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Is My Snowboard Stance Too Wide?

Is My Snowboard Stance Too Wide?

Riding a snowboard starts before you hit the slopes; it starts at setting up your gear correctly. It’s not uncommon to find a rider has suboptimal stance (the distance between the bindings), board choice (length/width), or boot angulation / toe overhang given her size. 

A few indicators that might suggest that your stance is too wide include having trouble turning the board, as well as feeling excess pain in the ankles and knees. Too narrow of a stance and you may be falling over excessively with even less control of the snowboard.

How does one know how to set their bindings for their first ride? Is there actually a benefit to understanding how height can affect the stance on my board?

See also:
Is snowboarding easier on your knees than skiing?
How Long Does it Take to Learn Snowboarding?

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How wide should my snowboard stance be?

wide snowboard stance

Whether you ride with a wide or narrow stance will vary from person to person due to height, weight, level, and overall power exertion. Feeling comfortable and balanced over the board is essential.

A good rule of thumb when choosing your gear and setting it up is to follow a reference guide. The table below shows the relationship between the rider’s height and how far apart to set the bindings:

Rider’s Height in ftRider’s Stance in Inches / cm
> 6’ (184cm & up)22 – 24” (56 – 58.5cm)
5’8” to 6’ (173cm – 183cm) 20 – 22” (50.5 – 56cm)
5’5” – 5’7” (164 – 172cm)19 – 20” (48 – 50.5cm)
5’2” to 5’4” (156cm – 163cm)18 – 19” (45.5 – 48cm)
< 5’1” (155cm)17 – 18” (43 – 45.5cm)

While you should take into consideration the above references, make sure you test your stance out on the slopes for personal accuracy.

If you’re in a hurry and need a quick and dirty setup, you can also just stand on the board and place your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. 

See also: Can You Snowboard With Regular Boots?

What is the reference stance on a snowboard? 

snowboard reference stance

Looking at your snowboard, you’ll see markings in the middle that recommend where to mount your bindings. Mounting your bindings at this point will set you up in a centered stance, giving you an easy starting point. This is called a reference stance.

Reference stance on a snowboard depends on a rider’s personal preference of where they like to spend their time on the mountain, and what kind of board they ride. Let’s briefly look at different snowboard types and their reference stance:

All Mountain snowboards stance

The easiest and most common style of riding is All Mountain. Most beginners start with an All Mountain snowboard to help them find the niche riding style that suits them best. 

All Mountain boards come in an array of shapes and sizes. These boards can take laps in the park, pop in and out of the trees, surf the powder, and cruise the corduroy.

Traditionally, the reference stance for All Mountain boards will be centered. 

Examples of one stop shop All Mountain boards – Women:

Examples of one stop shop All Mountain boards – Men:

Powder snowboards stance

Surfing the powder calls for a wider, robust board and a set back stance to keep your nose afloat. 

A set back stance is when you mount the bindings closer to the rear, or tail, of the board. To properly obtain this stance, mount the bindings behind the reference point.

New riders may find the set back stance to feel awkward and hard to maneuver, whereas intermediate and advanced riders will appreciate their center of gravity pressing the tail down to keep the nose up.

Examples of deep day Powder boards Women:

Examples of deep day Powder boards Men:

Freestyle / Park snowboard stance

Jibbing, riding the rails, and flowing through the halfpipe are favorites of Freestyle/Park riders. If you cover this area of the mountain, you will usually ride shorter, flexible boards in order to pop off the ground and spin quickly. 

Freestyle/Park riders often use a Duck stance, where the big toes are pointing away from each other. 

The angle is set up the same for the front and rear foot, allowing you to land in a Regular or Goofy stance when coming out of a spin or jump.

The duck stance will give you more stability – just remember not to turn the toes out too extreme.

Examples of playful Freestyle/Park boards – Women: 

Examples of playful Freestyle/Park boards – Men: 

Thus, using the reference stance as a starting point and adjusting based on your style and terrain can help you achieve a good quality ride.

Can a snowboard be too long for your stance? 

A snowboard can be too long for your stance. You’ll know if you feel restricted in your movement or have trouble staying balanced. 

If you’re a larger rider, you may want to consider a longer and wider board to feel balanced and in control. Conversely, a shorter, narrower board is typically a better choice for a smaller rider.

If a large rider gets too small of a board, unnecessary wipeouts and over-flexing can occur with the potential of toe/heel overhang. 

