As a beginner snowboarder, it’s important to understand that the bindings on your board are just as crucial as your boots and board itself. Proper binding setup can greatly enhance your riding experience by providing greater control and comfort while cruising down the mountain.
Whether you’re renting gear or have invested in your own equipment, learning how to set up and adjust your snowboard bindings is an essential skill for any rider to master. Fortunately, getting started is easier than you might think!
In this article, we’ll give you some top tips for setting up your snowboard bindings, so you can hit the slopes with confidence. From making sure the correct stance width and angles to adjusting binding straps properly, we’ll cover everything you need to know to get started.
“Your snowboard bindings are your direct link between your body and your board – make sure they’re adjusted correctly to maximize performance.”
So no matter if you’ve never strapped into a snowboard before or simply want to improve your setup, read on for our advice and elevate your riding game today!
Choose the Right Bindings for You
Snowboarding is a sport that demands precise control and balance. Choosing the right set of bindings is just as important as choosing the perfect board and boots. The right pair of bindings will not only give you superior performance, it’ll ensure your safety on the snow.
Consider Your Riding Style
The type of riding you indulge in plays a crucial role while selecting bindings. Are you an all-mountain rider or park/beginner rider? If you’re into freeriding and steep descents, choose stiffer bindings with more support. Whereas soft flex bindings are ideal for those who enjoy jibbing and rail sliding in the park. This style of binding allows greater flexibility for tweaking tricks, ensuring safe landings from jumps and reduced fatigue during long sessions.
Think About Your Ability Level
If you’re a beginner, look for bindings that provide maximum comfort and easy usability through single entry systems and quick release mechanisms. Intermediate riders should opt for mid-range to high-end bindings that offer a good combination of responsiveness, flexibility, and durability, considering their enhanced skills and experience levels. For advanced level riders, select bindings that come with higher flex ratings and responsive materials like carbon fiber, which will allow optimal performance at faster speeds and on rough terrain.
Look at the Different Types of Bindings
“Snowboard companies have made it easier than ever before to differentiate types of bindings: aluminium baseplates, urethane-coated Highbacks, CNC Ankle Straps…building off each other’s innovations. -Dan Brisse”
There are three main types of bindings available:
- Strap-In Bindings: These bindings require traditional ratchet straps, making it easier for you to adjust the fit and support according to your foot’s shape. Strap-in bindings work with most of the snowboard boots currently available in the market, providing standard comfort levels suitable for all skill levels.
- Rear-Entry Bindings: This style has a single highback that flips down to insert your boot into the binding, ensuring quick entry and exit, without having to sit on the ice or snow to strap up. Rear-entry bindings are ideal if you dislike fiddling with straps or velcro regularly and prefer simplicity over adjustment options.
- Step-In Bindings: These bindings have specialized plugs which attach to compatible step-in boots for swift and hassle-free getaways onto the slopes. However, the limitation lies in restrictive compatibility since only certain manufacturers make these types of boots and bindings, leaving riders with limited volume choices.
Pay Attention to the Fit and Compatibility
Most brands offer adjustable settings within their bindings; however, it’s essential to check if they’re compatible with your current boards and boots. A mismatched setup could result in an inability to flex, edging discomfort, or instability. It’s also necessary to choose bindings based on what suits your riding style, experience level, and body weight. Determine the size chart from the manufacturer before purchasing new bindings and pay attention to the recommended application range. Ill-fitted bindings will ruin the entire snowboarding experience and can lead to injury risks, hence taking the time to select the perfect set is crucial.
The choice of binding is personal, depending on preferences, ability, and other factors mentioned above. What might be suitable for your friend may not necessarily go well with you! Therefore take into consideration all the outlined factors, try different styles out if possible at local board shops, and enjoy this fantastic sport with the comfort and safety that well-chosen bindings provide!
Setting Up Your Bindings Correctly
Find the Right Stance Width and Angles
The first step in setting up your snowboard bindings is to find the right stance width and angles. The stance width refers to the distance between your bindings, while the stance angle refers to the direction each foot is pointing.
To determine your stance width, stand with your shoulders over your hips and measure the distance between your feet. This distance should be roughly the same as the width of your shoulders, but it can vary depending on your personal preference and riding style.
Your stance angle will also depend on your personal preference and riding style. Most people ride with their front foot angled slightly forward (around 15 degrees), while their back foot is angled slightly towards the tail (around 0-6 degrees). Experiment with different angles until you find what feels comfortable for you.
