The US Toboggan Championships–Camden, Maine

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Fact: Maine in the summer has 3 million people on any given day. In the winter, 1 million. That’s because it’s cold. Really cold. Well, there might be many other reasons, but winter temperature surely must be one of them. So what do year-round Maine residents do in February? They ride their 2, 3, or 4 man toboggan sled down an icy chute for about 9 seconds…over, and over, and over again. If you can do it in under 8.5 seconds, you just might find yourself going home with a sweet trophy from the US National Toboggan Championships in Camden, ME. That’s what brought the AFP to Maine.

The World Toboggan Championships celebrated its 19th year at the Snow Bowl in Camden, Maine. The event draws thousandths of people from around the U.S. and abroad. The original toboggan chute dates back to 1930′s, when a group of volunteers built the Snowbowl ski lodge and ski hill. Since then, the chute has faded in and out of use. In 1990, an effort was put in place by Jack Williams to rebuild the chute with pressure-treated wood. To this day, Jack Williams (now in his mid-80′s), kicks off the competition with the first run down the chute at 8am.

Jack Williams after completing his annual run down the toboggan chute.


Andrew was quickly adopted by a few local Maine gals to join the 3-lady toboggan team The Triple D’s (Downhill Dangerous Dames).  With more bust than boom, the trio didn’t exactly blaze a new course record.  But it was pretty easy to get free wax from all the boys.  The “manssiere” also provided a little color for the piece on AFP for National Geographic Wild Chronicles that will run in the fall on PBS.  Here’s Alison and Adam hard at work.

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What’s a day of sled riding without chili and chowder?  The Chili/Chowder Challenge provided the crucial fuel to photograph into the afternoon.  Most of them were all pretty good.

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Check out the video and slide show! (please note there is one bad word used in the video, so small children and animals beware)

World Toboggan Championships–Camden, Maine from Ross McDermott on Vimeo.

Posted by Ross, posted on 02/16/2009 at 6:58pm. Bookmark this post. Comments are closed, but you can leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Posted 02/17/2009 at 11:28am


    oh my goodness, who was screaming like a little schoolgirl?

  2. Posted 02/26/2009 at 11:52pm

    Mark P:

    Great post!

    I love the video. I like both shots of the man with the flag, and the urinals picture.