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Home » TRAVEL AND LODGING » MAINE » The 22nd Annual U.S. National Toboggan Championship
The 22nd Annual U.S. National Toboggan Championship

Camden, Maine

By Judy Soper | February 17, 2012

Toboggan (v.): to decline suddenly and sharply – AND THEY DID!!!

The home of The Jack Williams Toboggan Chute was busy this weekend as thousands of people of all ages spent time in the wintery Maine weather enjoying the festivities of the National Toboggan Championship.

Warmer than usual temperatures were surely a welcome treat for those watching on Saturday, but for those competing it may have posed some challenge.   That was Saturday.   Sunday proved to be a more typical mid-February day with cold temperatures and gusting winds.   It meant harder ice, faster runs, better times, and a greater chance to walk away with a coveted toboggan trophy.

The energy in the air increased as the event progressed.   Participants were listening attentively for run times as they were announced.   Times were close with many of the final runs differentiated by 1 ⁄100th of a second, making the competition just that much more exciting for everyone there, both watching and riding.

It was exciting to see the toboggans leave the gate and drop quickly to begin the run down the 400 foot chute covered in ice.   The sound of the toboggan running on the ice and bumping into the sides was a constant.   Speeds reached as much 40 miles per hour with run times as quick as 8.86 seconds.   After exiting the chute, many teams experienced a ride across Hosmer Pond, not always on the toboggan seat, sometimes on their sides or with the toboggan positioned atop them.

Excitement was evident as the crowd cheered, rang bells and blew whistles as the riders passed by on their way down the chute.   Despite the noise in the crowd, it remained possible to hear the excitement of the participants as they yelled and screamed from the moment the front of the toboggan exited the gate, landed at the top of the chute, and they began their run.

In addition to the races themselves, other activities took place that helped make the event a great success.   Children’s activities were available.   All across Hosmer pond, traditional Maine activities such as ice skating, snowmobiling, ice boating, hockey, ice fishing was taking place.   On Ragged Mountain visitors enjoyed snow tubing, snowboarding, and skiing.

A chowder (or chowdah, as we say in Maine) challenge and a chili challenge brought competition in the form of food.   Other vendors were present selling fabulous food.   Have you ever eaten a piece of pizza from a wood fired oven on a cold winter day while standing in your warmest clothes (with mittens on) in 30 mile an hour winds? It is a must! Food always tastes better outside, especially if it is cold out.

Entertainment and competition also came in the form of costume.   In true tradition, many race participants donned attire that undoubtedly brought smiles to many of those in attendance.   How could one not enjoy an adult running by with a cape on, or a group of men in bright red union suits waiting to ride their toboggan down the chute? It brings a smile to one’s face and a connection to the young spirit within each of us.

At the end of the event, I walked away chilled to the bone, cheeks red, fingers cold from constantly taking off my mittens to play with my camera, yet filled with a warmth and contentedness from spending a cold winter day in Maine outside enjoying the clear blue skies and sunshine.

It was much like the happiness I felt as a child after ice skating with friends on the local pond for hours and hours many winter days.   It truly is “Maine, the way life should be” and it is exciting to know that I experienced the event with so many others from here and “from away.”


For more details about the event, teams, a list of finalists, etc. visit:



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