The position of one’s feet relative to the edges of a snowboard is one of the most critical aspects to snowboarding enjoyment and safety. But given the fact that foot position – also known as stance – varies from one rider to the next, bindings are usually adjustable.
Inspecting and maintaining bindings is something we normally do during a snowboard tune. If you own your board, you are probably familiar with binding maintenance and adjustment. But if you rent your snowboard, you depend on the rental shop to handle that for you. Your biggest task is to figure out your optimal stance based on your preferences, snow condition, and whether you are riding a mountain or a park.
Speed, Balance, and Control
Snowboard stance has an enormous influence on the speed you achieve. More importantly, it determines how much balance and control you have. Riders with less experience generally prefer greater balance and more control while experienced riders might be willing to sacrifice a little bit of either to gain speed or facilitate switch-riding.
At any rate, there are four factors that go into determining your stance:
- Footedness – the foot you choose to lead with.
- Width – the amount of space between the bindings.
- Angle – the angle of each of your feet in relation to the sides of the board.
- Setback – the position of your feet relative to the board’s center.
It is important to understand that stance is a very personal thing. There are no rules dictating a specific angle or width. There is no right or wrong foot in terms of which one leads. And finally, most snowboarders need to put some time under their boards to figure out the perfect stance.
Determining the Lead Foot
Most people favor one foot the same way they favor one hand. The foot you favor is generally the foot you want closer to the tail for proper control and power. The foot you don’t favor becomes the lead foot. It is mainly responsible for balance as you ride the board. How do you determine the foot that should lead?
There are a couple of easy tests you can do at home. The first is to approach a set of stairs, then pay attention to which foot makes contact with the stairs first. This is almost always your dominant foot. It should be closer to the tale of the board. If you don’t have stairs in your home, you can do the slide test.
Put on a pair of socks, get up a head of steam, and slide across the floor. The foot that is out in front during your slide is the foot that’s keeping you balanced. It is the same foot that should lead on a snowboard.
Setting Up Your Stance
Without getting into too much detail, rental shops like Canyon Sports typically recommend a positive/neutral stance for new riders. This stance points the lead foot slightly forward while maintaining the back foot perpendicular to the edge of the board.
If you were to utilize this stance as a beginner, a few times down the hill would tell you how comfortable you are with it. You could then make adjustments based on whether you wanted more control or wanted to lift the front of the board for more speed.
There is a lot more we could discuss in terms of snowboarding and foot position. Needless to say that how you position your feet affects nearly everything about the snowboarding experience. Do not be afraid to ask for advice on your stance when you visit Canyon Sports for snowboard rental.