Record number of Toboggan Nationals teams ready for icy ride

Feb 08, 2019
Photo by: Susan Mustapich A team of longtime Snow Bowl employees, many of whom are also dedicated volunteers, prepare for the Toboggan Nationals.

Camden — Registrations are sold out for the two-, three- and four-person teams that will speed down the iced chute at the 29th annual Toboggan Nationals Feb. 8 through 10 at the Snow Bowl.

This adds to the excitement building up for those who organize the event, and those who are readying their sleds. The last time the event sold out was 2014, according to Holly Edwards, co-chairman of the Toboggan National Committee, with Stuart Young.

"It's shaping up to be a banner year, with a full race roster, filled with many returning teams and lots of new and excited racers," Edwards said. More than 400 teams of winter fanatics from around the world will make the trek to Camden to join the fun and race down the 440-foot toboggan chute, she said.

The top of the toboggan chute is about 70 feet high, and toboggans typically run around 37 or 38 miles per hour, according to Tom Dowd, who is in charge of timing during the race.

Young has earned the nickname "Chute Master" for his dedication to icing the chute in preparation for the event. While it may be a slow and exacting task, Young has always had the perseverance to achieve the desired results.

Of those results, the most important is that the Toboggan Nationals is a big fundraiser for the town-owned Snow Bowl, Young said. It offsets costs to the community by raising from $70,0000 to $75,000 each year, he said.

The weekend event ensures that each team gets two rides down the chute in order to gain the best qualifying time and eligibility to compete in the finals Feb. 10.

Toboggan teams are known for their creative names and costumes, from Dorothy and the cowardly lion to Lego people to bags of Wonder Bread.

This year, team names run the gamut from Hold My Beer to Eat More Kale. The registration roster lists the Screamin' Mimis, Maine's World, The 'Boggin from the 'Scoggin, Served on Ice, Millinocket Rocket and the Slab City Sliders.

On Feb. 8, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., teams sign in and their toboggans are inspected. The chute is open to the public Feb. 8 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with $5 rides for the public, and free for racers with bracelets. Sign-in continues Feb 9 from 7 to 9 a.m. for two- and three- person teams, and from 9 a.m. to noon for four-person and experimental teams.

On Feb. 9, first and second runs down the chute begin at 8 a.m. for two- and three-person teams, with optional second runs to clinch a faster qualifying time at 10 a.m.

At noon, the carnival atmosphere ratchets up a few notches, as the Costume Contest Parade winds through Tobogganville. At 1 p.m., first runs begin for four-person and experimental teams.

On Feb. 10 at 9 a.m., four-person and experimental teams get their second runs. At noon, final runs begin for all of the qualifying teams. The race wraps up around 3 p.m. with awards in Tobogganville.

Shuttle bus service runs Feb 9 and 10 from the Village Green in downtown Camden from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 9 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 10.

Tobogganville will feature six food and beverage vendors this year, and the Snow Bowl is open for skiing all three days.

Sponsors include Camden National Bank, Sea Dog Brewing, North East Mobile Health Services, Journey's End Marina, Adventure Advertising, 16 Bay View Collection, Korkers, Northern Toboggan Co, Blue Barren Distillery, Broadreach Public Relations, Waterfront Restaurant, Union Farm Equipment and Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce.

New sponsor, Northern Toboggan Co. of Minnesota is coming out with a new line of 6- and 12-foot toboggans named "Camden Racers" this year. Edwards said the company has donated two toboggans that will be raffled off during the weekend.

Snow Bowl toboggan run Feb. 1, 2019
(Video by: Susan Mustapich)
Stuart Young, aka Chute Master, at the helm atop the toboggan chute at the Snow Bowl. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
Tom Dowd has been part of the timing team for the Toboggan Nationals for 10 years. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
Owen Dorr, on the back of the toboggan, is a snowmaker at the Snow Bowl, and is part of the team that prepares for the Toboggan Nationals. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
Comments (2)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Feb 08, 2019 14:55

Looking good Stuart! Glad to see the chute is still in operation. But am amazed that it is so big and so commercial. Remember the first chute? Way Back? The lodge had two fireplaces and a picnic table in the middle as I recall. But at 84 yrs. young maybe my memory is off, you think? Glad it has built to be a great ski place and hope it is not too overloaded with commercialism. Small town it was and now, who knows?

Mary "Mickey" (Brown) McKeever +:)  From Arizona now! Lots of sunshine for these old bones.



Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Feb 08, 2019 14:55

Looking good Stuart! Glad to see the chute is still in operation. But am amazed that it is so big and so commercial. Remember the first chute? Way Back? The lodge had two fireplaces and a picnic table in the middle as I recall. But at 84 yrs. young maybe my memory is off, you think? Glad it has built to be a great ski place and hope it is not too overloaded with commercialism. Small town it was and now, who knows?

Mary "Mickey" (Brown) McKeever +:)  From Arizona now! Lots of sunshine for these old bones.



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