SAIT’s concrete toboggan team ready to go downhill fast

The SAIT toboggan team is getting ready to go downhill fast, once again.

This will be the 44th year SAIT will be competing in the Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race in Waterloo, Ont. Jan. 24-28, 2018.

“SAIT won it last year, and the desire to do it again is what drives our design team day in and day out.” Abigail Watt the President of the SAIT GNCTR team.

The GNCTR was founded by SAIT, University of Calgary, University of Alberta and NAIT in 1974. SAIT was the first school to win the competition in 1975.

Each school must build a toboggan in which the running surface is made completely of concrete.

Teams are judged on many components of their toboggan such as braking, steering, speed and overall performance.

Each team races its toboggan in various speed and slalom runs.

The competition closes out with the notorious ‘King of the Hill’ race in which the fastest toboggan wins. SAIT won this award last year.

Abigail Watt, the president of SAIT’s GNCTR team in Calgary Alta. Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017. (Photo by Amanda Vi G/The Press)

SAIT’s team has 25 members who have been working hard at revamping their toboggan, which they have named Boggan Powers.

Watt is a second-year Mechanical Engineering Technology student and is entering her second year on the team as president.

“We’ve completely remodelled the brake deployment system to account for the faster track this year, and our biggest goal is to make a fast stop across the finish line, as we’ve struggled with that in the past,” Watt said in an interview.

“We’re also working with new materials in our suspension system and concrete skis, which should help our run times on the hill.” she said.

SAIT’s Concrete Toboggan braking system for their upcoming competition in Calgary Alta. Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017. (Photo by Amanda Vi G/The Press)

The competition has many rules and guidelines around the sled competition.

For example, sleds must weigh less than 350 lb,, the sled must be able to carry five riders, and must have a structure capable of acting as a roll cage. Every year the team must build a completely new toboggan.

“I would say the toughest rule to abide by is generally the weight.

“We have to be very accurate with our weight for all the different components because the last thing we want is to be sanding down bolts to try to make it within the range,” Watt said.

SAIT won it last year, and the desire to do it again is what drives our design team day in and day out. -Abigail Watt

The competition has 28 different awards, such as excellence in safety, best theoretical toboggan, best braking design, most improved toboggan, best steering design, most innovative design and of course the overall winner, which goes to the team which has the highest total score.

“The largest incentive is the King of the Hill award. Whoever wins that essentially wins the main event of the competition. “ Watt said.

SAIT’s concrete toboggan ready to race at the GNCTR next year. in Calgary on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017. (Photo by Amanda Vi G/The Press)
About Amanda Gladstone 3 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Amanda Gladstone worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2017-18 academic year.