A team of civil engineering students from University of Calgary won the 26th Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race (GNCTR) – a first for the campus since 1989. The
“Ghost-boggan” sled posted the fastest time at 10.3 seconds with a top speed of 45 km per hour, and the best braking system, winning the Calgary Cup and defeating more than 20 other teams from across Canada and the northern United States. In addition to speed, competitors are judged on a number of factors, including: concrete mix, brake design, overall sled design, sled aesthetics, shortest braking distance and the most spectacular run. In addition, the sled can weigh a maximum of 300 lbs, all surfaces touching the snow must be concrete, and a safety roll bar and braking system must form part of the design. Teams are also required to present a technical paper and to exhibit the creative aspects of their sled design.
Third and fourth year civil engineering students formed a team totaling 33 members for the competition. Spending only $500 on their sled, the team used the Ghostbusters movie as its theme and included costumes and an exhibit which recreated the Ghostbuster hall, complete with working fire pole. “It felt good to beat the big teams from down East with their $5,000 toboggans,” says team member Scott MacDougall, a fourth-year civil engineering student. “Waterloo has a project management course dedicated to designing a toboggan.”
First held in Red Deer in 1975, the GNCTR is the oldest and largest engineering student competition in Canada. As of 2016, the University of Calgary has won the competition five times: in 1989, 2000, 2004, 2011 and 2015; and has hosted the event four time, most recently in 2012.