The tension of competition thickens the air. The smell of wax pierces your nose, as a complete set of Abominable Coneheads saunters by with their sled. It’s February in Camden, Maine, which can only mean one thing: the U.S. National Toboggan Championships, bitches!
The rules are more like suggestions than hard and fast mandates. Keep your hands and feet in the toboggan. Be on time for your run. It’s recommend, not required, that costume bulk be kept to a minimum. There is, however, one thing this crew takes seriously: traditional toboggan specifications. Don’t try to sneak any jacked up, ramped up, fancy-dancy sleds by the judges. They must be all wood, no screws loose, and fall within the specified dimensions.
It’s one of the only races where a sense of humor is a requirement. But complacency won’t land a podium spot. These sleds fly!
The original toboggan track in Camden was built in 1937. The first national championships clocked in 54 years later, in 1991, and have been delighting the masses ever since. Organizers expect 6,000 spectators will show up to watch 1,300 competitors live their dream. Teams are two-, three-, and four-person.
If your capacity for fun is matched by nerves of steel (or perhaps, least, aluminum), everyone is welcome to compete. Register in person at the Tobogganville booth. The championships are part of a broader Winterfest celebration, so the weekend is winner regardless of how fast you slide.