GNCTR 2019 Wrap-Up

Written by: Melissa Lau

The Forty-Fifth Annual Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race has come to a close and the University of Toronto Concrete Toboggan Team has returned home from five fantastic days in Edmonton.

At the close of the event, we joyfully accepted two awards: “Best Steering Design” award and the “Most Innovative Design” award. This year’s design featured an innovative fully enclosed carbon fibre monocoque shell, an all ski steering system design never before seen at competition, a bear claw locked brake plate actuated by a spring, and skis with elf toe front and rills to effectively minimize snow displacement.

Please see below for a day-to-day break down of our five days at GNCTR in Edmonton!



Day 1: Opening Ceremonies
The team started its journey to Edmonton early Wednesday morning from Toronto Pearson airport. Although tired from the limited to no sleep the night before, the team was excited to finally be in Edmonton and could not wait for the competition to begin. The first event of the competition was the opening ceremonies. All 24 teams from across North America gathered together for a night of fun with welcoming speeches from the organizing committee and local partners. All competing teams wore their theme costumes and performed an introductory spirit skit that went along with their theme. This year, our theme was Neanderbogg: 10,000 Before Concrete. The whole team was decked out in prehistoric Stone Age style costumes and performed a Neanderthal style spirit skit for the spirit judges.

Day 2: Competitor Interaction Day

Competitor interaction day is all about meeting others from different schools and working together while having fun. The day started off with an Amazing Race style event at Edmonton’s most iconic landmark, the West Edmonton Mall. Separated into various teams mixed with different schools, teams had to complete multiple challenges to complete the race. In the afternoon, all competitors then headed to the World Waterpark at West Edmonton Mall for some wet and wild fun! Throughout the day, teams were also judged on their spirit through general inter-team interactions and fun spirit challenges.



Day 3: Technical Exhibition Day

The technical exhibition (Tech-Ex) serves as the chance for teams to show off their designs to both other schools and the public. Each team sets up a booth to exhibit their toboggan and the technical information relating to it. On this day, the team had various judging evaluations and presentations. Our team started off the day with the safety evaluation. At this station, assigned safety judges weighed the toboggan and evaluated the safety of the toboggan to go down the hill. Our toboggan weighed 289 pounds (300lb is the limit) and received many compliments from the judges who were impressed with our design. Our concrete and mechanical designs leads also participated in formal technical presentations where they presented our team’s design to a panel of industry professionals. Other evaluations during Tech-Ex included a spirit evaluation and an evaluation of the team’s exhibit and the information it displayed.

Day 4: Race Day & Closing Ceremonies
Race day! The pinnacle event of the competition. Even though it was -30°C at Sunridge Ski Hill, our team was very excited to race and show off our toboggan. The first run was to judge the toboggans speed and breaking capabilities. Our toboggan made it down the hill with the third fastest time and was successfully able to deploy the braking system. The second run was the slalom, where our toboggan’s steering capabilities were judged. Once all teams completed their two runs, qualifying teams moved on compete in the King of the Hill tournament. Our team qualified for the tournament and completed two runs but were unable to compete at the semi-finals due to issues with one of our skis. However, our team was extremely happy to have placed fourth overall in the King of the Hill race! The final event of the competition was the closing ceremonies. The closing ceremonies evening consisted of speeches from title sponsors and the distribution of awards to the competing teams, and the ‘passing of the torch’ to the GNCTR 2020 Organizing Committee. We are happy to share that our team won two awards, Best Steering Design & Most Innovative Design!