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Can you race a concrete toboggan? NAIT students say ‘yes’

At the Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race the goal is simple: teams of engineering students from across Canada are tasked with building a toboggan out of concrete that can make it down a hill.

“What we need to do is build a toboggan that weighs less than 350 pounds, is capable of holding five riders, has a working steering and braking system, and is capable of safely going down a ski hill,” said Karan Mann, captain of this year’s 19-member team from NAIT, which represented Alberta, alongside the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta.

The NAIT team had four months to build the toboggan and have it shipped to St. John’s Nfld., where this year’s event took place in February. It took them over 200 hours to create the perfect sled, which they dubbed the ‘Bogwarts Express.”

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The competition, which marked its 50th anniversary this year, was founded in Red Deer in 1974 by Dr. S. H. Simmonds, president of the Alberta chapter of the American Concrete Institute.

“The biggest challenge was just getting started,” said NAIT team member Lindsey Jackson, noting that the squad was made up of first-year students. “We came from nothing, we had no idea what to do.”

The team had to get creative on a limited budget of about $4,ooo, which was just enough for the registration fee. They took home the award for Best Looking Toboggan, Best New Team and third place in Braking Performance, leaving big shoes to fill for next year’s team. The University of British Columbia Okanagan, meanwhile, took home the competition’s top honours.

The NAIT squad also raised about $50,000, money they hope to pass on to future teams.

with files from Jaclyn Kucey

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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