Community event

Snow goes on for U.S. National Toboggan Championships Feb. 10

With tough winter conditions, racers will compete one day only
By Bane Okholm | Feb 10, 2013
Photo by: Bane Okholm Camden Snow Bowl employee Joe Cellamare of Camden clears the path to the top of the toboggan chute Feb. 8.

Camden — Despite the cancellation of Saturday, Feb. 9, events due to the ongoing blizzard, Midcoast residents and visitors are still enjoying a thrilling and chilling weekend of tobogganing, culminating in the single-day U.S. National Toboggan Championships racing on Sunday, Feb. 10, at Camden Snow Bowl.

It is the 23rd annual event and is a major fundraiser for the Snow Bowl.

Among the first riders on the 400-foot iced chute Feb. 8 was Norma McEdward Dodge, 89, of Epping, N.H., a former Union resident and 1941 member of the snow queen's court.

Dodge — who was accompanied by sister Joy McEdward of Epping, N.H., daughter Joyce Blanchard, also of Epping, N.H., and granddaughter Erin Mason of Hartford, Conn. — said the ride was faster than she remembered.

"I wasn't scared," Dodge said. "It was great ... everybody should try it."

According to a Feb. 8 press release, U.S. National Toboggan Championships Chairman Holly S. Edwards stated, "As soon as the weather clears on Saturday [Feb. 9] and it is safe, the toboggan committee will be out at Tobogganville cleaning up the chute as quickly as they can to get it ready for Sunday morning.

"We are going to do our best to get everyone out there to race on Sunday and have a good time," Edwards stated. "We know this is the place folks are going to want to be to play in the snow and there will still be a ton to do.”

According to the press release, Sunday events will start at 8 a.m. with two-person and three-person teams taking a single run to qualify for the finals. Following that group will be the experimental and the four-person teams. Best times for each division qualify, with 25 top times making it in the finals in the two-person and three-person divisions; top 50 times qualify for the finals in the four-person division. For the experimental group, the top three times qualify for the finals.

Following a lunch break, and silent sled runs honoring Don Gross, Ken Bailey and Jeff Kuller, three people who did so much for the event in the past (all of whom died within the last year), the finals will begin at approximately 1 p.m. The format is two runs each for all divisions, beginning with the two-person and three-person teams, followed by the four-person and experimental teams.

Chutemaster Stuart Young of Camden said the Toboggan Nationals are an important fundraiser for Camden Snow Bowl. At the time of its inception, Young said, the event raised approximately $5,000, but now generates roughly $17,000 in revenue, which Young said is a "big asset" to Camden Snow Bowl's operating budget.

Although the West Bay Rotary's planned "Down the Chute" beer and wine challenge has been canceled, Young said the chili and chowder challenge will take place Sunday, Feb. 10.

Camden Herald reporter Bane Okholm can be reached at 236-8511 ext. 304 or by email at bokholm@courierpublicationsllc.com.

2013 U.S. National Toboggan Championships 1
Four-man team the Wild Wilderness Women drop into the Camden Snow Bowl toboggan chute Feb. 10 during the 2013 U.S. National Toboggan Championships. (Video by: Bane Okholm)
2013 U.S. National Toboggan Championships 2
A three-man team navigates the Camden Snow Bowl's toboggan chute Feb. 10 during the 2013 U.S. National Toboggan Championships. (Video by: Bane Okholm)
Snow falls on Camden Snow Bowl's toboggan chute Feb. 8. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
Norma Dodge of Epping, N.H., makes her way off Hosmer Pond following a trip down Camden Snow Bowl's toboggan chute Feb. 8. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
Joyce Blanchard of Epping, N.H., and niece Erin Mason of Hartford, Conn.,  take a second run down Camden Snow Bowl's toboggan chute Feb. 8. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
Doug Fagley of Millsboro, Del., left, receives a helping hand from sled inspector and chute attendant Bob Annis of Rockport Feb. 8 at Camden Snow Bowl. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
Official 2013 toboggan stickers wait on a table near the inspection station Feb. 8 at Camden Snow Bowl. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
A toboggan rests against a shed Feb. 8 at Camden Snow Bowl. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
Sled inspector Bob Annis of Rockport applies an official sticker to a toboggan Feb. 8 at Camden Snow Bowl. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
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