Bright and early Saturday morning, hundreds of elite toboggan athletes will gather at the Camden Snow Bowl for the 24th annual U.S. National Toboggan Championships.

Some of those teams will have built their own sleds, waxed them to perfection and prepared themselves mentally and physically to take a shot at winning a national title.

The Bangor Daily News will field two not-necessarily-so-elite teams that will also participate in the event. Those teams will compete on borrowed sleds and hope to make it to the bottom of the 600-foot slope unscathed and smiling. Unless they chicken out.

Racing will kick off at 8 a.m. Saturday for the two-person and three-person crews, while the four-person teams will take their runs beginning at 1 p.m. On Sunday, teams will return to the venue and take their second runs, with four-person teams kicking off the competition at 9 a.m.

Parking is available at the Snow Bowl, but shuttle service from downtown Camden is available.

BDN teams will be on hand in “Tobogganville” all day Saturday. Stop by our tent, warm up by our fire (we hope to have a fire), and say, “Hi.”

Our fearless leader, the BDN’s Director of News and Audience Tony Ronzio, will be on hand to greet visitors and tell them how wonderful his co-workers are. He’ll also feed the sliding crews highly nutritious snacks and has been volunteered to serve as the head fire-builder.

Looking for us? We’ll be dressed as zombies and grim reapers. You can’t miss us. (Note: If this is the year that everyone dresses up like zombies and grim reapers, look for a BDN Maine sign).

Our teams: The zombie-themed “BDN Walking Deadlines” includes photographer and head banjo player Troy Bennett; southern Maine features writer and blogger Kathleen Pierce; the eyes and ears of the Midcoast, Abigail Curtis and southern Maine reporter and blogger Seth Koenig.

Our four grim reapers will form the second team, which is called “Bangor Deadly Luge.” Members include Ronzio, visuals editor, surfer and rock climber Brian Feulner, outdoor reporter and hiking enthusiast Aislinn Sarnacki and outdoors editor John Holyoke, who answers to “Ballast.”

John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. He spent 28 years working for the BDN, including 19 years as the paper's outdoors columnist or outdoors editor. While...