Back in 1992, when the town of Camden was bringing the Snow Bowl ski area and its toboggan chute back to life, Dave Nazaroff and his wife Maureen decided to try making old-fashioned wooden toboggans.

The Nazaroffs own the Penobscot Co., a construction company in Rockport, and they had never before made a toboggan in their lives. (“Hey kids, let’s put on a show!”) They placed an ad in the local newspaper advertising handmade toboggans for people to try out on the town’s 400-foot long toboggan chute, which gives brave souls a hair-raising, gravity-fed, 9-second ride before spitting them out onto frozen Hosmer Pond. A week before Christmas, the Nazaroffs received their first order for four toboggans.

Then they got to work figuring out how to make a toboggan, picking up some books on steaming wood, and talking with craftsmen who made canoes. Their gamble paid off. Their toboggan-making adventure turned into the Camden Toboggan Co., and Maureen Nazaroff estimates they have produced 550 toboggan sleds in the ensuing years.

The sleds, now handcrafted by Dave Reed, one of the Nazaroff’s employees, are made from ash logs that are sawn at a local mill. Many of them have been used in the U.S. National Toboggan Championships, held every February at the Snow Bowl. (This year’s competition will be held Feb. 9-11.) It’s a fun amateur competition where people dress up like bananas and have team names such as “Mitten Sniffers 3” and “Not Fast, Just Furious.”

“I would venture to say that maybe half the toboggans in the race are from us,” Maureen Nazaroff said.

She said sometimes people order a toboggan on the fly, such as a Pennsylvania couple who called recently to say they would be in Camden during the national championship weekend “and they thought it would be a hoot to do it.”


Nazaroff is always answering questions from her customers about how they can make their toboggan go faster: “They say, ‘I want a winning sled.’ I say, ‘They’re all winning sleds.’ ”

The toboggans have been sold to people in Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, and even southern California. When a curious Nazaroff asked the Californians where they planned to use their toboggan, “they said ‘Oh no, we’re not going to use it. We’re going to hang it on our wall.’ ”

“We’ve been asked to start mass producing them,” Nazaroff said, “but we like the one-on-one with our customers.”

The toboggans are individually numbered, come in three sizes, and cost $250 for a 6-foot sled, $300 for an 8-foot sled, and $350 for a 10-foot sled. To order them, call the Camden Toboggan Co. at (207) 236-6680 or email them at [email protected]


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