What Binding Angles Should You Use for Carving?

If you are looking to perfect your snowboard carves this upcoming season, read on! Snowboard Expert Gaelen Mast explains binding angles for better carving.

A man carves down a ski run on his snowboard.

Photo by Visit Almaty

After a few seasons of riding, most snowboarders tend to gravitate towards a particular riding style. Whether it be speeding down groomed trails, riding through powder in the woods, or stomping airs off jumps in the terrain park, we all have that one thing we especially love about snowboarding.

Naturally, you’re going to want to get as good as possible at doing whatever you enjoy most, and a huge factor in doing this is your gear. If that “one thing” for you is carving, your bindings—and more specifically your binding angles—are going to play a big role in your carving experience and progression.

Now if you’ve never set up your own bindings before or are unclear about your riding style, I’d encourage you to learn the basics of setting up snowboard bindings before continuing. But, if you’re feeling confident that you want to focus on carving, read on to find out how to get the best carving experience from your bindings.

The Truth

The truth is, there are no perfect binding angles that are going to make you magically better at carving overnight. There are a lot of different possible combinations out there and everyone has their personal preference, but I can provide a few examples of stances that are popular for snowboard carving. Just remember, you don’t have to follow these exactly. Take inspiration from them, and then tinker and make adjustments until you find what works best for you!

Twin Carving Stance

If you’re someone who wants to be able to carve with either foot forward often (i.e. both regular and switch riding), then a simple +15° to + 9° for the front foot and -15° to -9° for the back foot might be your best option. By doing this, both your front foot and your back foot will be angled slightly outwards and look like a mirror image of each other (see image below). This is going to give you a nice, neutral stance which is going to make carving with either foot forward equally comfortable.

Diagram of a snowboard with bindings showing the angle at which the bindings are mounted.

While this certainly isn’t the most aggressive carving stance, it will make it quite easy to seamlessly switch between regular and goofy in the times when you feel like switching it up (no pun intended) and practicing riding your snowboard switch. Don’t sweat over the exact angles, as anything between +15° to +9° for the front foot and -15° to -9° for the back foot will feel about the same. Just make sure that the two feet mirror each other. For example, if the front foot is +11°, then the back foot should be -11°, or as close to it as possible.

Aggressive Directional Stance

Perhaps you don’t care about being able to carve both switch and regular, or perhaps your mind is made up and you just want to get really good at carving in one particular stance. In that case, you might consider setting your binding angles to an aggressive directional stance. For a little context, directional means you’ll be riding the board in only one direction for most, if not all, of the time.

There is no perfect binding angle combination for an aggressive directional stance, but there are a few popular options out there. One of the most popular angle combinations for aggressive directional riding is +18° for the front foot and -6° for the back foot. The reason this is considered an aggressive stance is that the angle of the front binding opens up your shoulders. This allows you to initiate carves faster and harder than you could if the angle wasn’t quite as wide. If you want to throw your board into carves even harder, another popular carving stance is +21° for the front foot and -3° for the back foot. This is considered an even more aggressive carving stance!

Going Positive

A man carves on a snowboard.

If you’re committed to the carving lifestyle, you might even consider setting both of your bindings to a positive angle–that is having both binding angles facing the same direction towards the nose of your snowboard. While admittedly I have never set my own bindings in this stance, the science for this option checks out.

When you set both bindings at a positive angle, it aligns both your front and your back knee in the same direction. This allows you to apply maximum force onto your edges to carve as aggressively as possible. Being able to carve aggressively means that you can dig your edge in deep and fast, which allows you to make sharp, quick turns.

Additionally, with a double positive angle setup, you can rotate your hips and torso more when initiating a turn. This allows you to get more of your snowboard’s edge into the snow and locks you into carves better, meaning you can really hold them and feel secure throughout the entire carve.

The exact binding angles for this stance are up to the individual rider, but as a starting point try setting your front binding to an angle somewhere between +30° and +15° and your back foot at an angle between +15° and 0°. Choose an angle set to start with and then tweak it until you find something that feels most comfortable for you.

Forward Lean Positioning

While adjusting the forward lean of your bindings doesn’t technically have to do with adjusting the binding angles, it’s still an easy binding adjustment that can drastically change your ability to carve. Forward lean can be thought of as the “forward angle” of your bindings and is controlled by the angle of your binding highback (see image below).

A snowboard binding with the binding highback labeled.

By adjusting your forward lean and increasing the forward angle of your bindings, your calves will be pushed forward more. When your calves are pushed forward, this creates a more natural bend in the knees when riding. This added bend to the knees then increases the power and precision you can put into your turns, especially your heelside turns.

Gear Matters

At the end of the day, if you’ve tried all these tricks and you’re still not getting the results you want with your carving, you may consider one last thing: your current snowboard setup. Not all snowboards, bindings, and boots are created equal, and if you’re looking to level up your carving game, having the wrong gear is without a doubt going to impede your progress.

Since the main topic of this article is bindings, let’s finish on that. Certain bindings have more give or “flex” to them than others. The actual part of the binding that flexes is the highback and a stiffer high back (i.e. stiffer binding) is more favorable for carving as it provides more instantaneous response and better control. Some great examples of bindings with stiffer flexing are the Arbor Cypress and the Burton Cartel X EST. Both of these offer precise control and an amazing carving experience!

Getting It Right (The First Time)

If you want to upgrade your snowboard gear to get the ultimate carving setup, why not make sure you get it right the first time and get advice from a Snowboard Expert. At Curated, you can chat with a snowboard gear expert (like myself) and get personalized recommendations on gear in just a few minutes. The best part? The chat is completely free and non-committal! What are you waiting for?

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Written By
Heya! my name is Gaelen and I've been snowboarding for longer than I haven't! I was practically raised by the mountain resort industry, my mother and father were both full-time "snowboard bums" when I was young and so I've been around ski resorts since I was a kid! As soon as I was legally able to w...

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