February 3, 2014
All the world’s a stage at the National Toboggan Championships
Anyone who thinks winter is a drab time of year has never been to the U.S. National Toboggan Championships in Camden the first weekend in February! Part athletic competition, part social gathering, and part spectator sport, this annual event is the only organized wooden toboggan race in the country. More than 400 teams compete, and the event attracts up to 5,000 visitors every year. While many locals and ‘Mainers’ compete, the Championships are open to anyone, and participants come from all over the United States (and even a few from other countries) to compete in two-, three-, and four-person teams.
For over twenty years, daredevils have been shooting down the iced-over, 400-foot long, wooden toboggan chute with a vertical incline of over 70 feet. Toboggan riders can go as fast as 45 mph as they zip down the hillside onto Hosmer Pond. An incredible event for spectators as well as participants, the Toboggan Championships feature a weekend full of events, including public tobogganing and tubing, food tents, music, a chili competition, and even bonfires to help keep you warm as you enjoy the festivities!
Unlike any other winter competition, the National Toboggan Championships are all about having fun. From festive costumes to catchy names, participants and spectators are out to enjoy the weekend and the simple pleasures of winter in Maine. Past teams include: “Absolute Zeros”, “Southern Comfort”, “Nothing to LUGE’, “Luge Mistake”, ”Chute I’m Out of Beer”, “Four Wingnuts”, “Gravity Gurus”, “Runaway Brides”, “Grandma and the Girls “, “The Bucket List Gang”, “The Soggy Boggin’ Boys”, and “Sled Man Walking”, so as you can see, not only are these teams brave and fast, they are also very clever. Winners receive a shiny trophy.,,and of course, bragging rights for a whole year!
The 24th Annual U.S. National Toboggan Championships take place February 7-9 at the Camden Snow Bowl. For information, visit www.camdensnowbowl.com.
VIDEO: 2008 US National Toboggan Championships Camden Snow Bowl
(Select photos/2014 poster image courtesy of Camden Snow Bowl/U.S. National Toboggan Championships)