Plate bindings are used with hardboots on Alpine or racing snowboards. Extreme carvers and some Boarder Cross racers also use plate bindings. The stiff bindings and boots give much more control over the board and allow the board to be carved much more easily than with softer bindings. Alpine snowboards tend to be longer and thinner with a much stiffer flex for greater edge hold and better carving performance.
Snowboard bindings, unlike ski bindings, do not automatically release upon impact or after falling over. With skis, this mechanism is designed to protect from injuries (particularly to the knee) caused by skis torn in different directions. Automatic release is not required in snowboarding, as the rider’s legs are fixed in a static position and twisting of the knee joint cannot occur to the same extent. Furthermore it reduces the dangerous prospect of a board hurtling downhill riderless, and the rider slipping downhill on his back with no means to maintain grip on a steep slope. Nevertheless, some ski areas require the use of a “leash” that connects the snowboard to the rider’s leg or boot, in case the snowboard manages to get away from its rider. This is most likely to happen when the rider removes the board at the top or the bottom of a run (or while on a chairlift, which could be dangerous).