Friday, January 20, 2012

Where i should put put my snowboard bindings? Q and A with Tom Buchanan

Snowboard Q and A with Tom Buchanan
"Snowboarding has come a long way from the olden days when a board was little more than a stiff piece of wood."

Q. i ride freestyle and i was just wondering where i should put put my bindings, equal length apart? more to my nose or more to my tail end? Thomas P.

Tom Buchanan, Okemo Resort
A. from Tom Buchanan:
Freestyle riders [snowboarders] generally like small flexible boards with a twin shape (so the nose and tail are the same size, and so that the board rides the same way in each direction). The generally favored binding position for a twin is equal distance from the center. That allows for easy spins in both directions and, comfortable switch riding for take-offs and landings.

A typical directional snowboard for all-mountain riding is designed to be ridden with a longer nose than tail, but also works well for basic freestyle.

The binding position is just part of the design. Board designers also play around with core materials, side-cut, and camber, all based around a targeted stance. The further you move the bindings from that targeted position, the weirder the sidecut, camber, and core will perform.

If you have a twin board, the binding position will be easy to set with an equal sized nose and tail. If you have an all-mountain board (the most common type of snowboard) it will typically have a longer nose than tail, and I suggest you stick to roughly whatever the manufacturer has established as the reference stance. On a directional snowboard you can push both bindings out or in a bit without adversely affecting the ride, but they should generally be moved together. There’s nothing inherently wrong with pushing your bindings all the way back, forward, or setting them asymmetrically, but that might give you a weird ride and is generally not recommended. A local shop will be happy to look at your board and offer a suggestion for the best binding position to suit your riding style and body size. If you really want to play around with binding placement, go ahead, but please understand it’ll change the way the board performs.

Snowboarding has come a long way from the olden days when a board was little more than a stiff piece of wood. The technology inside a modern snowboard is completely amazing, and that really lets us push the sport to new levels. For example, many advanced snowboards have a core made of different kinds of wood placed in very exacting patterns around the center and around the bindings, which provides engineered levels of energy absorption and pop. The sidecut is designed to make the board turn easily, but in some cases the sidecut is placed off-center from the midpoint of the board to really focus turning power. And new hybrid camber boards use camber or reverse camber shapes based on the intended binding placement.

If you are interested in how snowboards are made, and you happen to be near Burlington, Vermont, Burton offers tours of their prototype shop on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It’s a great tour that’ll really give you a sense of what it takes to make the world’s best snowboards. The proto shop is called Craig’s, in honor of pioneering snowboarder Craig Kelly, and is profiled on a Burton page here.  There is a video on the top of the page about Craig Kelly, and then the video shows what’s up inside the proto shop. (Editor's note, see a short video of the Burton Flagship Store and more here on SnowboardSecrets.TV (3rd video from the bottom) Burton Snowboard Museum, Flagship Store, and the Dogs of Burton, VT)

If you’re wondering what binding set-up the designers have in mind for your board, or how it will ride with a weird binding placement, you can always call the manufacturer directly. Their numbers are pretty easy to find on the internet, and most snowboard companies like to chat with the riders who are shredding their boards. Burton, the company that sells more boards than any other, has a toll free Rider Services phone line at: 800-881-3138.

If you still have questions, stop by your local shop or contact the manufacturer of your board directly. Then, go out and ride!
* * *
Tom Buchanan is an instructor and staff trainer at the Jackson Gore base of Okemo Mountain Resort in Ludlow, Vermont. He teaches group and private lessons for all age riders. In the summertime he guides and teaches fly fishing for Orvis in Manchester, Vermont. He taught skydiving for 25 years and is the author of “JUMP! Skydiving made Fun and Easy” published by McGraw-Hill.

Tom Buchanan
PO Box 261
Londonderry, VT 05148
802-824-4243  (Legacy)
802.451.6097   (Mobile)

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Shanae Buckner said...

Since I love snowboarding, especially during the holidays, I regularly check my equipment, especially my board. I also make sure that the bindings for my board are tightly screwed and placed equally on my feet so that I don't tumble and fall while riding.

Shanae Buckner

Dirk said...

On a directional snowboard you can push both bindings out or in a bit without adversely affecting the ride, but they should generally be moved ...

Owen Thomson said...

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