The long-awaited moment came. Would we be the first team to make history?
Last year, SAIT took on 8 of Canada's top 10 engineering schools (as per Maclean's magazine) and beat all of them on the hill. This year, we had a fighting chance to be the first team to win it two years in a row.
As it turned out, our biggest obstacle would be snow conditions. Most universities had prepared for a hard, crusty ski surface. Instead, we had 7°C and rain. The snow (fake, so yes, it existed, thankfully) was slushy and thick. It sunk many hopes and dreams — literally — as 300-350lb toboggans sunk into the slushy mess and ended up coming to a halt before the finish line. Still, that did not dampen spirits.
SAIT ran fourth and was the second team to make it down the hill, clocking a 25 km/h speed, making it the third-fastest toboggan on the hill. Unfortunately, we barely crawled over the line in some races, but again, we still had a blast. At one point, the front of our toboggan crossed the line and came to a stop, our back end still hanging on the track. Beside us, the University of Toronto finally came to the finish line, passing fully over. The judges had to confer on who technically won and who was disqualified. After what felt like an eternity, SAIT was declared the winner. We went on to the next round… and watched another institute zoom past us.
In the end, the University of Calgary took home the Fastest Toboggan award, but due to unforeseen cracking, their ski and their backup ski blew out and they couldn't finish the race. Of all the students, they had the most incredible run. Lawrence Tech from the States ended up taking home King of the Hill, and we couldn't have "lost" to a more worthy competitor, coming back from a disappointing DNF last season. University of Toronto, the team we faced off with last year, came in second.
The third place was not a disappointment. Our brakes worked, and we were ecstatic. We stood by the sidelines and chanted, "Three time's the charm! Third time's the charm!" We even went so far as to refuse to exit the toboggan at the finish line after our final run just to deploy the brake one more time. We couldn't have been more thrilled to come in third. We put Alberta on the podium for the race, we were the only western team to reach Top 3, and we did our design team proud.
Historical or not, who could ask for more?