Concrete toboggan earns UBC Okanagan engineering students top honours in race

FILE. The Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race at White Hills Resort near St. John's, N.L. attracted engineers from across the country. Here, a team from Western shows their offering. It was a group of UBC Okanagan engineering students that ultimately took gold. COURTESY: GNCTR

A winning creation from an Okanagan class of engineers has taken top spot at a well-established Canadian competition.

A group of UBC Okanagan engineering students took gold in the Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race (GNCTR) at White Hills Resort near St. John’s, N.L.

The event, which is in its 50th year, was hosted by Memorial University of Newfoundland and attracted more than 450 students from over 20 universities and technical schools across the country, who participated in the GNCTR 2024 to display their innovation and engineering skills.

In the end, the University of British Columbia Okanagan’s School of Engineering ranked first in the challenge to build a toboggan that can safely slide down a snow-covered hill.

“Participating in the GNCTR 2024 has been an incredible experience for our team, and winning the competition is beyond our wildest dreams,” team captain Katie Van Rooyen said about the race.

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Click to play video: 'Fast and furious competition at Big White Ski Resort'
Fast and furious competition at Big White Ski Resort

“It’s been an honour to represent the University of British Columbia Okanagan and showcase our engineering skills on such a prestigious platform. Travelling to St. John’s, Nfld., and being a part of the GNCTR’s 50th anniversary celebration was a truly unforgettable experience.

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“We’re grateful for the opportunity, and this victory is a testament to our hard work, dedication, and passion for engineering.”

The toboggan had to have concrete running surfaces, a roll cage, mechanical steering, and braking systems.

It also had to be able to hold five team members and weigh less than 350 pounds.

According to the university, during the Technical Exhibition Day, teams present their toboggan’s technical and safety reports, showcasing their toboggan’s design and safety features.

Teams also incorporated a theme into the toboggan’s design and aesthetics and wore costumes that reflected their theme.

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Ultimately, teams completed three downhill races, two to test the braking and steering performances. The final, and prize-winning, race was the King of the Hill Battle, a head-to-head bracketed tournament.


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