Adjust the Highbacks and Straps
Once you have your stance width and angles set, it’s time to adjust the highbacks and straps on your bindings. The highback is the plastic piece that supports the back of your calf, while the straps are what hold your boots in place.
Make sure the highbacks are aligned properly with your boots. You want them to provide enough support without being too restrictive. Adjust the forward lean of the highbacks if necessary – some riders prefer a more upright position, while others like to lean their weight forward.
Next, adjust the straps so they snugly secure your boots. Make sure there aren’t any gaps or looseness around the ankle or toes. If your boots slip out of the straps, tighten them further until they’re securely fastened.
Tighten the Screws and Check for Stability
The final step in setting up your bindings is to tighten the screws and check for stability. Use a screwdriver or wrench to secure all bolts and make sure they’re tightened evenly.
Once everything is secured, put on your boots and strap into your bindings. Apply some pressure to make sure the board feels stable and responsive. If you feel any wobbling or instability, double-check that all screws are tight and that your boots are properly strapped in.
“Properly set-up bindings ensure maximum support which helps prevent accidents while snowboarding.” -Snowboard Addiction
- Make sure your bindings match your riding style (i.e. freestyle vs. freeriding)
- If you’re unsure of how to set up your bindings, seek advice from an experienced rider or professional
Adjusting Your Bindings for Comfort and Control
Snowboarding requires technique and control, which means that the comfort of your equipment plays a significant role in your performance. Properly adjusting your bindings can help you achieve maximum comfort while achieving optimal control over your board.
Experiment with Different Strap Tightness
The straps on your snowboard bindings keep your boots securely attached to your board, but they don’t have to be tightened to the extreme to provide adequate support and control. Experiment with different strap tightness levels until you find a level of snugness that feels secure yet comfortable. Too loose, and you may lose stability; too tight, and you may feel uncomfortable and restrict movement. Adjusting the top strap and ankle strap separately allows customization according to personal preference.
“When strapping your boots into your bindings, make sure to pay attention to how tight the boot is cinched down to your toes as well as around your shin.” -The House Outdoor Gear
Try Different Highback Adjustments
The highbacks are at the back of your bindings and attach directly to your heel edge. These offer lateral support and can be adjusted to improve both flexibility and responsiveness. Beginners often prefer a more flexible highback because it provides forgiveness when making mistakes. However, experienced riders might find that more rigid power backs help them to gain greater control. Try out different highback positions and angles to discover what works best for your riding style and the conditions underfoot.
“Highbacks that adjust angle or even slide vertically can alter stiffness and response rates.” -Tactics.com
Find the Right Amount of Forward Lean
Most binding highbacks also come with forward lean adjustments, meaning that they tilt further forward from your board’s surface. For beginners, consider starting without any forward lean to allow greater forgiveness when making mistakes and easier control of your turns. However, experienced riders often prefer a more aggressive forward lean that allows for significantly quicker carving and edging in difficult snow conditions.
“Adjusting the highbacks can also add forward lean which gives you extra edge response in heelside carves.” -Zumiez
Adjust for Different Snow Conditions
The different snow conditions will entirely change how your board feels under your feet. The vital factor is to understand the effect it has on how you should adjust your bindings. On hard-packed or icy snow, a tighter binding like higher strap pressure or bigger forward lean reduces sponginess in movements while giving you better feedback through your body and the board. A softer set-up could lead to less responsive riding and difficulty staying balanced. In contrast, soft and powdery snow requires a looser setup with less forward lean to give you maximum flexibility, so you don’t sink into the snow too deeply and lose performative control.
“I typically crank down my straps pretty tight. It helps dial everything in — from the fit of your boot in the binding to the way the board responds.” -Rob Kingwill, former professional snowboarder
Getting In and Out of Your Bindings
Practice on Flat Ground First
If you are new to snowboarding, getting in and out of your bindings can seem like a daunting task. The first step is to practice doing this on flat ground before attempting it on a slope. Find an area where there is no chance of sliding down a hill, such as the bottom of a gentle slope or even the base lodge.
To get into your bindings, stand next to your board with one foot already strapped in. Place your free foot over the binding that corresponds with that foot. Push forward gently and let the binding snap closed onto your boot. Repeat the process for the other foot.
- Remember to position your feet so that they face straight ahead, not angled outward or inward.
