My Setup for Soft Boot Snowboard Carving

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Recently, I’ve been asked many times on different forums about my setup for soft boot carving. I’m going to tell you how I set  up my snowboard, bindings and boots so that carving becomes easy.

Let’s start with snowboards.

There are 2 main categories: directional and symmetrical.

Directional snowboards, whether they are twin tip or other shape, are designed to be ridden mainly in one direction. Most big Mountain, All Mountain, Freeride and Freecarve snowboards are like this. The reason behind this is that they often feature:

  • taper – difference in board width between nose and tail,
  • setback – inserts are moved back towards the tail of the board, effectively making the nose longer and the tail shorter
  • different longitudinal flex patters on nose and tail – the nose is quite often softer that the tail
In other words it makes little sense to ride them switch. In some cases it is not even recommended – like fishtail/swallowtail snowboards.
On the other hand twin tip symmetrical are equally good riding forward and switch. Most freestyle boards are symmetrical.

Directional Setup

9 out of 10 time I ride – I’m going to ride a directional snowboard. They are simply better for what I love the most – carving the groomed slopes. So my setup looks like this:

The board above is a Rad-Air Tanker 187 – directional twin tip with 40mm setback. So I use directional setup – both my feet are pointing slightly towards my preferred direction of travel.

In a nutshell:

  • Stance: 52cm
  • Front Foot: 33 deg
  • Rear Foot: 18 deg

Rider specs:

  • Height: 174cm
  • Weight: 77kg
  • Foot size MP: 26.5cm

My binding setup procedure is as follows:

  • I look for ‘Recommended Stance” on the board or spec sheet for the board. If it matches my normal stance (52cm) I will use manufacturers recommendation. Note: My directional stance is more narrow than my duck foot (symmetrical) stance by about 4cm.
  • If recommended stance is bigger – I will move both bindings towards the center of the board (front binding aft, and back binding forward) by the same amount, to get as close to my preferred stance as possible.
  • If recommended stance is smaller – I’ll move both my bindings out, to match my preferred stance.
  • My preferred angles are 33deg on the front foot and 18 deg on the rear foot:  33F / 18R. I sometimes ride with smaller angles, like 30F / 15R or 27F / 12R.
  • I seldom go above 33 deg on the front foot unless I’m booting out a lot. With bigger angles, there is less support from the highbacks in your bindings and legs tend to work to the sides rather than fore-aft in the boot.  Some bindings have highbacks that wrap around the boot – they would be better for higher angles.
  • My rear foot angle is usually about 15 degrees less than front foot.
  • I check the rear highback – after changing from duck stance, you need to readjust it, so that both highbacks work at the same time. The best way to to this is to strap both feet into the bindings and rock back and forth putting the board on toeside and heelside edges. You should feel both highbacks engage at the same time.

 

Have a look at Directional Stance Angles for Soft Boot Carving for the reason why I ride in this setup.

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