The Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race was conceived in the spring of 1972. The Alberta chapter of the American Concrete Institute put forth an idea to sponsor an event that would be Canada’s answer to the Concrete Canoe Race held annually in the United States. After some debate over what would be a suitable alternative, it was decided that the most suited vehicle would be a concrete toboggan. After all, what’s more Canadian than snow? The idea was pitched to civil engineering students at the Universities of Alberta and Calgary who quickly became intrigued with the opportunity to combine design skills learned in class with a fun construction project.
In the winter of 1972 the first GNCTR was held. The event was deemed a failure by the ACI and cancelled; the students were left in the cold. The students that participated in the first GNCTR banded together to host a student organized GNCTR.
In 1973 a set of rules was developed for the very first GNCTR. Other schools were invited to participate and the first GNCTR saw teams from the University of Alberta, University of Calgary, NAIT and SAIT. The race itself was held in Red Deer in early 1975. Each team was allowed three runs down a snowy hill and the best time determined the winner. The first GNCTR champion was one of the four teams sent by SAIT with a run speed of 50 km/h and a total time of just under 10 seconds. To this day GNCTR remains a completely student run competition.
While the rules may have changed over the years, the main objective of the race remains the same. GNCTR aims to challenge its participants to use learned skills, to be creative, to aim for innovative designs and construction techniques as well as to develop a sense of camaraderie between engineering students from across Canada, and sometimes even from the US and Europe.
For more information on the history of GNCTR, as well as previous event hosts and champions visit The GNCTR Wiki Page.
Past University of Calgary Teams
2012 – You Ain’t Nothin’ But A Hound Bogg!
2011 – Sledementary My Dear Watson!
2010 – Night of the Living Sled
2009 – Save a horse, ride a boggan
2008 – Rocky Balboggan
2007 – Chickboggan
2006 – Mounty-my-boggan
2005 – Fireboggan
2004 – Chuckboggan
2003 – The Fast & The Furious
2002 – Locomotion
2001 – Underseaboggan
2000 – Ghostboggan
1999 – Heaven & Hell
1998 – Snow Angels