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Finding your snowboard stance

More often than you might think, snowboarders pick a stance that was assigned to them, and they never learn to change it. Whether it's from the rental shop, the local board store, or borrowed from a friend, most beginners don't know to change how they stand. As beginners become experienced, they stick with what they know, and that isn't always an ideal alignment

Why do you need to have your own unique stance? Primarily because of anatomy. We each have a unique body build and we each have movement skills we are better or worse at. Your stance position is adjustable because people have different needs and preferences. Could you imaging if your car seat wasn't adjustable, and people of all different heights tried to drive it?

How do you pick your own unique stance? This may be elementary for some, but you'd be surprised to find out how many people were told what their stance was, and never questioned it. Here's a simple test that works well. Imagine you are standing on a slippery surface. Let's say your kitchen floor while wearing socks. If you ran and slid to a stop, which foot would be in front? Try it out at home. Take a few quick steps, then turn and slide sideways to a stop. Whichever is your front foot at home, should be your front foot on your board. Left foot forward is called regular, right foot forward is called goofy. Nothing goofy about it, it's just called that.

How do you pick your stance width? A recommended starting point might be to stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Most people aren't good at finding that position, and it's not very specific to how you move. Some people will naturally be more narrow, or more wide. It depends on lots of things like your joint mobility, your strength, and your learned movement patterns. All of these are unique to you, so a generic cuing isn't specific enough to most people. Try this test for yourself. Take three quick and small jumps in place, and on the last jump, land in a squat like you just got some big air. This position that you have landed in is your preferred stance. You landed in the best position for yourself to absorb the impact of the jump. If you moved your feet closer together or further apart, you wouldn't be as comfortable with the landing. Even if you're brand new to snowboarding, and don't plan on taking big jumps, you need to find a comfortable squat position that you can consistently perform from.

How do you pick your foot angles? Even experienced snowboarders may not even be aware that this is an adjustable feature. The angle of rotation of your foot is adjustable, and again needs to be in a position that is comfortable for you. It's common for recreational or terrain park riders to have the front foot and back foot angled out to the same degree. We call this duck stance, and it's useful in case you are going down the mountain with your opposite foot forward. Riding down with your opposite foot forward is called riding switch, no matter if you ride regular or goofy.

Big mountain and back country riders may choose to have both feet angled toward the nose of the board, the part that points downhill. This works because they rarely ride switch. Most beginner riders will find that the front foot rotated toward the nose of the board is most comfortable along with the back foot being either perpendicular to the board, or slightly rotated toward the tail, the trailing part of the board. Think back to the three jumps and landing into a squat you previously did. Your foot position is likely rotated out some, so you will want your foot position on the board to replicate that. You may want to open your front foot more, as that will help you control the snowboard better.

Your foot position on the board can be varied and changed easily, but it is recommended that you try to find a good spot to start, and stick with it for a few runs to see how you like it. You can then change it and see if it's easier or harder. As you get more experienced, you may choose one set up for doing tricks in the park, and another set up for getting on the steep stuff. Either way it should be comfortable and efficient. Your snowboard positioning should not be painful. Having pain is no fun, and snowboarding is all about fun.

It's important to have the right setup for your unique body and abilities. Finding the right positioning for your legs makes the difference of being energized or fatigued. Feeling balanced or awkwardly challenged. Having comfort or feeling overwhelmed. Your setup should be complimentary to your ability, and not battling your natural tendencies. Continue to try different setups until you find what feels relaxed and easy. You want your board to feel like an extension of your body and movement. #snowbeastperformance

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