One of the most overlooked parts of a snowboarding setup are the snowboard bindings. For beginners or kids snowboarding, it often seems just a simple piece to strap in. However, with increasingly impressive technology in shock absorption, energy transfer, support, and pressure distribution, they are becoming more advanced each season.
No matter your riding style or ability, it’s important to be aware of how to choose the right bindings for you, so you can achieve the best ride and a pair that will stand up to the test of time.
Your bindings essentially communicate to your snowboard. They are the connection from your boot to your snowboard, providing you with a sturdy and confident feel. As you may have guessed, not all bindings are created equal, but they have their purposes. If you are looking to get out on the mountain on a budget, at a beginner level, to have fun a few times every season, do not shy away from entry-level options.
Discover what snowboard bindings work best for beginners to advanced riders, what makes them different, and how you can make the most use of your options.
The all-mountain bindings are a broad category. Essentially, all-mountain snowboarders are not spending the whole day in the park or backcountry, and likely are not for the hardest charging riders. From beginner to a more casual advanced rider, the person who would benefit most from an all-mountain option is someone who spends the majority of their time on groomed snow, may hit the park occasionally, and take powder turns now and then.
Park and freestyle options are designed to provide support, without being overly rigid, so as not to break or prevent explosive movements. These bindings often feature soft to medium flex ratings which offers maneuverability to the rider through boxes and rails.
The freeride binding is a more aggressive option, designed for intermediate to advanced riders who need immediate support and response, and typically features a medium to stiff flex rating. These bindings are known to pack a lot of power and energy and are great for aggressive riders who prefer to power through technical terrain, powder runs, and aggressive carves.
A less common option, the splitboard binding, made for splitboards. If you are looking for the ultimate backcountry experience, investing in a splitboard and binding set-up will help you achieve the powder turns of your dreams.
Each snowboard binding brand will have a slightly different version of what they consider “soft” or “stiff.” They are rated on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the softest and 10, the stiffest.
For an easy-going beginner and for park riders, you should opt for a soft to medium flex in bindings, offering you a more comfortable overall feel, that is still responsive.
A Medium flex in snowboard bindings is the perfect option for a rider that demands response and versatility. It is also the ideal choice for snowboarding aficionados who prefer to power through multiple types of terrain.
For a stiff flex, intermediate and advanced level riders will often prefer this. They often provide the highest level of response and support and are great options for technical terrain and high speeds. These bindings are also oftentimes constructed with the most durable materials, which are also designed to be lightweight, making them perfect performance-oriented options.
Before choosing a pair, it helps to ensure that the bindings are compatible with your snowboard of choice.
The three main types of mounting systems available on the market today are the traditional 2×4 and 4×4, and the Burton channel system. If you have an older Burton board, you may also encounter the 3D system, to get special mounting plates for this, contact the manufacturer.
Many companies are now creating options that are compatible with the popular Burton channel system, but make sure you check that the bindings you are interested in will work if you have a channel board.
Another important thing to note, the channel system has a specific intended counterpart, the EST bindings. Burton EST bindings will ONLY work on a channel board. However, Burton Reflex bindings will work on traditional boards and EST. This system was designed to increase and improve overall board feel, decrease swing weight, among other features, so if you choose to go this route, you will likely enjoy it! But consider its compatibility with the items you will have in the future.
Snowboard Binding Sizing
The size you choose for bindings should be based on your boots and your board. The last thing you want is your foot sliding around in the binding, so if your boot falls right in the middle of a binding range, go with that one! If you find yourself on the edge of a bindings size range, we recommend going with the larger size and sizing up. Remember, most bindings have a lot of adjustable features, including the length of the base plate and the straps, that will help with fit.
It always helps to consult the sizing charts, as bindings that are too small may not provide a safe or comfortable ride, while bigger options may have too much room and will lack response and create unsafe movement.
Other Factors You May Want to Look Into
If you are just starting and are only beginning to get a sense of feel for the sport, then there is no need to invest in top-of-the-line bindings, an entry-level pair will do the trick until you gain confidence!
For more advanced riders, trust us, you need to invest in snowboard bindings that can keep up! The last thing you want is to end up with broken parts and an unsupportive ride.
Another thing to keep in mind when you are shopping for bindings is overall compatibility. Look at your boots and bindings, whether it is in person or online. Will anything get in the way? For example, some bindings are constructed with a wingback that curves around the side of your boot. Some boot options will not work with wingback bindings, so consider this as you are shopping.
Also, before you head out to the slopes with new snowboard bindings or boots, first insert the boots into both bindings and make any necessary adjustments. Doing this ensures that you will not run into issues by surprise, and if there are fit problems, you can address them in the comfort of your home rather than with gloves in the chilly parking lot.
If you are a woman with a larger boot size or the larger sizes are simply sold out, consider shopping in the men’s binding selection instead of the women’s! Keep in mind that the sizing and footprint may be slightly different, so make sure that they work with your boots when you receive them.
Learn how to choose the best pair of boots for your riding style, and shop men’s snowboard boots.
The Wrap Up
Snowboard bindings have a great deal of technology and workable parts, so do not underestimate their importance! If you need to shave a bit of cash off your gear budget, consider spending slightly less on a board or boots before you cut the budget for bindings – trust us. So, strap in with confidence and enjoy your next snowy adventure!