How to Toboggan Like a Mainer

Holly Anderson from the annual U.S. National Toboggan Championship in Camden shares how to fly down the chute.

First, consider your apparel. This is not a fashion show. No Gucci,” says Anderson, who has worked at the Camden Snow Bowl since 2000. You want to dress warmly, in layers, and consider your feet. Think Carhartt, Dickies, practical Maine wear. When loading, do not sit knees to backs but lay as flat as you can on the sled. “If you’re sitting up like you’re driving a car, you haven’t done this before.” Wrap your legs around the person in front of you—the point is to go as fast as you can, and if you sit up, you create air blockage. “At the Camden Snow Bowl, hundredths of a second make a difference between who gets first place and who doesn’t get a trophy at all,” says Anderson. When you go down the hill, you want to squeeze your whole body, keeping your muscles tight the entire time. The Snow Bowl’s chute is made of hard ice, so you don’t want to fling an elbow out and catch it on the side. And while it might seem like a good idea to stick your foot out or drag your hands to slow you down at the bottom so you’re not drifting all the way across the pond, you can catch something that’s in the ice and be seriously injured. “Just stay on and enjoy the ride,” says Anderson, “and have a nice leisurely walk back talking about what you’re going to do better on your next run.”

The 2022 U.S. National Toboggan Championships are scheduled for Feb. 11–13 at the Camden Snow Bowl.

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