The Camden Snow Bowl was abuzz as thousands gathered for the 20th U.S. National Toboggan Championships Feb. 6 under blue skies and brisk temperatures.

The team spots were completely filled for the first time in recent years and visitors to the area were encouraged to take the free shuttle bus as the parking lot was filled. Buses were running from the lower lot of the Camden-Rockport Middle School and from the Knox Mill parking lot, Village Green bus stop and Camden Public Safety Building parking lot every 20 minutes on Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Two- and three-person teams took to the 400-foot long, 70-foot high chute Saturday morning and first runs for the four-person teams began at 1 p.m. An average run down the chute is 9 seconds at speeds of about 40 mph.

By Saturday night, the results for the annual Chili and Chowder Challenge were decided after more than 300 diners enjoyed five versions of chili and seven versions of chowder supplied by area chefs. Results are as follows:

Chili winners
First place: Home Kitchen Cafe, Rockland
Second place: Cody’s Roadhouse, Rockport
Third place: Black Bull Tavern, Rockland

Chowder winners
First place: Quarry Hill, Camden
Second place: Graffam Brothers Seafood Market, Rockport
Third place: Prism Glass Gallery and Cafe, Rockport

Click for more photos from the first day of the toboggan championships.

Click for other photos from the toboggan championships.