- Make sure that both straps are tight enough to secure your boots, but not so tight that they cut off circulation.
- A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to wiggle your toes slightly, but not lift your heel completely out of the boot.
Use Your Free Hand to Steady Yourself
When getting out of your bindings, things can get a little trickier. You have to make sure that your board doesn’t go shooting away from you while you struggle to get your feet free.
Begin by reaching down with your free hand (the one that’s not attached to the board) and grabbing the nose of the board. Use this to steady yourself as you unclip the front binding. Once you’ve done this, switch hands and use the same method to hold the tail of the board while you release the back binding.
“The key to getting in and out of your bindings smoothly is practice. Start out on flat ground, and take your time until you feel comfortable doing it.” – Megan Pischke, Professional Snowboarder
It’s important to keep a firm grip on the board while unclipping the bindings, as this will help prevent it from getting away from you. Also, be sure to twist your foot slightly as you loosen each binding; this can make it easier to get your boot free.
- Remember, always release your back foot first when stopping for any length of time or getting off the chairlift.
- If you’re having trouble getting your foot out of the binding, try lifting up on the highback (the part that supports the back of your calf).
Once both feet are free, use the same method of steadying the board with one hand while holding your boots in the other. This will allow you to walk comfortably through the snow without dragging your board behind you.
“One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is trying to step into their bindings while they’re still moving. Always come to a complete stop before attaching or removing your board.” – Travis Rice, Professional Snowboarder
In addition to making sure you’re stationary when putting on or taking off your board, it’s also important to make sure that the slope is clear of others before strapping in. It’s good etiquette and crucial to your safety.
With enough practice, getting in and out of your snowboard bindings will become second nature, allowing you to focus more on the joy of riding instead of struggling to secure your gear.
Properly Storing Your Bindings
If you want to enjoy snowboarding for many years, you need to properly take care of your gear. This includes storing your bindings correctly. Here are some tips on how to store your snowboard bindings:
Remove Snow and Debris After Riding
Before storing your snowboard bindings, make sure to remove any snow or debris that may have accumulated on them during your ride. These contaminants can cause rust or corrosion if left unchecked. Use a damp cloth to wipe down the bindings thoroughly.
“Snowboarding is an activity that exposes equipment to harsh weather conditions. Removing accumulated snow helps prevent rust.” -Clark Mitchen, gear reviewer
It’s also important to ensure that the bindings are dry before storage. A wet binding may develop mold or mildew if it sits in a dark and damp closet for too long.
Store Them in a Cool, Dry Place
The best place to store your snowboard bindings is in a cool and dry area. Keep them away from direct sunlight, as ultraviolet rays can damage plastic components over time. Ideally, you should store your snowboard bindings in a room with low humidity levels. High humidity can lead to rusting and other forms of corrosion, which will shorten the lifespan of your bindings.
“Moisture can build up inside bindings and attach itself to screws and steel parts, causing rust and corrosion.” -Terry Donovan, author of Snowboarding Skills: The Back-To-Basics Essentials For All Levels
If you live in an area with high humidity, consider investing in a dehumidifier. It can help keep your snowboard bindings (and other snowboarding gear) in excellent condition by removing excess moisture from the air.
Avoid Hanging Them by the Straps
One of the most common mistakes people make when storing their snowboard bindings is hanging them by the straps. This can cause undue stress on the binding’s plastic components, causing them to warp or break over time.
“Storing your bindings by hanging them puts unnecessary strain on the wrong parts.” -Jeff Borchardt, professional snowboarder and gear tester
Instead, store your snowboard bindings upright on a flat surface. You can place them on top of each other, but be sure to keep something soft (like a towel) between them to prevent scratches or damage.
Consider Using a Board Bag
If you have invested in high-quality snowboarding gear, it’s worth investing in a board bag for storage purposes. While it may seem like an unnecessary expense, a good board bag will protect your bindings from dust, moisture, and accidental bumps and scrapes.
“A board bag provides protection during transport and storage. It also helps preserve the life of your gear.” -Tommy Matthews, snowboarding instructor and former pro rider
When using a board bag, be sure to remove any excess air before sealing it up. Excess air can lead to condensation inside the bag, which can lead to mold and mildew growth over time.
