Concrete toboggans deliver fast times on Connors Hill

(Edmonton) Some people are content to slide down hills on Krazy Karpets. More creative types prefer to invent their own sleds—like the 300-lb. concrete toboggans engineering students raced this weekend at the 37th annual Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race.

Hosted by U of A engineering students, the competition drew more than 400 engineering students from 18 universities and colleges across the country. The competition included a day-long technical display Friday, in which teams had to present the technical aspects of the sleds they’d designed and built, and show off their team spirit.

On Saturday, the races were on, with impressive speeds throughout the day. The top speed, according to GNCTR co-ordinator Nigel Parker, was 55.3 km/h, which was set by a new team from the University of Saskatchewan.

“That’s pretty quick,” said Parker, an engineering graduate student who led the U of A to the national GNCTR championships last year.

Adding to the colour of this year’s event, comedian Rick Mercer was on hand, taping a segment for his CBC television program The Rick Mercer Report. No date has been set for the broadcast.

Mercer actually competed with the U of A team, which crashed out twice in two runs.

“Having Rick here was a highlight,” said Parker. “But another one had to be Saskatchewan doing so well on their first entry with the top speed. It was very impressive what they did. And all weekend the camaraderie and friendliness between all of the universities was great.”

The overall first-place winner was an entry from the University of Calgary, with Queen’s taking second and Ryerson in third. The U of A team, which won the national title last year, finished 14th of 19 teams.