The Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race (GNCTR) is an engineering design competition dating back to 1975. As the largest student run engineering competition in Canada, each year, GNCTR brings together over 450 engineering students from universities across the continent to showcase their skills in design, creative exhibits, technical writing, and project management while showing off their school spirit.


The rules are simple: Design and build a toboggan capable of safely carrying five riders down a hill, with running surfaces made of concrete. Design and fabrication take place over the course of the year leading up to the competition in early February. The 3 day competition consists of a Technical Exhibition (Tech Ex), a day of races, and a whole lot of fun!

The Tech Ex provides an opportunity to show off their toboggans in an interactive display based on the team’s theme. This event is open to the public and allows many opportunities for learning from peers and networking with industry professionals. Designs are presented to a panel of professionals, and are judged based on a variety of factors including concrete mix composition, structural and mechanical design, and even aesthetic appeal.


On Race Day, teams head to a nearby ski slope for the hotly anticipated races. Teams begin by completing speed and slalom runs, and are judged on time, braking distance, steering, and top speed. In the afternoon , toboggans are pitted against each other in a sudden-death “King of the Hill” tournament. The races always attract plenty of public spectators and are often covered by national media.

Teams are also judged on their spirit! A panel of spirit judges assigns points based on each team’s costumes, event participation, cheers, and competitor interaction. The first day of the competition consists of a number of activities designed to facilitate interschool interaction.