How to Set Up Snowboard Bindings

Published on 03/14/2023 · 9 min readSetting 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.
Bobby Chadderton, Snowboarding Expert
By Snowboarding Expert Bobby Chadderton

Photo by Bobby Chadderton

As you unbox your new snowboard's bindings, you find a ruler, screws, and a whole bunch of confusing charts. If mounting your bindings feels like math class all over again, follow this quick guide to get the new bindings set up and 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. If you're a beginner, 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. This means setting the front binding to a positive angle and the rear binding to a slightly negative angle.

As you progress, you’ll probably develop your own stance preferences. For instance, most freestyle 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 and freeride with gnarly carves and deep powder 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 up allowing the board to float and added stability.

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 stance width.

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. It's important to keep a natural and comfortable posture while riding.

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 buckle.

Mounting Your Bindings

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. Meaning, which is your dominate foot. Do 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.

Photo by Bobby Chadderton

Mounting: Step-by-Step

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. Before mounting bindings, make sure you know which foot is dominant (left or right), how wide your stance will be, and the angles of your feet.

Step One: Fit Boots to Bindings

1. Take bindings out of the box and plastic bag. Recycle the box and plastic if you're not keeping them. Inspect the bindings for any defects or missing pieces.

2. Organize your hardware (4 screws and washers for each foot; 8 total) and mounting discs (1 for each foot; 2 total).

  • Burton EST Bindings have 7 mounting pieces (2 inserts, 2 washers, 2 screws, and 1 plug) but are usually included with the board when purchased.

3. Open up the straps—toe and ankle—and place one boot into the matching binding. Base plates and toe straps are anatomically shaped per foot, and the ratchet strap is always on the outside of the feet.

4. Inspect how the boot fits into bindings and ensure the heel and toe are equally fit to the base plate. If the toe of the boot is hanging too far over the front of the binding, adjust the heel cup (usually the back screws on the binding heel cup) and move the boot deeper into the binding.

Photos by Michael Biasuzzi

5. The ankle straps are also anatomically correct and usually are extra padded or wider at the ends. These ends should be equally placed on the outside and inside of the boots—directly over the ankle area of the feet. If the strap looks short, remove the screw and move up one or two holes and replace the screw. When the strap is locked in, the buckle should be about halfway down the ratchet strap to be snug and tight.

6. The toe strap should fit evenly over the toe of the boot with the buckle halfway down the ratchet strap to be snug/tight and locked in the boot to the binding. If the toe strap is too short or too long, adjust the screws on the toe strap by a hole or two at a time.

Photos by Michael Biasuzzi

Step Two: Mount Bindings to Board

1. Boards have inserts that bindings mount to. The style of the board dictates where the manufacturer locates the mounting locations—centered is usually suggested.

Photo by Michael Biasuzzi

2. Place bindings on top of board over binding inserts. You should have already identified the front of the board and which foot is dominant.

3. Place mounting disc into binding at desired angle.

4. Slightly adjust binding for mounting holes to line up to the desired inserts.

5. Ensure binding is centered on the board and equally hanging over the heel and toe.

6. Place washers down over inserts, put in screws, and hand tighten. Hold binding in place while tightening screws.

Photo by Michael Biasuzzi

7. Repeat the steps for your other bindings, and you’re finished! If you’re unsure of your work, put the board on the floor and stand in the bindings (put down cardboard, a towel, or do it on a carpet to not damage the base of the board). If the stance feels too wide, too narrow, or your feet feel awkward, make a mild adjustment by repeating the steps above.

Bonus: Burton EST Quick Mounting

1. Place binding into the channel of the board and line up inserts over the binding mounting area.

2. Line up the reference point on the board with the mounting point on the binding. This will determine the width of your stance.

3. Adjust the binding to the desired angles of stance. This is the same as a standard board mount.

4. Line up the center reference line on the binding with the red line in the center of the channel point. This will center the binding on the board.

Photo by Michael Biasuzzi

5. Place washers down and put the screws into the binding inserts. Hold the bindings in place while securing screws to inserts. This keeps the binding in the desired mounting location while attaching to the board.

6. Repeat the steps for the other binding, and you just mounted Burton EST bindings!

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.

Burton makes two styles of bindings (re:flex, and EST bindings), and uses their own unique mounting system for their boards, the EST Channel System.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me or one of my fellow Snowboarding Experts here at Curated for free advice and gear recommendations.

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