Anyone wishing to race in this year’s Sonny Samuelson Bobsled Race should note changes to the rules. (Submitted)

Big changes to Sonny Samuelson Bobsled Race at Rossland Winter Carnival

Biggest change: registration and inspection night is one week earlier on Thursday, Jan. 18.

  • Jan. 10, 2018 12:00 a.m.

Everyone’s favourite high-speed, high-adrenalin Winter Carnival event is back — with a few updates.

The biggest change is that registration and inspection night, and the Bobsled Calcutta Auction, will be held one week earlier on Thursday, Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. at the Legion.

The Sonny Samuelson Bobsled Race has been a highlight of Rossland Winter Carnival for as long as anyone can remember.

Build a homemade bobsled out of whatever you can find and race it down an icy street at up to 85 km/h? Sounds crazy, yet year after year thrill-seeking locals and visitors say, “Sign me up!”

In fact, numbers have been increasing each year, with 2017 boasting a record-breaking 43 teams.

We have seen sleds made from a Vespa scooter, a pink canoe, a hollowed-out log, a bed, and even a piano. The only specs being that the sled had to have brakes and steering — which, like the sleds themselves, came in a variety of forms.

This year, the rules are tightening up a bit to say that the brakes must be able to lift the sled off the ground and that no right-left independent braking systems will be allowed.

As always, helmets are mandatory, and there are no sharp things allowed to be sticking out of your sled.

“We are working hard, and committed to making this event as safe as possible for everyone involved — sledders and spectators alike,” says Kelly Acheson, bobsled organizer. “There will be some new ‘no-go’ zones for spectators along the course, and we are asking for everyone to help us out by cooperating and respecting these closures.”

All participants and their sleds are required to attend a registration and inspection night prior to being admitted in the race.

New this year — pre-registration is required and can be done online. The link can be found at in the “Event Rules” tab.

Also, registration and inspection night will be held one week earlier than usual, on Thursday, Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. at the Legion.

Along with registration night comes a relatively new event, the Bobsled Calcutta Auction. This event is open to the public and has grown exponentially in its five years with Carnival.

“The first year we held the Calcutta, we had about 20 sledders in attendance and the winner made about $37,” says Tara Kowalchuk, Calcutta organizer. “Last year we had over 100 people, sledders and public, and the top prize was over $600.”

The way this event works is we auction off each bobsled team to the highest bidder, then if the sled you buy comes in first, second, or third or a mystery placing (which is drawn on race day) you win a percentage of the auction money.

The Boomtown Garter Girls will also be performing at the Calcutta, so come get an early start to Carnival — have a drink, bid on a sled, and watch the girls kick a leg to kick off 2018.

For a full schedule of Winter Carnival events, event rules and registration, or to volunteer please visit

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