Terri-Jane Yuzda

Where the Concrete Meets the Snow


University of Alberta
Student Contributor



Trail of Hard Knocks
The U of A team ploughs its entry along the course.


University of Alberta
Student Contributor

What can you do with more than 300 students from across the country and thousands of pounds of concrete? For the University of Alberta and other Canadian universities, the answer is most definitely "build a toboggan and ride it down a hill."

From Jan. 29 to Feb. 2, the University of Alberta hosted the Great Northern Toboggan Race. Each university was required to design, build and document a sled made with a running surface of concrete. With a weight cap of 300 lb., these behemoths reached top speeds of over 50 km/h. Carleton University clocked in at 54.4 km/h, and the University of Alberta also notched a spectacular top speed, 47 km/h.

Highlights included a most spectacular run from Queen's University in which one of the Queen's teams watched as their 20-ft. concrete canoe smashed into four pieces, with the piece carrying the four passengers successfully crossing the finish line. Another highlight was when the U of C did a shirtless run down the hill. Just imagine: the dead of winter, four university students flying down a hill in a 300-lb. toboggan, their torsos feeling the crisp winter wind.

University of Alberta students can be proud. Our team had top five finishes in sled velocity, quality of concrete, and overall esthetics. A special award was also bestowed upon the U of A as it shared the $2,000 Circa Award with the University of Saskatchewan. This award is presented to teams that have the best use of fly ash with their concrete, making an economical running surface that accounts for the bulk of the sled's weight.

The U of A team thanks its sponsors and all the people who were involved with the Great Northern Toboggan Race. Special thanks goes to co-chairs, Yukon Davies and Rae-Lynne Pelke, for their tireless efforts.

Sponsors are Lafarge, Lehigh,University of Alberta Faculty of Engineering, PCL, Canadian Society of Civil Engineering, Stantec,the Institute for Transportation Engineers, Read Jones Christoffersen Ltd. and APEGGA.



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