Recently I wrote a post about using our shin muscles and toes more to get edge tilt and grip, when riding the heel edge, rather than solely leaning/pushing back against the high-backs.

I go on to explain in the post, Struggling with toe edge turns on a snowboard? how staying off the highbacks and keeping a flexed ankle joint can help with the heel to toe turn, but here are some more good reasons why we should stay off them and use our shin muscles instead.

are highbacks making snowboarders lazy

  1. Enables fine tuning of the edge angle leading to greater control over where pressure is applied
  2. Keeps you stacked and centred over your board more.
  3. Allows you to keep a flexed ankle joint while still maintaining good edge angle (leading to better suspension and improved ability to traverse bumps etc).
  4. Less likely to slip out and lose the edge when riding in icy conditions. The ‘carpet wiped out from under your feet feeling‘ comes to mind

So, could we ride without them?

It’s definitely something worth thinking about. I remember

A couple of seasons ago I rode a full day with no highback on my back binding. Even when riding switch, through powder and bumps I didn’t notice a whole lot of difference to be perfectly honest.

However, I would expect the learning curve to steepen slightly for a beginner if they were presented with kit with no highbacks. On the other hand, with all the new technology going into boot design over the past years, offering much better support, would they notice a huge difference?

The one thing that I would point out is that, although I had no highback on my back binding, I still had the heel cup. My vans boots are as chunky as they get and fit so well in into my bindings that even when riding with loose ankle straps, the heel of the boot does not lift.

So when moving from edge to edge the heel cup was still providing some support.

I’m definitely going to look into this more and put together a case study – anyone fancy some free lessons?

Watch this space!

For further reading check out the following article by Mike Ranquet: