Whether you ride on hard-packed slopes on the East Coast or deep powder in the Rocky Mountains, you’ve obviously heard the expression “all mountain.” Essentially, all-mountain refers to snowboard gear, setups, and techniques that can handle every condition on the slopes.
Importantly, your snowboarding stance greatly influences your ability to switch seamlessly between hardpack, powder, bumps, and ice. If your stance angle or forward lean is too extreme in any direction, it can lessen your versatility on the mountain.
While all-mountain riding requires certain snowboards and expertise, you also need to set your bindings so they give you control over your snowboard in all types of conditions.
Unique Gear Needs for All-Mountain Riding
The main thing to consider for all-mountain snowboarding gear is versatility. Since all-mountain setups can handle just about anything, they are great for those people who don’t want to purchase a different snowboard for every condition – from hardpack to powder.
All-mountain snowboards are in the middle when it comes to overall flex rating. If you are an all-mountain rider that spends more time in the park, you will likely want a snowboard like the Never Summer Harpoon with a flex rating of 5. This mid-flex is not too stiff to be unforgiving and less playful riding at slower speeds, while not too soft to be unstable at higher speeds or in variable snow conditions. If you lean more towards big mountain freeriding, then you should stick with a firmer deck like the Never Summer Swift which has a flex rating of 7.
When it comes to all-mountain bindings, the key is choosing a model that is compatible with the board flex. Stiffer bindings typically work best with a firmer freeride board, medium flex binding to a mid-flex all mountain board and softer binding to a freestyle board flex. It also to look for a durable model that has all the adjustments you need to get things dialed. In turn, you can figure out the best angles to match your riding style with standard all-mountain settings.
Types of Angles in Snowboard Binding Settings
When it comes to dialing in your binding for all-mountain riding, the important settings to focus on are stance angle and forward lean.
Stance angle describes the angle of your feet relative to the edge of your snowboard. Most beginner and freestyle riders use a duck stance where bindings in front are set at positive angles and bindings in back at negative angles. For example, a mirrored duck stance would have your feet angled at +12 degrees in the front and your feet angled at -12 degrees in the back.
The other major setting to consider is binding highback adjustment- also known as forward lean. Importantly, the further forward your bindings are angled, the more your knees will be bent. In turn, bent knees make your snowboard more responsive and easier to carve on your heelside. More forward lean to trigger your heelside turn for quick edge response, less forward lean for a looser, freestyle mobility.
Types of All-Mountain Binding Angles
When it comes to dialing in your snowboard setup, things can get pretty nuanced. In fact, you will see that all-mountain rider who focus more on the park use slightly different binding settings than those who venture more into the backcountry.
Stance Angles for All-Mountain Riding
While it will take some time to figure out the perfect all-mountain binding angles for you, there are some parameters that you can follow to get started.
If you are interested in all-mountain freestyle, yet want to venture out of the park without making adjustments, you will want to go with a duck stance. However, while park riders often use a mirrored duck stance, you should set your bindings somewhere in the neighborhood of +15 / -3 for all-mountain freestyle riding.
For big mountain freeriding mixed with carving groomers and riding powder, you should go with a more aggressive forward stance. To stay under control on big mountain lines, while still having versatility on other parts of the mountain, you should set your stance angle around +18 / +3.
Increased stance angles can also reduce overhang for deep carving.
Forward Lean for All-Mountain Riding
The right amount of forward lean can make a huge difference in your snowboarding.
Many big mountain and halfpipe riders set their bindings with aggressive forward lean because it gives them better control. Conversely, freestyle riders prefer zero-forward lean because it makes snowboards more playful in the park.
Since versatility is the name of the game in all-mountain riding, you will want to increase your forward lean by small increments until you find a setting that works for you. For many people, the right amount of forward lean for all-mountain snowboarding is somewhere in the middle.
Questions About All-Mountain Binding Angles? Contact Us!Contact Never Summer if you have additional questions about setting up your snowboard for all-mountain conditions.