It may feel like spring, but a winter tradition will still go on in Camden, Maine this week. The annual Winterfest will still have a parade, party, and the main event: the National Toboggan Championships at the Snow Bowl.
“The rest of the week, we are going to be making ice and snow,” said Camden Community Development Director Karen Brace. “Best case scenario: people see the snow here, and realize the championship race is on.”
Brace said the Winterfest typically attracts 6,000-8,000 visitors each year, which doubles Camden’s population.
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“This is the biggest winter event that we do,” she said.
They have been able to take man-made snow from the nearby Snow Bowl ski resort and build a snow terrain in Harbor Park, so the freestyle skiing event could still take place this week. The snow sculpting competition had to be postponed, and is scheduled to take place later this month.
Workers at the Snow Bowl are optimistic that conditions will be ripe for toboggan racing this weekend. “Chute master” Stewart Young plans to pack the chute with man-made snow from the ski area on Thursday.
He assures that the ice is thick enough on Hosmer Pond to support the racers.
“The other night, I got my crystal ball out and did a talk with the toboggan gods,” said Young. “They assured me that the U.S. nationals will prevail.”
Hundreds of toboggan racers come out each year to compete.