The Downhill Toboggan - Part I
I often think about the name we coined for our Downhill Toboggan… The toboggans we had been building prior were called Dog Toboggans or 3-Board Dog Toboggans (Traditional Canadian Toboggans) when I came on the scene and our company was started.
When I met with Chaboyer in 1995 and he agreed to mentor me in sled making, our intent was to build the toboggans and sleds traditionally used in the Northern Provinces and Territories of Canada. These sleds where used primarily for trapping, fishing, and subsistence hunting, wood hauling, etc. on the land.
In Chaboyer’s time and when I started there where two other well known traditional toboggan makers building similar sleds for the same areas. However, none of these guys were building lighter toboggans for family recreation in the south.
My business started and within a few years we put up our first website. Before launching it I had some inquiry for lighter toboggans. After the website, there were more and more requests for a well made toboggan to put under the Christmas tree. But one day I was giving my routine apology for not having such a toboggan, when finally it dawned on me…why not?
By that time I was well aware of what these folks were looking for… “we just can’t find a decent toboggan”…was a common remark. “I would like to find a toboggan like the one we had when we were kids”…was another.
I started looking at what was currently available and searching online for good solid wooden toboggans for the family. I never did find anything that I would want in our product line. The competition for selling quality toboggans in the north was keen. The sleigh had to be up to or above standard to be desirable. If not there was no interest. The fact that we were gaining respect and notoriety for our toboggans was the direct result of the high standards set for our sleigh making…we were not wired to make something that would not meet those standards.
In those years the 3- Board Dog Toboggan was our main toboggan for the north. These have evolved from the original wooden toboggans of Northern Canada and are state of the art. There is perhaps no other wooden sleigh with more “R & D” and harsh testing to prove it. The R & D (research and development) was conducted by generations of people living across Northern Canada who used these toboggans for their daily routine.
(…to be continued…)