If a smaller rider gets too large of a board, they won’t be able to steer or flex the board as well. For example, a 5’2”, 130lb rider may find a 152cm board to be stiff and tough to maneuver.

Below is a chart relating rider height and weight to board height and width:

Rider Height in ftRider Weight in lbsSnowboard Height in cm / Width in inches
6’4”190 – 205160+ / 23 – 25”
6’2”180 – 195160+ / 22 – 24”
6’170 – 185160+ / 21-23”
5’10”160 – 175159 – 167 / 21 – 23”
5’8”150 – 165154 – 162 / 20 – 22”
5’6”140 – 155149 – 157 / 20 – 22”
5’4”135 – 145144 – 152 / 19 – 21”
5’2”125 – 135139 – 147 / 19 – 21”
< 5’1”115 – 130133 – 141 / 17-19”

Keep in mind that a shorter stance on a shorter board and a longer stance on a longer board will generally lead to better performance. 

See also: Can big guys snowboard?

Is my snowboard wide enough?

The width of the board’s waist can result in toe drag or lack of edge control if not properly taken into account with boot size.

A waist too narrow may cause the toes to hang over the edge of the board, interrupting the turn, potentially leading to a face plant. 

Too wide of a waist and the transition from toe edge to heel edge can lead to inadequate control.

A small toe overhang is OK, you can decrease excessive toe overhang by adjusting the boot angle. 

Is duck stance bad for knees?

Duck stance can be the right way to angle the bindings for  some riders, but not all. Most riders will benefit from a positive angled front foot, while the back foot depends on personal preference. 

Bindings have three main ways of being set: 

  • positive/positive (+/+)
  • positive/zero (+/0)
  • positive/negative (+/-)

Positive/positive stance

A posi-posi angle will turn both bindings toward the nose of the board. Typically the back binding is turned between 3-6 degrees.

With a turned in back binding, riding switch (having the non-dominant foot forward) will be a minor challenge. However, the upside will be more aggressive turning.

Positive/zero stance

A posi-zero stance is achieved by moving the front binding into a positive degree, while the back binding is set perpendicular, or zero. 

This stance is an ideal place to begin experimenting when it comes to finding your preferred stance. It will allow you to ride switch without added stress on the back leg.

Positive/negative stance

A posi-negative stance, otherwise known as duck stance, caters to the freestyle and park riders. 

Routinely, riders set the back binding to -3 – -6 degrees. This increases balance along the board for landing large drops and going in and out of switch quickly.

Make minor tweaks when first trying new stances to reduce the risk of injury. 

What is a goofy snowboard stance?

A goofy stance is when your right foot is your front foot. Conversely, a regular stance is when your left foot is your front foot. 

Your dominant foot is your rear foot, which gives you the most power to steer and direct the board. Balance and stability will be guided by the less dominant lead foot.

How do you figure out your stance? One way is to kick a ball and notice which foot you kicked with. This would be your dominant foot, or the back foot on your snowboard.

If you kick the ball with the right foot, you’re likely a regular rider, your left foot would be the front foot and the right would be the back foot.

An alternative way to determine your footedness (whether you’re a regular or goofy footer) is to do the following:

  • Stand still with you feet together
  • Ask someone behind you to give you a slide shove to force you into stepping forward in order to catch yourself
  • Observe which foot you naturally used to step forward – this is your natural stance

If your right foot is forward, you’re goofy, otherwise you’re regular.

A final quick way to assess if you ride goofy or regular is to use the “dominant hand foot being the rear foot” theory: If you’re right handed, you’re more likely to be a regular rider, whereas if you’re left handed, you’re more likely to be a goofy rider. 

See also: Can You Change A Snowboard From Regular To Goofy?

Do you lean forward snowboarding?

When snowboarding, you shouldn’t lean forward, meaning sticking your chest forward. 

Turning on a snowboard is about keeping the chest upright while positioning the lower body to transition from heel edge to toe edge.

Distribute weight evenly by bending the knees to push the shins forward, reach the hips forward, and maintain an upright back.

While making a heel side turn, lower into a squat while keeping the chest up and back straight. 

In a toe side turn, keep the chest up and press the shins into the boots while pushing the hips forward.

See also: Can I teach myself snowboarding?

Summary

Finding a snowboard stance that works best is an experiment of trial and error. Use the reference points on the board with your own weight, height, and riding preference for peak performance. 

2manually

Wednesday 12th of January 2022

3scotland