Snowboard essentials: snowboard bindings
Snowboard bindings often get slightly overlooked when it comes to buying snowboard kit but they are arguably the single piece of kit that will have the most impact on your riding. Your snowboard bindings are the literal connection between you and your snowboard. All the movements you make when snowboarding get transferred through your boots and bindings to your snowboard.
If they don’t fit properly or aren’t set up correctly then you’re just making your life difficult for yourself!
Your snowboard bindings transfer all the movements you make with your feet, ankles and knees to your snowboard so it’s super important that your bindings fit correctly.
Fit to boot
Snowboard bindings are typically sized as S, M, L, and XL. Check the manufacturer’s sizing charts and you’ll find a suggested boot size range so you can make sure you get the correct size binding for your boots. Just like boots, it’s worth checking the Mondo size as this is universal across manufacturers.
It’s sometimes easier to set up your bindings to your boots before fixing them onto your board, so grab a binding and a boot and check the fit:
The footbed of your snowboard binding should be about the same length as your boot. The heel of your boot should fit snugly in the heel cup of the binding and your toes shouldn’t be hanging off the end.
All straps should fit snugly to your boot. Adjust the straps so that the main part of the strap is centred on the toe or ankle area of your boot. You want to be able to flex down in your bindings but not have your boots moving around under the straps.
When doing up your bindings, use the ratchets to tighten them until you get a bit of resistance. You don’t need to crank them up fully – over tightening bindings can lead to numb toes and no one wants that!
Fit to board
As well as fitting to your boots, your bindings need to fit to your snowboard. This sounds obvious but there are a few different binding mounting systems so make sure you buy bindings that will fit with your snowboard.
Most snowboards come with a 4 x 2 mounting pattern of holes. This gives you a range of stance options and the majority of bindings will fit this system.
Burton boards use a triangle hole pattern (3D) or a channel system for mounting bindings onto the snowboard. If your snowboard has one of these systems then you’ll need to buy bindings that use that mounting system, or check to see if you can get a conversion disc. If you’re looking for a new board and binding set up at the same time then just keep this in mind!
Just like snowboard boots, snowboard bindings have flex. Bindings with a softer flex are typically better for beginners as they’re more forgiving. Stiffer bindings are better for more experienced riders looking for more response and performance.
That said, your riding style can also influence how soft or stiff you want your snowboard bindings to be. If you’re a park rider or more freestyle orientated then a soft binding will help you get the response you need. For freeride or racing, stiffer bindings will give you the support and power that you need to charge.
It’s all down to personal preference and most people tend to choose an all mountain binding as these have medium flex so suitable for your average rider wanting to explore all aspects of snowboarding.
Snowboard bindings might look very similar, but there are some differences in how you get in and out of them.
Strap in – this is the traditional two strap style that you’ve probably already used. Step into the binding heel first and tighten the toe and ankle straps across your boots. This style is easy to get in and out of wherever you are on the mountain. It’s also super easy to adjust throughout the day.
Rear entry – a quick fit system that requires a bit of setup but then no adjusting throughout the day. Rear entry bindings have one or two straps that go across your boot that you can set up before you get on the mountain. You get into these bindings by pushing back, or folding down, the high back and stepping in toe first. These are a bit quicker than traditional strap in bindings but can be trickier to get in and out of until you get the hang of them.
Step on – another quick fit system that does exactly what it says – you just step on to the binding and click in place. You need special boots for this style of binding
For more detail about all the parts of a snowboard binding check out the Anatomy of a Snowboard Binding from our friends at Absolute-Snow
You’ve picked your bindings, they fit your boots, now you need to get them on your board. How you set your bindings will have the biggest impact on your snowboarding.
This is how far out from centre your toes point when you’re standing on the board. If you stand up now and look down at your feet, chances are your toes aren’t pointing dead ahead, and they shouldn’t be when you’re on your snowboard either.
We recommend starting with a duck stance of +12 & -12 or +15 & -15. This means your front and back feet are both turned out from the centre by the same amount. A duck stance is great for helping you get centred over the board and riding switch.
This is how wide apart your feet are on the board. All boards will come with a recommended width marked on the binding holes which is a good place to start if you’re new to snowboarding.
If you’ve been riding for a little bit, have a play around with your stance. Try moving it in or out and see how it feels. Nidecker has put together this great little video with some tips on working out your stance:
The REAL binding of choice
The Nidecker Carbon bindings are the REAL binding of choice for this season. Super light weight and responsive, these bindings give us the comfort and performance that we need whether we have a full day of lessons or are shredding around the mountains.
Up next in our Snowboard Essentials series we’ll take a look at snowboards and what to think about beyond the graphics. We’ll talk about what to consider when buying a snowboard, along with our recommendations. Keep an eye on our Instagram stories to find out when it’s out.
Nidecker has a long history of snowsports innovation, making their first pair of ski in 1912 and manufacturing snowboards since 1984. We love their approach and attitude, and are delighted to partner with them. Visit https://www.nidecker.com/ to check them out.