The ice-coated trees and bushes lining the road sparkled in the early morning sunlight on Feb. 8, on our drive to the Camden Snow Bowl. It was our fifth time participating in the U.S. National Toboggan Championships, an exciting event that attracts hundreds of people to midcoast Maine each year.
My husband, Derek Runnells, and I had signed up as a two-person team. As many teams do, we thought up a silly name — Crapchutes — which would be announced over the intercom later that morning. With the pull of a lever, race organizers would drop our sled onto the 400-foot ice-filled chute. Clinging together for dear life, we rattled down the giant slide, our speed topping off at just under 40 mph.
What can I say? It’s a blast.
Joining us for the day was my colleague Sam Schipani along with her boyfriend, Alex Cole, who formed a two-person team: The Toboggan 2 Electric Boogaloo. Together, we set up a few camp chairs in Tobogganville, where everyone eats, drinks and waits for their turns to race.
Tobogganville is unlike any other place I’ve seen. At the base of the toboggan chute, it starts out with a “main road” lined by vendors, food trucks and booths with toboggan champions showing off their trophies and prize toboggans. Then it spills out onto Hosmer Pond, where the “village” grows throughout the day as participants erect shelters and drag grills and firepits out onto the ice.
Aislinn is a Bangor Daily News reporter for the Outdoors pages, focusing on outdoor recreation and Maine wildlife. Visit her main blog at actoutwithaislinn.bangordailynews.com.
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