The Complete Guide to Figuring Out Your Snowboard Stance

young couple on winter holiday
Henrik Sorensen / Getty Images

Just like snowboarders, snowboard stances come in all shapes and sizes. A rider's stance on the board is a combination of footedness, stance width, centering, offset and binding angles. It's also affected by the rider's size, ability and the type of riding they do most often, with a bit of personal preference mixed in.

Since every rider's stance is different, there's no simple answer to the question, "How should I set up my snowboard stance?" But if you follow these basic guidelines you'll be much closer to dialing in your ideal stance.

Footedness

The first thing you'll want to decide is which foot you prefer to have in front - left foot (called "regular"), or right foot (called "goofy"). To figure out which foot you should have in front, imagine you're sliding across a patch of ice in a parking lot, or across a freshly waxed floor in your socks. Which foot would be in front? Since these actions are similar to sliding sideways on a board, odds are this will be your front foot on a snowboard.

Stance Width

Stance width is the distance between the centers of your front and back bindings. It is almost entirely a function of your height, although different types of riding may lend themselves to some tweaking one way or another (We'll get to the tweaking part in a little bit). Consult this chart on snowboard stance width to properly determine how wide your stance should be.

Angles

Stance angle is the angle at which each binding is mounted relative to the snowboard.

It is expressed in degrees, either positive or negative. Bindings mounted perpendicular to the side edges of the board are at 0°/0° (0° in front, 0° in back). A positive angle means the binding is turned toward the nose of the snowboard. A negative angle is pointed toward the tail. Let's look at some common setups for angles:

  • Forward Stance: A forward stance is ideal for carving, beginners, and all-mountain riding. Common angles are +20°/+6°.  
  • Duck Stance: A duck stance is ideal for freestyle riding. Common angles are +15°/-15° (known as mirrored), or +18°/-6°.

Stance Offset

Stance offset is the distance between the center of the bindings and the center of the board. The effective center is determined by measuring from the widest point of the board's nose to the widest point of the board's tail.

After finding the effective center, decide if you want to be centered (in the middle) or setback (toward the tail). A centered setup will offer all-around good control of the board, with easy turn initiation. It's an ideal setup for beginners. An offset setup makes the board ride with a stiffer tail, allowing more aggressive turns, higher ollies, and better float in powder.

Stance Centering

Centering your stance means your feet are centered across the width of the board. This is most often done by shifting the binding disks. To center your stance, attach your bindings to the board, but don't tighten the screws all the way. Without putting them on your feet, strap your boots into the bindings, then slide them back and forth across the board until they are an equal distance from both the heelside and toeside edges.

Tighten the binding screws to secure them. 

Go Ride, Then Tweak

The best part about setting up a snowboard is that changes can be made very easily, requiring only a screwdriver. Once you've set up your board, go out and ride for a few hours. After a half-day or so of riding (to get used to the feel of the board and the setup), you can start tweaking angles, stance width, etc. to your heart's content!

Tips for Finding Your Snowboard Stance

  • Although stance width can be determined by consulting a chart, often the most comfortable width is equal to the width of the rider's shoulders.
  • Going Narrower or Wider: Narrow stance widths are especially suited for Alpine Snowboarding or riders that spend most of their time carving on firm surfaces. Wider stance widths are well suited to freestyle riding, as they provide a more stable platform for landing big airs.
  • When tweaking your stance, remember to make changes incrementally, and change only one thing (width, angles, etc.) at a time. Otherwise, you won't be able to figure out which tweak worked and which one didn't.
  • Once you've dialed in your stance, apply a small amount of thread locking compound (such as Loctite®) to the threads of your binding screws. This will prevent them from vibrating loose as the day wears on.
  • NOTE: Always make sure your bindings are securely mounted to your board before riding, even after applying a thread-locking compound!