CAMDEN – Toboggan team registration is heating up for the 29th running of the U.S. National Toboggan Championships at the Camden Snow Bowl. Join 400 other teams of winter fanatics from around the world and make the trek to Camden, February 8-10, to join the fun and race down the 440-foot toboggan chute. Registration closes Monday, Feb. 4.
“Despite the periods of rain this winter, the early cold has kept Hosmer Pond frozen for ice skating and ice fishing,” said Holly S. Edwards, chairman of the toboggan championships committee. “The early freeze bodes well for an awesome weekend of toboggan racing. Toboggan Nationals is all about turning the winter weather into something to celebrate, and we want everyone to have as much fun as possible.”
For more than 28 years, costume-clad participants of all ages have raced down the ice-filled wooden chute onto the frozen surface of Hosmer Pond. The toboggan teams go dressed in a variety costumes, from the Cowardly Lion and Dorothy Gale to Lego people and bags of Wonder Bread, complete with even more creative team names. At noon on Saturday, the costumed racers participate in the annual costume parade before a line of distinguished guest judges. There are trophies for best costumes, too.
With a maximum number of 400 toboggan teams, each team is ensured two rides to achieve a best time during qualifying, and eligibility to compete in Sunday's finals. The cost is $30 per person, with 2-Person ($60), 3-Person ($90) and 4-Person ($120) divisions.
The entry fee for experimental teams is $120, and teams in this class can consist of two-, three- or four-people per sled.
Toboggan Nationals is free for spectators and cheering squads, with a $10 per car fee to park in the Snow Bowl parking lot (space is limited).
Shuttle buses run from the village green downtown throughout the event for $3 or $5 for both days. The ride back to downtown is free.
Registration packet pickup is on Friday, Feb. 8, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and teams begin racing early in the morning Saturday and race until late afternoon. The fastest teams compete in the finals on Sunday to earn the title of champions at the U.S. National Toboggan Championships.
"People from all over the world come to experience the Toboggan Nationals and while it has become a must-do for their Maine winter bucket lists, many keep coming back year after year. We are always excited to welcome our returning and die-hard groups of racers, as well as new participants," said Edwards.
Leading up to Toboggan Nationals weekend, the Camden Public Library hosts a Winter Carnival Feb. 2. Teams compete in an ice sculpting competition. As well, here will be a Polar Plunge, live music indoors and out, Fat Bike and Snowshoe demos, vaudeville and fire performers with food and hot drinks, crafts and more. Wednesday, Feb. 6, Pinot and Augustine perform at the Camden Opera House.
The 29th U.S. National Toboggan Championships are sponsored by Camden National Bank, Sea Dog Brewing, North East Mobile Health Services, Journey’s End Marina, Adventure Advertising, 16 Bayview Collection, Korkers, Northern Toboggan Co., Blue Barren Distillery, Broadreach Public Relations, Waterfront Restaurant, Union Farm Equipment, Penobscot Bay Chamber of Commerce.
Team registrations information is available at camdensnowbowl.com/toboggan-championships/. Advance registration and payment is required.
The 29th annual U.S National Toboggan Championships has grown to attract people from all over the U.S., as well as internationally. The Toboggan Championships is a major fundraiser for the municipally-owned and operated Camden Snow Bowl, the only ski area in the country with views of the Atlantic Ocean. The Toboggan Championships brings with it a rich history of community spirit, costumes, traditions and family fun. Information on registration, rules, toboggan regulations, parking and more is online at camdensnowbowl.com/toboggan-championships or by calling 207-236-3438.