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Engineering students apply concrete lessons to toboggan contest

Participants at the 39th annual Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race had full-face helmets and loads of energy, even if the vehicles didn't quite perform as expected.

Toboggan builders blame snow conditions, not sled materials, for slow runs

Canadian engineering students descended upon Mount Seymour for the competition 2:10

Participants at the 39th annual Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race had full-face helmets and loads of energy, even if the vehicles didn't quite perform as expected.

The annual toboggan "race" is the longest continuously-running student engineering competition in Canada, and this year UBC engineering students hosted the event on the North Shore's Mount Seymour.

The rules are simple: Design and build a toboggan under 300 lbs that fits five riders, has a roll-bar, and has runners made of concrete. Then, try to get the contraption across the finish line of a 200-metre-long course.

When the CBC's Bob Nixon visited the slopes Friday, the teams seemed to be having trouble getting the concrete sleds all the way down.

In 1988, the last time this competition was held in the Lower Mainland, many toboggans made the run without a problem.

What changed? The experts say B.C.'s wet snow is not the same as the snow the students trained on in colder, drier parts of Canada.

With files from the CBC's Bob Nixon