- Remove Snow and Debris After Riding
- Store Them in a Cool, Dry Place
- Avoid Hanging Them by the Straps
- Consider Using a Board Bag
Proper care and handling of your snowboard bindings are essential if you want them to last for many years. Remove snow and debris after riding, store them in a cool and dry place, avoid hanging them by the straps, and consider using a board bag for additional protection. By following these simple tips, you can have confidence that your snowboard bindings will be ready for action every time you hit the slopes.
Maintaining Your Bindings for Optimal Performance
Check the Screws and Hardware Regularly
To ensure that your snowboard bindings perform at their best, make sure to check all screws and hardware regularly. This is especially important before each day on the mountain, as vibrations and wear can cause screws to loosen over time.
You will need a few basic tools to conduct an inspection of your binding screws: a screwdriver, socket set or allen wrenches depending on your bindings’ hardware type.
Start by loosening up each screw gently to see if it’s still snug in its location. Over-loosened screws should be adjusted but carefully, not too tight to damage the threads. If you encounter stripped thread’s challenge, consider going for stronger replacement bolts or the help of a professional service/personnel.
Be mindful that your boot needs the right amount of tension from each strap while snap fit toe cap needs full engagement once clipped-in. Make necessary adjustments to ensure optimal resistance and security underfoot.
Clean Them After Each Use
Your snowboard bindings are constantly exposed to dirt, mud, and moisture during use. Moreover, they are prone to inevitable harsh conditions such as salt sometimes applied on some ski resorts pavements to aid skiers getting across the slopes while wearing rented shoes beyond defined boundaries. These environmental factors can quickly corrode both metal binders onto the board, affecting relevant functions!
So, to minimize corrosion and maximize life-span clean them after every ride. It takes less than ten minutes to remove any debris off with a soft brush (medium bristled) which doesn’t harm special coating/finishing available in some high-end models, but if possible – keep the bindings dry and open out while stored away since dampness encourages rusting.
- Get clean water (hot/cold) handy and a gentle soap/detergent where accessible.
- Use the brush to remove any dirt, mud, or grime that could have gotten in between hardware points around the binding baseplate.
- Rinse off all cleaning agents with running water before pat drying softly with a towel/kitchen paper.
Note also to neaten up those straps, buckles, especially the highback which help you control your board better by dictating your posture correctly.
“Taking care of them will make sure they work when you are flying down at top speeds.” -Dan Healy, Burton Snowboards Binding Design Engineer.
Maintaining your snowboard bindings is one of the most vital steps towards ensuring their optimal performance on the slopes or anywhere else you take them! With just a few minutes of inspection and cleaning after each ride, you can prolong the life span, avoid accidents resulting from poor fitting during excursions as well as get best riding experience, increased comfortability, and absolute peace of mind knowing you’ve got your equipment prepped for action!
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the different types of snowboard bindings?
There are three main types of snowboard bindings: strap bindings, rear-entry bindings, and step-in bindings. Strap bindings are the most common and secure your boot to the board with two straps. Rear-entry bindings have a highback that flips down, allowing you to slide your boot in from behind. Step-in bindings have a mechanism that allows you to easily click your boot into place.
How do you adjust snowboard bindings for different riding styles?
To adjust snowboard bindings for different riding styles, you need to consider your stance width, highback angle, and binding angle. For freestyle riding, a narrower stance and higher angle on the highback and binding will provide more flexibility and mobility. For freeriding, a wider stance and lower angle on the highback and binding will provide more stability and control.
What is the proper stance width for snowboard bindings?
The proper stance width for snowboard bindings varies based on your height, weight, and riding style. A general rule of thumb is to measure the distance between your shoulder blades and set your stance width to that measurement. For freestyle riding, a narrower stance is recommended, while a wider stance is better for freeriding. It’s important to experiment with different widths to find what works best for you.
How do you mount snowboard bindings onto the board?
To mount snowboard bindings onto the board, you’ll need a screwdriver, mounting hardware, and a snowboard binding tool. First, locate the inserts on your board where the bindings will attach. Then, line up the bindings with the inserts and insert the screws into the holes. Use the binding tool to tighten the screws securely, but be careful not to over-tighten and damage the board.
What are some common mistakes to avoid when setting up snowboard bindings?
Common mistakes to avoid when setting up snowboard bindings include setting the bindings too far forward or backward, using the wrong size screws or hardware, and over-tightening the screws. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and use the correct tools and hardware. Additionally, make sure to adjust the bindings to your individual preferences and riding style for the best performance and comfort.