Originating at the University of Alberta in 1974, the Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race (GNCTR) is an annual four day event, where universities across North America construct a toboggan with a braking and steering system as well as a running surface fully made of concrete, that can safely transport five students down a hill. This competition incorporates many aspects including concept, construction, design, management, technical communication, and most importantly teamwork.


Teams are tasked with the design and construction of a toboggan that meets the competition specifications.  These specifications include material, geometric and safety restrictions that must be met in order to qualify for the competition without penalties or disqualification.  In order to meet these competition guidelines teams must provide a detailed technical report. This report outlines the sled design, including dimensions and materials used in construction, and a comprehensive stress analysis to ensure the sled can resist the expected loads during a crash scenario to guarantee the safety of all five riders during each race. The competition is based on a system that awards points for the technical report, sustainable design, numerous performance parameters during race day events, as well as the overall spirit of each team throughout the entirety of the competition.  The University of Waterloo will be hosting GNCTR 2018 where 30 dedicated and enthusiastic Queen’s students will present and race our sled among the competition entrants.


At the 2017 competition in Manitoba Queen’s won 1st place overall as well as numerous other awards which are all listed below.

  • 1st Overall Team
  • Most Sustainable Design
  • Best Performing Toboggan
  • Most Improved Team
  • Most Spectacular Run
  • 3rd Concrete Mix Design
  • 3rd Overall Toboggan Design
  • 1st Overall Racing Results
  • 2nd Fastest Toboggan
  • 2nd Technical Display
  • 3rd Overall Technical Reports & Presentations

Check out the race that won us ‘Most Spectacular Run’ when we come back from a slow start.



Race days consist of different events that test the design of each teams toboggan.  Each year, competition organizers choose which races will take place.  Past competitions have selected events including Drag strip, Giant Slalom, and King of the Hill formats. Points for performance are awarded to teams for numerous categories including braking, speed, steering, and overall safety. Results are posted live for spectators to follow and cheer on their favourite teams!


During the technical exhibit teams showcase both their chosen theme and the toboggan.  This event is another opportunity to gain points during the judging session. The doors are then opened to the public and industry professionals to see the toboggans first hand before race day and interact with the students who built them. Queen’s  has continually introduced new and innovative ideas at each competition.

Spirit plays a large part in the GNCTR competition.  Each year teams choose a unique theme to which costumes, technical display and toboggan must adhere.  Points are awarded to the teams that show enthusiasm and spirit for their selected theme and sportsmanship towards fellow teammates and competitors alike throughout the competition.