Setback vs Centered Stance: Should Snowboard Bindings be Centered?


The binding placement on a snowboard affects the riders stance and how the board feels in different conditions and performs for different styles of riding.

In this article I’ll be looking at the two possible binding placements: setback and centered and comparing their pros and cons so you can figure out which is the most suitable for you.

The Quick Answer

A centered binding placement on a snowboard results in the nose and tail being the same length, whereas a setback binding placement results in the nose being longer than the tail. Centered stances are best for park/ freestyle, whereas setback stances are best for powder/ freeriding.

Centered Binding Placement

A centered stance is achieved when the bindings are placed exactly in the center of the snowboard. In other words, the distance between the nose and the front binding, and the tail and the back binding is equal giving you an even stance.

Centered bindings are preferred by freestyle/ park snowboarders. This is because it allows you to ride switch and hence makes tricks and rails easier to perform. Think of it in the same way that a freestyle snowboard needs to have twin tip shape. The more symmetry there is, the easier it is to ride freestyle.

Beginners typically fee more comfortable with a centered stance compared to setback binding. This usually makes it easier to learn how to snowboard in the very beginning. However, snowboarders of all abilities can ride centered, you don’t just need to be a beginner!

Some all-mountain snowboarders also like to have a centered stance, particularly if they spend a decent amount of time in the park.The only issue with a centered stance is that it makes it more difficult to to ride in powder. Hence, most all-mountain snowboards will have a slightly setback stance.

Setback Binding Placement

A setback binding placement means that the bindings are positioned slightly closer to the tail which shortens the tail end of the snowboard where your back foot goes, and lengthens the nose end where your front foot goes.

In other words, your front foot will be located closer to the center of the snowboard with a setback stance.

The advantage of setback bindings is that it allows the snowboard to float more easily in powder.

Snowboards are designed to have bindings placed in a certain position. Hence, the amount you can setback the bindings really depends on the snowboard and the amount of variation available. Typically the setback is less than 20 mm from the centered position.

A setback stance is often preferred by freeride snowboarders. This is because they often find themselves snowboarding on powder in the backcountry, and this binding placement helps the snowboard to float more.

Some all-mountain snowboarders also prefer a setback binding placement for the same reasons as described above. However, the setback will typically be reduced because all-mountain snowboarders still want the option to ride switch. Having a dramatic setback stance would make this too difficult.