It's easy to visit a ski resort, see a snowboarder rip down a run, catch huge air off a series of jumps and find yourself itching to try the moves yourself. But if you're a beginner, it's all about taking baby steps before you learn to soar. You might one day be able to ride switch and defy gravity, but for now, sticking with a forward stance angle helps you develop your technique.
Choosing the stance you'll pick to ride your snowboard depends on your experience with the sport. Beginners should focus on a directional stance, which means that they'll select one foot as their lead foot and always descend the run with that foot first. Veteran boarders often use a duck stance, which allows them to lead with either foot. When you're learning how to snowboard, a directional stance allows you to strengthen your fundamentals before experimenting with a duck stance.
In a directional stance, your back binding is square to the board and your front binding is positioned so that the heel of the front binding is closer to the back binding. The angle of the front binding can vary according to a snowboarder's personal preferences, but people typically turn the binding between 15 and 21 degrees. Setting the angle of the front binding is simple, as the binding's mount has the angles marked on it.
If you ask five snowboarders what they consider the perfect angle of the front binding in a directional stance, you're likely to get five different responses. The angle you adopt should -- above all else -- be comfortable. When mounting your bindings, try a few angles and see which feels natural. If the front binding is turned more than 21 degrees, you might feel some pain in your front knee. If the binding is much less than 15 degrees, you'll have to turn your body awkwardly while riding.
Although the angle of your front binding is important, so too is the distance between the two bindings. If your bindings are spaced too far apart, you'll struggle with turns; if they're too close together, you may feel unstable. Generally, position the bindings about an inch wider than your shoulders. As is the case with the front binding angle, the width should also feel natural and comfortable.
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.