I started making toboggans 20 years ago and the Camden Nationals were going strong then as they are now. Over the years I’ve made wooden toboggans to the specifications required for folks competing in the event. Although I haven’t made it out there yet I’ve had many conversations with folks who are avid participants.
One of my favorite story’s was some years ago when a group of four engineers from the greater Boston area called me up. They were long time buddies and had the intentions of designing a toboggan that would meet the specifications and win the National Championship! That was fun for me as well because I worked with them online and over the phone for perhaps a month trading ideas as they came up with the final design for this toboggan. It was an undertaking of some sorts and we all had much enthusiasm for sure.
I eventually got it built and was quite proud of it and sent it off for the big race with intentions for their win! That year I followed the race results online and unfortunately I never saw their name place in any of the 4 man events?.?. Needless to say I was disappointed and wondered how it had gone for them. A couple weeks later I got a hold of one of the guys and it turns out good engineering is one thing but to win the race it’s more of a matter of physics! It sounded like these four guys were all trim fellows in good shape, smaller guys perhaps all weighing somewhere between 160 to 180 lbs. The team that won consisted of four big bearded fellows all weighing over 250lbs…It makes a difference rifling down the chute! Imagine sending an empty peach crate down a glare ice toboggan chute and then send a piano down it…
Another time I had a toboggan to make for a group from Minnesota who where heading out to Maine for the big event and I remember there was a deadline for me to get the toboggan to the Twin Cities in time for their road trip departure for Camden. I guess the event draws people from all over the country. It is certainly a great tradition.
Everyone I have ever talked to who has been to the Nationals has been quite enthused about it reporting that the 3 day event is a genuine blast…and there is apparently far more going on then simply a toboggan runJ.
You can check it out at: http://www.camdensnowbowl.com/25th-annual-us-national-toboggan-championships