of Hard Knocks
The U of A team ploughs its
entry along the course.
BY RYAN LAWRENCE
University of Alberta
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
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.