How To Choose Your Bindings
Your bindings are the third component of your setup and, serve as your connection to the board. They should do their part to create a seamless interface translating into comfortable, fluid control. Bindings are designed to be fully adjustable in order to complement a variety of boot shapes, flex and tightness preferences and stance options.
Take a binding out of the box and mount it on your board. Now lace up your boot and strap or step in. How does the boot fit with the binding? You want a snug, contoured feel, so check for gaps behind the heel and on either side of your boot. Those are bad. We develop our bindings anatomically to match the outsides of our boots, which creates the perfect harmony of comfort and response.
The best bindings…ok, Burton bindings, incorporate loads of features you can and should use to dial in your personal fit and performance preferences. As an added bonus, many of these features can be adjusted on the hill, without tools and hassle free. Each of these features has a name and a specific function, so let's take a look at some basics. Hi-Back Rotation: Most people mount their bindings at an angle. Rotating your hi-back parallel to your board edge allows for the most direct transfer of power from your leg to the board, resulting in powerful heelside turns.
Forward Lean: Adjust the angle of the hi-back and directly control the amount of response to match your riding style. Crank ‘em forward for quicker heelside response, or back ‘em off for increased range of motion and tweak-ability.
Strap Location: The height of your ankle strap can make a major difference in the performance and comfort of your setup. We have multiple positions on our bindings so you can adjust at will. Move them up for increased hold and support, or move them down for increased freedom and flexibility. (This does not apply to the SI, as it's already dialed in.)
Strap Length: Strap length is about overall comfort, so once your hi-back and strap location are dialed, you'll want to make a few adjustments. Our bindings feature telescoping straps to make it clean and simple for you to dial in the perfect fit. (*On SI this strap is on the boot.)
Gas Pedals: The piece that sits directly below your toe is called the Gas Pedal. Adjust your Gas Pedals so they conform to the natural toe spring of your boots. Proper adjustment will give your toeside turns a little more juice, as well as prevent toe drag when you are really railing it.
1) Shop for bindings after you've chosen your boots. The fit of your binding directly relates to how the two components work together as an interface. Burton boots and bindings love each other!
2) Features should help you dial in your fit. If they don't, they shouldn't be there.
3) Adjust your hi-back, straps and gas pedals. Nothing stands out in the lift-line to experienced riders more than improper binding setup.
How To Choose Your Boots
Since warm, comfortable feet are essential to having a good time on the hill (as well as skipping circles around those skiers in the resort parking lot), many riders consider boots to be the most important choice when building their setup. As a beginner, your boots will be easier to pick out than your board, because you already know what size to get. But don't skimp here! Read on to find out how to keep your dogs from biting.
The outer layer of the boot is typically referred to as the shell. Shells are composed of high-tech materials to keep the elements out and lacing systems to keep your feet in. Check for a short overall dimension. Clunky boots or pointy toes might get you style points somewhere else, but on the hill, they just hold you back.
A boot is only as good as its liner. You'll want a comfortable, secure fit with no pressure points. The best way to find out which liner is for you is to get your foot into a boot and test it out. Many liners, such as our Imprint EVA liners, are heat-moldable so you can customize the liner to the shape and contour of your foot. Comfort and warmth are never a question. Stitched, or lace-up style liners (we call ours the Matrix liner), can be cinched as tightly or loosely as you please to accommodate a range of foot and calf shapes. We offer both Imprint EVA and Matrix liners to satisfy all flavors of feet. "Flavors of feet" sounds pretty gross. Let's move on.
Liners are built around a human foot-form, or last, and the shells are built around the liners. Make sure the boots you choose have 1:1 lasting, meaning for every half and full size boot, there is a matching, perfectly engineered, half and full size liner to go with it. (Hint: ALL Burton boots feature 1:1 lasting. How's that for subtlety?) And of course, our women's boots are created around a women's-specific last, because women shouldn't have to make do with some dude's stuff (unless, of course, she wants to). With the boot fully laced and tight, your toes should just brush against the front of the liner. Wiggle room is good as it gives your toes room for circulation and warmth. Growing room is bad as it creates heel lift, toe bang and reduced response. When you try on boots in the shop, ask to strap into some bindings. Make sure the straps don't create any painful pressure points and that your heel doesn't lift when you bend your knees or stand on your toes.
1) Use discrimination when shopping for boots. Happy feet are attached to happy snowboarders.
2) Pull out the liner and check quality.
3) 1:1 Lasting is good. It means that every whole and half size liner has a matching whole and half size boot shell.
4) Make sure your boots fit, and fit well. Strap in and jump around. Check for pressure points and heel lift.
How To Choose Your Board
Want to feel comfortable walking into your local shop and picking out the perfect board? Arm yourself with knowledge. Read on, and you'll know exactly how even the most experienced riders choose their sticks.
Just like your average supermodel, snowboarders are always concerned about their waist width. Only in this case, waist width (WW) refers to the skinniest part of the board, right between the bindings. Pick a board with the narrowest WW you can get away with for your boot size, as a board that is too wide is harder to get on edge and initiate turns-resulting in a slow, sluggish ride-and a board that is too narrow creates toe and heel drag, which slows you down and makes it difficult to carve turns.
As a general rule, standing on end, your board should come somewhere between your chest and your eyes (Fig. 1), although weight is the most accurate way to determine board size. But board length is more a matter of personal preference, so take a look at how you want your board to perform. If you plan to spend a lot of time in the park and pipe, a shorter board will allow for increased maneuverability and a lower swing weight resulting in faster, easier spins. If riding the entire mountain sounds like your thing, a longer board will provide the stability you'll need to rip at high speeds over varied terrain. We've also provided suggested weight ranges for each board that give you a general idea of what size board you could ride.
Mix up a little core profile, flex and torsion, and you get the overall feel of the board.
Core Profile: The core profile is basically the side view of the snowboard that determines where the board's core is thicker and thinner. Each board has a different core shape, or profile, that helps determine its flex and ride characteristics.
Flex: The core profile in combination with the fiberglass laminate creates the overall flex of the board. Flex isn't very important. Just kidding. Flex affects super-important things like turning, edge hold and ollies. (Fig. 2)
Torsion: This refers to how a board twists along the center axis. A board with a softer torsion will be more forgiving for landing tricks and buttering, but a stiffer torsion will provide a more responsive ride and help your edge hold through a fast turn. (Fig. 3)
1) Your board should be as narrow as you can get away with for your boot size.
2) Standing on end, your board should come somewhere between your chest and your eyes, depending on your riding style.
3) You should flex the board, eyeball the core profile and keep in mind how the stiffness affects the overall ride.
4) Ok, NOW you can look at the graphics, because we spend a lot of time working on those, too.
A snowboard, boots and bindings are typically referred to as a "setup." The purpose of this section is to provide you with the information you need to find your setup, and have a good time riding it.
1) Try before you buy. Snowboarding is all about feel. It'll take you a while to figure out your personal style, so rent, demo product and see what works for you.
2) Find a balance of quality and what you can afford, and you'll be riding all season, skipping work and considering moving to the mountains for the winter. Go too cheap, and you might actually convince yourself skiing is more fun.
3) It's ok to strap into your new setup and jump around the living room. We've all done it.