That Time I went to the National Toboggan Championships

One of the things I love about going to a small school in northern Maine is that it encourages you to branch out and get off campus. Don’t get me wrong—I love recognizing, if not knowing, most people I pass every day on campus. But, it’s also nice to know that if you have the urge to try something off campus, things at home aren’t going to change much.

Maine is beautiful and every season brings new types of fun. While it’s long (so long), the winter is quite beautiful and has so much to offer. It brings skiing, sledding, and skating. This year my bed faces the window, and I have often opened my eyes in the morning to see huge snowflakes swirling slowly to the ground. Those are the days you know are going to be great. 

Anyway, back to the tobogganing championship. There’s a town on the coast of Maine called Camden that I would highly recommend visiting. I went this fall to visit an old friend and she told me about this toboggan championship. Now, it is really called the national toboggan championship but it’s just a bunch of people who do it for fun, in costume, many intoxicated. Upon hearing that such a thing existed, I decided I had to do it with my roommates. Why not? Besides the obvious hilarity factor, it would be fun to escape Colby’s bubble and expose ourselves to what Maine has to offer. 

We unloaded the car in our cow and dragon onesies, hats, and ski goggles. We were feeling so cool and so fun. There were people in the car to our left with their kids all bundled up and a dog on a leash and there were people in the car behind us dressed as grapes. We walked to registration, used the porta-potties on the way, and waited in line between some people dressed as elves and astronauts. We registered and then went back to the car to regroup and eat a couple pretzel nuggets. Mostly to eat pretzel nuggets. 

As we walked back towards the madness, there was a costume parade going on, complete with steel drums. Embracing the spirit of the day, we just jumped in and started dancing. The best part about this entire excursion was that no one cared how weird you acted, we all were just having the time of our lives.

After all of the dancing, we get in line for our race, toboggan in tow. The line of racers went all the way to the lake beyond the finish line. It took so long to get to the top, but every person in line was so excited, it made waiting fun. When we make all the way up, all that is in front of us is a platform and a group of guys in beards. Before we know what’s happening, the bearded men just grab the toboggan from us like it’s the lightest thing they’ve lifted. They place it in the track and we pack in, arranging ourselves in the formation we had planned after watching previous racers go down. We tell the bearded guys it’s our first time and they’re visibly excited for us. One of my roommates reminds us not to scream because screaming could somehow slow us down. Suddenly we’re shoved to the front of the holding track and dropped.

Pro tip: Definitely scream. And don’t stop smiling. As I’m writing this I’m smiling. We were going so fast. You could feel people lining the track and hear cheering but everything was blurry. We never wanted to stop.

I cannot talk up this experience enough. It was so Maine, so exhilarating, so wonderful to be with fun people. Email me to carpool next year. But seriously, do.