Archive 60
Archived 02/12/2010
Notes: From 02/04/2010 Issue; published courtsy The Free Press, Rockland, Maine,

2010 U.S. Nationals taking place this weekend

Story courtsy The Free Press,

     The 20th anniversary running of the U.S. National Toboggan Championships at the Camden Snow Bowl - the only organized wooden toboggan race in the country and maybe the world - takes to the chute this weekend.

The Jack R. Williams Chute, where speeds up to 40 mph are attained, is 400 feet long and 70 feet in elevation. The run-out is onto frozen Hosmer Pond, and if there is clear ice on the pond, some sleds will go the entire way across, about 1/4 of a mile.

In 1990 Jack Williams, longtime Camden resident, Snow Bowl supporter and retired founder of Knox Semiconductor, suggested rebuilding the toboggan chute, which was originally built in 1936, but then abandoned over the years. He headed up the project, and the chute was finished in January 1991 and named in his honor.

On February 24, 1991, the first "U.S. National" Toboggan Championships were held at the Snow Bowl. Since no official protests were lodged over that first year's tongue-in-check grandiose title, the name stuck and attendance grew and grew, so that now the "Nationals" has pretty much grown into its grandiloquent name - this year about 400 teams from around the country will compete.

As always, the event attracts both secretly competitive teams, fun-lovers in a variety of crazy costumes, and all sorts of people in between. Two-person, three-person and four-person teams compete. Each team is allowed two qualifying runs; the fastest time of either run determines which teams are eligible for the finals. The finals are on Sunday, with the top 30 two- and three-person teams and the top 75 four-person teams competing for first, second and third place in each division, along with fastest all-female team, fastest kids' team, fastest high school team, fastest college team, oldest team, and, of course, team with the best costumes.

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the U.S. National Toboggan Championships, there will be a race to determine a new reigning World Champion four-person team. Teams invited to compete in this 2010 World Championship runoff include previous years' winners.

The weekend isn't just about sliding down a chute of ice, however: there's also a Chili & Chowder Challenge, pancake breakfasts, a spaghetti supper, winter crafts and skills demonstrations, more food, tubing, and skiing and snowboarding, too. On Saturday night, February 6, the 20th anniversary of the Toboggan Nationals will be marked with fireworks over Camden Harbor at 6 p.m., and a performance by Audio Body at the Camden Opera House at 7:30 p.m. (for more information, go to

Rotary’s annual Chili & Chowder Challenge Takes Place February 6 at the Snow Bowl
Once again the West Bay Rotary Club is sponsoring the annual Chili &Chowder Challenge during the 20th annual National Toboggan Championships. Everyone is invited to sample the chili and chowder and cast their vote for the best.

The Challenge will be held at the Camden Snow Bowl during the toboggan competition on Saturday, February 6, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission donation of $8 for adults and $5 for children earns a lot of food, so best to arrive hungry.

Challenging for honors in chili will be Cody's Original Roadhouse, Cappy's Chowder House, Rob Franco, Home Kitchen Café and the Black Bull Tavern. Chowder challenge contenders are Prism Glass Gallery & Café, Graffam's Seafood Market, Quarry Hill, Maine Coast Catering and the Boat House. And there may be a few more surprise entrants.

Proceeds from the Challenge will be divided between the Camden Snow Bowl and the West Bay Rotary in support of local civic charitable activities.

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