Sixty members of the Western Engineering Toboggan Team are heading to Edmonton this weekend to compete in the annual concrete toboggan competition.
The toboggans have to follow certain guidelines in order to be considered for the competition.
“As far as the rules and restrictions for the toboggan go, [the] toboggan must be under 300 pounds [and] has to hold five riders,” explained Caitlin Stauft, co-captain for Western’s team.
“The whole entire running surface must be made of concrete, and it has to have a bar that will withstand an 80 km per hour crash. [It’s] also judged on design aspects, like having the ability to break and steer,” she continued.
The WETT toboggan follows all these guidelines, but in order to finish better than last year, some tweaks had to be made to the design of the sled, according to Stauft.
“We switched our frame from what it was last year — steel — to aluminum. Aluminum weighs about a third of the weight that the steel does. We also wanted to go with a large concrete slab four feet long by two and a half feet wide, as opposed to previous years where we used four smaller skis,” Stauft said.
The race does not just help students represent their respective schools, but it also helps them put their knowledge of engineering to use.
“This race helps us to convert the information we learned in the classroom and implement it into building and doing things in real life,” Stauft said.