Well, What is GNCTR?
The Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race is the largest and longest running engineering student competition in Canada. The first GNCTR in 1975 was organized by Dr. S. H. Simmonds, the president of the Alberta chapter of the American Concrete Institute. Only 4 schools from Alberta took part in the 1975 competition. Today, the competition draws crowds of 450+ students from universities all across the country, as well as the occasional international entry. It serves as an excellent opportunity for students to develop and showcase their innovation and technical skills.
The location of the competition changes each year, with a different group of GNCTR Alumni taking on the immense responsibility of organizing the competition. Typically the location of GNCTR alternates between eastern and western Canada, with the Manitoba/Ontario border serving as the dividing line. This time competitors will descend upon Kelowna, BC in January of 2023 to carry on GNCTR's long standing traditions of spirit and innovation at first in-person competition in the past two years.
Okay, Great. What's a Concrete Toboggan?
Competing teams will each design and build a bespoke toboggan capable steering, braking, and most importantly, capable of safely carrying five people down the mountain. The concrete part of a concrete toboggan is the skis, or any other surface in constant contact with the snow. To top it off, the completed toboggan with concrete skis, (typically) metal roll cage, and the steering and braking mechanisms each team creates must weigh in at less than 350 pounds.
Each toboggan is judged on a large number of categories, such as the design of the toboggan as a whole, the level of ingenuity and innovation, and how well it performs on race day. Each toboggan must pass a safety inspection prior to racing, and any entries that fail will not be permitted to take part in the race.