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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

World Class Toboggan Run in Camden, Maine

Try to name another sport where you can win a National Championship without any prior experience? Just ask the two-man team from Tennessee who came in 2nd place at the U.S. National Toboggan Championships in 2005 without ever seeing snow before their arrival at the Camden Snow Bowl on the mid-Maine coast. This year marks the 21st anniversary of the event, which will be held February 11-13. Even if you’re not one of the 400-plus entrants, by all means try the thrilling chute, open throughout the winter. Originally built in 1936 and reopened in 1990, this two-foot wide track will have the whole family whooping it up as they drop off the side of the mountain at 30-plus miles per hour. Cost of the ride is a mere dollar if you rent a toboggan, half that price if you bring your own.

Camden Snow Bowl is the oldest ski area in the state and the only one still owned and operated by the town recreation department. Ride the double chair to the top of 1300-foot Ragged Mountain and you’ll soon understand the allure. The smell of early morning powder is overpowered by a blast of salty mist from the sea. Yes, this Maine ski area is the only spot in America where you can carve your turn and look at an expanse of ocean. Below is the rock-strewn harbor of Camden, a favorite anchorage of yachters come summer, but now only visited by fishermen hauling in their winter catch of shrimp. Close proximity to the Atlantic also means that the weather can be dicey. An early morning fog rolls in and the snow turns to cornmeal. That 440-foot-long ice coated toboggan chute is the only reason the Snow Bowl continues to thrive.

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/18/11 at 02:00 PM
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Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk. is an Austin-Lehman Adventure's Top 125 Best Travel Blog Semi-Finalist

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