You might have dreams of carving up the mountain and pulling tricks that make your friends' jaws drop, but before you can impress on the slopes, you need to find a snowboarding stance that is comfortable. When you're new to the sport, the simple act of choosing your lead leg and foot is one of the first decisions you must make.
You might think a complicated formula or rigid rule dictates which of your feet should be your lead foot in a snowboarding stance, but the decision comes down to personal preference. Some boarders put their left foot first and others put their right foot first. The key is that you feel comfortable and natural in your stance. Regular stance, which is more common, means your left foot is first; those who use a goofy stance lead with the right foot. Try standing in each direction and noting which stance feels more natural.
The width of your stance is also a matter of comfort, but beginners can often benefit from having their stance slightly narrower than usual. When your feet are closer together, you'll find it easier to turn the front or back of the board to change direction during your run. As you get more comfortable with the sport, increase the distance between your bindings until you feel a width that is comfortable but still allows for total control.
Once you've chosen which will be your lead foot, setting your bindings in a directional stance is logical for beginner snowboarders. In a directional stance, the back binding is positioned perpendicular to the board, and the front binding is turned at around 15 degrees. The angle of the front binding is largely a matter of personal preference, but if it's significantly more than 15 degrees, it will cause strain to your front knee. A directional stance allows you to learn the sport's basics while always descending the hill with the same lead foot.
After you've mastered the fundamentals of turning and stopping your snowboard, you can switch your bindings into a duck stance to start learning how to ride switch. Keep the front binding turned at around 15 degrees but turn the back binding to about minus-9 degrees. The bindings should be positioned so their heels are closer together than their toes. In a duck stance, you can descend the hill with either foot as your lead foot, which is ideal once you begin to incorporate jumps into your arsenal of tricks.
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.