UBCO aims for first place in Big White concrete toboggan race – Kelowna News
Photo: Brayden Ursel
The 49th Annual Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race is taking place this weekend at Big White Ski Resort.
With varsity teams from across the country, UBC Okanagan will face stiff competition as they battle for first place for the first time.
On Friday, the day before the race, teams gathered at the Delta Grand Hotel to share their builds and tweak their rides at the last minute.
“[UBCO] once finished second and it’s the best result for the school ever. We hope to surpass that this year and get the first top spot for the team and make history,” said UBCO team leader and third-year engineering student Gaelen Smith.
Dressed in cow costumes to liven up the event and provide some laughs, the 23-strong UBCO team will take on 16 other universities and more than 350 students – all wearing their own unique and fun costumes.
“We’re going to be working together for about nine or 10 months to build and design our sled from scratch,” Smith added.
“It’s really interesting because we can use all our practical knowledge and it’s always cool to see what other teams are doing because we have our ideas and they have theirs. Plus, it’s always fun to meet other students from all over the country.”
Smith shares that Castanet Race Day will feature three different events including the Braking Competition, the Steering Competition and the King of the Hill Competition which will be the main event of the evening.
“I think we’re going to do pretty well in the King of the Hill competition. Our skis are a little extra fast this year, we have special wax on them so I think we’ll do pretty well.”
The skis are the only part of the toboggan that is made of concrete, while the frame is made of different types of metal. Now, teams finally have a chance to put their ideas to the test.
“It’s a huge opportunity because in our courses everything we do is theoretical. That gives us the opportunity to actually apply that. This gives us all the opportunity to put all our knowledge and skills into practice,” said Smith.
“That’s huge for co-ops, they love to see these on CVs and it shows that we actually understand how to design something that we’re going to build. It’s one of the biggest things that has helped me in my university career so far.”
UBCO will be heading up the mountain this weekend, with the event taking place Friday through Sunday.