This weekend, UBC Okanagan’s School of Engineering is hosting the Great Nothern Concrete Toboggan race at Big White, which is a multi-day event made to showcase the craftsmanship of hand-made concrete sleds.
The race, first established in 1975, will showcase engineering teams’ creation of a custom-built toboggan that is capable of steering, braking and safely carrying five people down the mountain. The toboggan, equipped with concrete skis and a metal roll cage, must weigh in at less than 350 pounds.
According to event co-chair Kyle Lessoway, the competition is unique in that it “adds a spirited side to the event with themes designed into the toboggans.” This year’s theme is cows.
For months, students have been preparing for the event by preparing budgets, writing funding proposals and engaging with stakeholders.
“The event also allows competitors to also practice their soft skills such as communicating with industry partners and members of the public who are not engineering experts,” added Lessoway.
Race day is Saturday, Jan. 28 at Big White’s Tube Town, while Friday will see a concrete testing demonstration at the university’s campus and a Tech-Ex display at Delta Hotels by Marriot Grand Okanagan Resort.
Teams will be judged on a number of categories, including design, ingenuity, innovation and performance. All sleds must also pass a safety inspection.
The UBC Okanagan team has had previous success in the race, finishing second in 2015, which was the last time it was hosted in Kelowna.
More information about the event can be found at www.gnctr2023.ca.