Fast and furious competition heats up at Big White Ski Resort

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Fast and furious competition at Big White Ski Resort
Engineering students from across the country have converged at Big White in the name of concrete and competition. Sydney Morton brings us the highlights from the great northern concrete toboggan race. – Jan 29, 2023

The competition is hot up at Big White Ski Resort as university engineering students from across the country compete in the Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race.

The event is a multi-day, student-led initiative and teams have to build and design a toboggan that can carry five people down the mountain — a toboggan that is on concrete skis, has a metal roll cage, a steering and braking system, and must weigh less than 350 pounds.

There are multiple categories that the toboggans are judged on: design, level of ingenuity and innovation, as well speed.

“About half the points come from the actual design process of the competition and then on top of that, we have them race each other,” said Kyle Lessoway, co-chair of the competition.

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The students competing from McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont., created a mini mystery machine, like that seen in Scooby Doo cartoons.

“Our play on words is Scoob-bog-do-bog-do,” said Nik Bennett, a McMaster University student.

“The superstructure roll cage is made of hollow square steel tubing, mainly because one of our sponsors supplied it to us. Our steering system has its first-ever suspension system, so it’s a little more technical from years past and we are super proud of it.”

The students competing from the University of Toronto have designed their toboggan after the store IKEA.

“We have an aluminum frame with a carbon fibre shell. It’s fully encapsulated … like some race cars, and so far we are the fastest,” said Caitlin Everett, a UofT student.

The competitors representing Memorial University in St. Johns, Nfld., have a strategy to win.

“Go fast, get a good push off at the top, and hope something doesn’t break on the way down,” said Billy Barnes, Memorial University student.

The team from UBC Okanagan is also going for speed on the mountain.

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“For the first few competitions, we put in players based on their weight … trying to get as much speed as possible,” said Katie Sherwood, UBC Okanagan student.

The best part about the competition: it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s all about having a good time and connecting with fellow engineering students.

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