Whether you're cruising down icy slopes on the East Coast or carving through deep powder in the Rocky Mountains, you've probably come across the term "all-mountain." All-mountain refers to snowboarding gear, setups, and techniques that can handle any condition on the slopes.
Your snowboarding stance is one crucial factor that greatly affects your ability to handle different terrains like hardpack, powder, bumps, and ice. If your stance angle or forward lean is too extreme in any direction, it can limit your versatility on the mountain.
To excel in all-mountain riding, you need the right snowboard gear and expertise, but it's also essential to properly set up your bindings. This will give you control over your snowboard in various conditions.
|How to Set up Snowboarding Bindings For All-Montain
Unique Gear Requirements for All-Mountain Riding
When it comes to all-mountain snowboarding gear, versatility is key. All-mountain setups are designed to handle a wide range of conditions, making them ideal for riders who want to avoid investing in multiple snowboards for different situations, from hardpack to powder.
All-mountain snowboards typically fall in the middle range in terms of overall flexibility. If you enjoy spending more time in the terrain park, a snowboard like the Never Summer Harpoon with a flex rating of 5 is a good choice. This tight mid-flex board allows for forgiving and playful rides at slower speeds, yet it's not too soft to become unstable at higher speeds or in variable snow conditions. On the other hand, if you lean towards big mountain freeriding, you should opt for a firmer board like the Never Summer Swift, which has a flex rating of 7.
When selecting all-mountain bindings, it's essential to choose a model that matches the flexibility of your snowboard. Stiffer bindings generally work best with firmer freeride boards, medium flex bindings complement mid-flex all-mountain boards, and softer bindings pair well with freestyle boards. Additionally, look for durable bindings that offer all the necessary adjustments to fine-tune your setup. You can optimize your performance with standard all-mountain settings by finding the right angles that suit your riding style.
Types of Angles in Snowboard Binding Settings
When it comes to fine-tuning your snowboard setup for different riding styles, there are a couple of key adjustments to focus on stance angle and forward lean.
Stance angle refers to the angle at which your feet are positioned in relation to the edge of your snowboard. Beginner and freestyle riders commonly use a "duck stance," where the front bindings are set at positive angles and the back bindings at negative angles. To illustrate, a mirrored duck stance would have the front bindings angled at +12 degrees and the back bindings angled at -12 degrees.
Another crucial adjustment is the binding highback, also known as forward lean. This setting determines how much your bindings lean forward, ultimately affecting the bend in your knees. You create a more responsive snowboard that facilitates carving on your heelside by leaning your bindings forward. You should opt for a more forward lean if you desire a quick edge response. On the other hand, if you prefer a looser, freestyle feel, less forward lean is recommended.
Types of All-Mountain Binding Angles
When configuring your snowboard for all-mountain adventures, things can become quite nuanced. Riders focusing primarily on park riding tend to use slightly different binding settings than those exploring the backcountry.
Stance Angles for All-Mountain Riding
Finding the perfect all-mountain binding angles may require some experimentation, but there are general guidelines to get you started.
A duck stance is suitable if you're interested in all-mountain freestyle but still want to venture beyond the park without adjusting your bindings. However, while park riders often use a mirrored duck stance, you should aim for bindings set at approximately +15 degrees in the front and -3 degrees in the back for all-mountain freestyle riding.
A more aggressive forward stance is recommended for those seeking big mountain freeriding, combining carving on groomers and riding powder. To maintain control on challenging mountain lines while retaining versatility across other areas, consider setting your stance angle around +18 degrees in the front and +3 degrees in the back.
Increased stance angles can also help minimize overhang when executing deep carving maneuvers.
Forward Lean for All-Mountain Riding
The amount of forward lean you apply to your bindings can significantly impact your snowboarding experience.
Many big mountain and halfpipe riders prefer an aggressive forward lean as it enhances control. Conversely, freestyle riders often choose zero-forward lean as it allows for a more playful ride in the park.
Since versatility is essential in all-mountain riding, it's advisable to gradually increase your forward lean in small increments until you find the optimal setting for your needs. For many riders, a moderate amount of forward lean is ideal for all-mountain snowboarding.