Slick conditions made this year's Camden Snow Bowl the fastest National Toboggan Championship

By Ramona du Houx

Despite the wind wiping around every corner and rock-solid ice competitors’ spirits were high at the annual Camden Snow Bowl. A record number of teams competed in this year’s 29th U.S. National Toboggan Championships, held on February 8-10, 2019.

Many of the teams that turn out have been participating year after year. The 425 teams raced down a 440-foot-long chute on traditional wooden toboggans. For the first time, registration was sold out.

A village of ice shacks and campfires took up residence on Hosmer Pond, where spectators and racers took refuge from the bitter conditions. About 5,000 people attended the three-day event, including about 1,000 racers, according to organizer Holly Anderson. 

Many said half the fun was wearing outlandish costumes. From mocking presidents, to becoming grapes and knights in shining armor the festive atmosphere bubbled with each team’s creative designs

“It was an awesome, awesome weekend. We had a record number of spectators,” said Anderson. 

The smooth ice, caused by a recent rain, made racers to fly across the pond. Speed records broken. Toboggans zoomed down the chute at more than 43 miles per hour, with the fastest time clocking in at 9.3 seconds.

Participants come from across America. This is the 20th year that Doug Fagly, a carpenter all the way from Delaware. “What is amazing about Maine is you come and it’s always an adventure,” said Fagly. “You see the same people and we pick up where we left off last year, and that’s what I love about it. It’s not about winning. It’s coming up here and having a good time.”

Fagly has previously won an award for the best crafted sled.

 

Placing first in the two-person division was the team Bolt 2 from Medway, Massachusetts, with times of 9.46 seconds and 9.47 seconds.

In the three-person division, the Belfast team Splittin’ Adams came in first with run times of 9.43 seconds and 9.48 seconds.

In the four-person division, first place went to the team Speedrunner 4 from Bridgewater with run times of 9.45 seconds and 9.5 seconds.