Western Engineering Toboggan Team brings home top prize

Western Engineering Toboggan Team

The Western Engineering Toboggan Team (WETT) are this year’s champions of the Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race (GNCTR). This year's GNCTR was hosted in Kelowna, British Columbia. 24 members of WETT were selected to travel to Kelowna for the multi-day event.

The GNCTR is the largest and longest-running engineering student competition in Canada. Student teams are tasked with designing and building a bespoke toboggan that can safely hold five riders, complete with concrete skis, a metal roll cage, and steering and braking systems, all within a 350lbs weight limit. 

“This was a hard-fought victory that was only possible because of the work and dedication of our 100-plus undergraduate engineering students over the past nine months and the incredible support from faculty, staff, sponsors and alumni,” says Logan Pankiw, Co-Captain of WETT and fifth-year Western Engineering student in civil and environmental engineering.

This is the third time WETT has won the GNCTR, winning it last in 2016. In addition to bringing home the top prize, WETT placed in the top three in most categories across the competition, including four first-place finishes for best theoretical toboggan, most innovative design, best concrete reinforcement, and best geometrical profile and formwork. 

“WETT should be very proud of this incredible accomplishment,” says Ken Coley, dean of Western Engineering. “Student clubs and teams have always been a highlight of the learning experience at Western Engineering and WETT has represented this faculty brilliantly."

Innovation was the main focus for WETT this year, as this was the first in-person competition in three years. They unveiled their award-winning pre-stressed concrete skis, a competition first, thanks to the continued research and development.

Their toboggan, which was based on the theme of the "Pirates of the Cariboggan", also featured an aerodynamic frame design, rack and pinion steering, a spring-loaded drop brake, and a recycled leaf-spring suspension system. The majority of the toboggan's parts were manufactured in-house by WETT's talented students.

“Logan and I are incredibly proud of our team's hard work this year,” says Jess Van Den Heuvel, WETT Co-Captain and fifth-year Western Engineering student in civil and environmental engineering. “Looking forward, we aim to establish Western as the school to beat in coming years."