3BT (Triple Base Technology) was developed in Norway and used an engineering approach to improve the performance of snowboards.
On a regular camber board, the widest points (near the nose and tail) are the first to engage when carving and they dig deepest into the snow. The resulting torsional forces (across the width of the board, between the edges) reduce the efficiency of power transfer from your feet to the edge and make the board less stable. The traditional camber profile also makes riding on a flat base more difficult because, with neutral rider weight, the board’s widest points are under the most pressure and again dig in.
The main alternative to camber is reverse camber or ‘rocker’. This shape solves the problem of a traditional camber board, by reversing its camber: Lifting the nose and tail regions outside of the bindings off the floor. However, with a reverse camber snowboard, carving is less responsive and holding an edge is more difficult because when the edge is under pressure, the forces are focused between the feet, shortening the effective edge.
3BT solves these problems without sacrificing performance or introducing new issues. It does so by combining both camber and rocker profiles in a single board: 3BT snowboards have camber profiles down the centre for full length of the board and across the whole width between the bindings. This ensures that the rider’s weight ‘loads’ each turn and carves remain as responsive as a traditional camber board.
Unlike a camber board, however, a 3BT profile takes the toe and heel edge regions outside the bindings and lifts them off the ground. The upturn angle is a constant, but the sidecut ensures that the total uplift is largest at the widest points of the board. 3BT boards therefore mimic the shape a regular camber board makes under pressure, during a carved turn, and is under a lot of torsional pressure. However, they already possess that shape when unloaded and at rest.
This means that when riding on a flat base, only the edges between the bindings are in contact with the snow making the edges at the widest points much less likely to catch in the snow. So turn initiation is smooth and effortless and straight lining is much less ‘twitchy’. When the rider’s weight shifts enough to angle the board by just a couple of degrees, the full length of the edge is engaged and the force is delivered evenly along it, without the need for any torsional twisting. Carves feel smoother and the board remains stable at much higher speeds.
A 3BT profile has been perfected for every type of riding and each has features to improve the delivered ride beyond the equivalent camber or rocker boards. From urban jib to big mountain, 3BT boards offer fewer edge catches, smoother carving, easier straight lining, more powerful popping and amazingly better powder float! Out of all the companies offering 3D bases these days only one has stood by the same fundamental design concept and only one has a decade’s track record of delivering ever-improving designs.