimes a long way!


The Jones Storm Chaser (pictured) for example is already setback 22mm… with an extremely short tail!

You may not need to add further setback – check your snowboard specs first.

“Setting Back” All-Mountain or Twin Snowboards

Traditional twin snowboards are designed with symmetrical hole inserts. You’ll be perfectly centered if you put your bindings in the middle position.

The same applies to most all-mountain boards. This is because riders who tackle diverse terrain don’t want to limit their ability to ride switch.

If you want to experience a setback stance, you can simply move your bindings back on your twin board. However…

A Word Of Warning on Setback

Setting back a twin snowboard is a point of contention among snowboarders. Twin snowboards are designed symmetrically, meaning their nose and tail are of the same shape and length, and they perform the same riding in either direction.

Their sidecut, flex patterns and profiles were designed specifically for a centered stance.

setback on a twin snowboard

By moving your bindings away from center, you’re not riding the board as it was designed by the manufacturer. 

This means it might ride a little funky!

By all means experiment, but for true powder perfection, you’ll need a directional board (or better yet, a swallowtail). 

Why You Should Setback Your Stance on Pow Days!

If you’ve never made a binding adjustment, a powder day is the perfect day to start.

Simply moving close to the tail, your nose will float over powder effortlessly, saving your legs.

While the adjustment can be made on any board and only takes a few minutes, you will be shocked at how much less energy you spend distributing your weight maneuvering through deep snow.

Does Setback Help With Carving?

Using a setback snowboard stance can enhance carving performance. By shifting the rider’s weight toward the tail, setback facilitates smoother turn initiation, more responsive tail action, and increased stability, especially at high speeds.

However, the optimal stance varies by individual preference, board design, and snow conditions, so you should experiment to find the best fit.

Experimenting with Different Stances

The concept of the setback stance is pretty straightforward.

If you want to optimize your binding position for powder, just move back on your board. The further back you go, the less resistance you’ll experience.

Trying new stances is a great way to tweak your setup to maximize your ability.

So, the next powder day, take the time to adjust your bindings. Your back leg will thank you!

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