How To Set Up Snowboard Bindings

Setting up your new board and bindings is a simple task that seems much more complex than it really is. Here's how to do it at home.

Photo by Bobby Chadderton
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As you unbox your new bindings, you find a ruler, screws, and a whole bunch of confusing charts. If mounting your bindings feels like math class all over, follow this quick guide to get you strapped in and smiling on the slopes.

Setting up your new board and bindings is a simple task that seems much more complex than it really is. Sure, you can pay your local shop to mount bindings for you, but what happens when you have a binding malfunction in the middle of the perfect powder day? Understanding the mechanics of your bindings and the role they play in your riding experience is crucial to keeping you standing sideways all day.

Things to Consider

Riding Ability

Your capabilities on a snowboard, personal preferences and riding style will dictate how you set your bindings up. For a good starting point, I recommend trying a minor “duck-foot” stance where your back foot and front foot are angled slightly towards the nose and tail. This’ll give you a stance that allows your knees to flex outwards slightly as you become more comfortable on a snowboard and learn to ride switch.

As you progress, you’ll probably develop your own stance preferences. For instance, most park riders prefer a more aggressive duck stance with matching angles that allow for easy switch landings. A narrower stance will also provide faster spin initiation in the park. Riders who are looking to get aggressive on groomers with gnarly carves tend to go with a "set-back" stance that’s focused on getting down the mountain without riding switch.

Conditions

When choosing a snowboarding stance, consider what kind of terrain you ride most frequently. You'll want to have the most comfortable stance possible without sacrificing performance. If you’re used to icy, hard-packed conditions, a centered stance that evenly distributes your weight across your board will help you stay upright. If you’re lucky enough to ride deep snow and fresh tracks often, a setback stance will keep the nose of the board afloat.

Snowboard Shape

Naturally, the shape of your snowboard is gonna give you an idea of where you should place your bindings. Regardless, the best way to mount your bindings for the first time will be by using your factory recommended center points.

Setback

Where your bindings are positioned on your snowboard relative to the centerpoint. Never set your bindings more towards the nose than the tail. If you ride a true twin and find yourself digging into powder rather than floating, consider moving both bindings back by one set of threads.

Width

The distance between your feet when your bindings are mounted. All snowboards have multiple threads for a wide range of width adjustments. Most manufacturers will indicate the “factory centerpoints” by using an X between the four centered threads. Moving your stance inward will allow for quicker spins and bigger presses while switching to a wider stance will give you more control edge to edge. Most bindings also allow for a slight adjustment inward or outward, regardless of which threads you choose to mount with. Generally, a shoulder width stance will be the most comfortable and versatile.

Angles

You’ll need to manually set the angle of your bindings. For the skinny on what angles you should choose, refer to our deep dive into the subject. Remember, when it comes to stance angles, small changes can make a huge difference! To protect your knees, always start small with incremental angle changes.

Forward Lean

Sometimes referred to as Cant. Most highbacks include a dial that you can move up or down to adjust your binding cant. An aggressive forward lean will keep you with your knees bent low for high speed maneuvers but can get uncomfortable with fatigue. I recommend starting with zero forward lean for an easy-going, relaxed ride. As you progress, you can slowly increase your forward lean by making slight adjustments throughout the season.

Straps

Your binding straps are attached to “ladders” that allows you to shorten or lengthen the straps. The best way to set your straps is place your boot inside the binding and make sure that both the heel and toe straps are about halfway down the ratchet.

Mounting Your Bindings

A man tightens a snowboard binding in a snowboard shop
Photo by Bobby Chadderton

Goofy or Regular?

Before you get to the mountain, it’s best to have an idea of which way is down for you. Prefer your right foot forward? Congrats, you’re goofy! If you favor your left foot forward, you ride with a regular stance.

An easy way to figure out your direction is to throw on your snowboarding socks and give your best running slide on a hardwood floor. As a general rule of thumb, your lead sliding foot is most likely to be the one to lead you down the mountain!

Set Your Width

You can use the ruler that may have come included with your bindings but I’ve personally never had any need for it. If your snowboard is properly sized to you, your stance width should follow suit by simply using the factory recommended center points.

Choose Your Angles

Set your binding disc to your desired angle (represented by notches on the disc) and match it up with the small arrow on the binding baseplate.

Mounting

Now that you understand binding mechanics, you’ll never have to rely on a shop for adjustments! Mounting your bindings is the easiest part - the only tool you’ll need is a Phillips head screwdriver.

  1. Separate your binding discs, mounting hardware (8 screws and 8 washers), bindings, and snowboard. You can use your floor or any table as a workbench - just make sure that the base of your snowboard isn't resting against anything that might scratch it. Wipe down the surface of your snowboard where your bindings will touch.
  2. Grab your discs and drop them into the bindings, setting your chosen angles before placing the bindings on the snowboard.
  3. With your discs in place, hold them tightly in their position and line up the four holes on each disc with your chosen threads. Again, I recommend using the indicated centerpoints.
  4. Grab your screwdriver and hardware. Drop a thread followed by a screw into each of the four holes on both bindings and lightly screw your bindings down just enough to hold them in place.
  5. In your socks or shoes, jump into your bindings and make sure you’re happy with your stance width and binding angles. If you feel comfortable, fasten each screw tightly. Be sure not to strip any of them, the last thing you’ll wanna deal with on the mountain is a stripped and frozen screw!
  6. Place your boots (you can have them on your feet or off your feet) inside your bindings and adjust each strap to comfortably accommodate them. Don’t set your straps as tight as possible, too much pressure on your instep can cause circulatory issues which leads to cold, uncomfortable feet.
  7. You’re all set! Before you head to the mountain, pack your screwdriver to leave in the car or invest in a snowboarding-specific folding screwdriver to keep in your pocket while you ride. Most resorts provide workbenches and screwdrivers, but I’ve had my bindings loosen up on me at the top of the lift.
a person tightens a snowboard binding onto a snowboard with a screwdriver
Photo by Bobby Chadderton

Bonus Tips

Always pay close attention to the screws holding your bindings in place. Transitioning from a warm car to a cold slope causes your hardware to expand and contract slightly which leads to loose screws. Never use loctite or any adhesive on your bindings, you may void the warranty on both your board and bindings!

No stomp pad? No worries! I personally find that a stomp pad actually makes board more difficult to control when navigating the lift line. When getting off of the lift, practice controlling your board by pushing your foot against your rear binding.

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Written By
As a Canadian living in the Rocky Mountains, chasing winter is in my blood. ​ I joined the snowboard industry in college when I helped lead Temple University's Snowboard Club and caught a glimpse of turning my passion into a career. I’m a snowboard writer, gear junkie, and a self-proclaimed spreader...

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