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2018 Canton Winter Olympics: Recap

2018 Canton Winter Olympics: Recap

By Emlyn Crocker
February 12, 2018

Do you love getting outside in the winter? If so, you might just have what it takes to be a North Country Olympian! As winter enthusiasts all around the world prepared to kick off the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, Korea, Nature Up North and the Canton Recreation Department teamed up to challenge North Country residents with a local challenge... the first annual Canton Winter Olympics. 

The series took place February 9th-11th, ringing in the first weekend of Canton's popular Winterfest Celebration, with Cardboard Sled Racing, Snow Sculpture, and Cross Country Ski Racing. Below are highlights and winners from each event. Thanks to everyone who took this opportunity to get outside with us, we loved your enthusiasm and are already looking forward to next year!

CARDBOARD SLED RACING - Friday, February 9th, Bend in the River Park

Maybe this is the first time you've heard of cardboard sled racing, or maybe you're an old hat. Either way, it's not likely something you'll soon forget, especially if you made it to the race at Bend in the River Park this year. Our emphasis for this event was on fun, creativity, and the unexpected joys of recycling. Thanks to St. Lawrence University Dining Center and Mack's Maple Supply for donating an endless supply of cardboard.

sled building workshop

Teams of 2-4 got together to build their own sleds for the competition, some in advance, some the day of the event. Each sled was required to carry one pilot, and materials were limited to cardboard, tape, glue, paint, and plastic bags. 

Cardboard Sled Races

At 4 pm, participants headed out to the racing hill to assemble. Teams raced in heats of two to four sleds by their division (Youth, College and Family). The results are below, but honestly, we think every one who made it down the hill is a winner!

Youth Division – Thomas & Daniel Creurer

Family Division – Lily, Elena, & Tim Abplanalp

College Division – Michael Madeiros & Maxwell Gardner (SUNY Potsdam)

Most Creative – Wyatt, Colette, & Phil LaMarche

Most Entertaining – Hayden Gustafson, Myles Gustafson, & Jennifer Sovde

The first teams are off!

Mario and Bandit sleds

Family, sledding winners


Photo: Lily, Elena, & Tim Abplanalp (1st Place, Family Division).

College teams

Photo: SLU and SUNY Postdam were both represented in the College Division. 1st Place went to Michael Madeiros & Maxwell Gardner of SUNY Potsdam (right). 

bandits sled


Photo: "The Bandits" Wyatt, Colette, & Phil LaMarche (Most Creative Award)


Photo: "Mario Cart" by Hayden and Myles Gustafson & Jennifer Sovde (Most Entertaining Award).

We loved seeing friends and family outside enjoying winter together, and watching hundreds of pounds of recycled cardboard come to life! Thanks to everyone who raced (and rolled) down the hill on their homemade toboggans - we're already excited to see what you cook up next year! Looks like we have a new North Country tradition.

SNOW SCULPTURE CONTEST - Saturday, February 10th, Bend in the River Park

You could say snow is nature's canvas - it can be sculpted into just about any shape with the right conditions and determination. The second event at the Canton Winter Olympics had unlimited creative potential, and our artists delivered! The Canton Recreation Department built pre-packed snow piles, and provided colored water for extra creative fun. Challenges in the competition had one hour to create a masterpiece, under less than idea conditions. Snow wasn't sticky, but it was colorful! 

Family Division  Wen-Ping Chen, Emily Chen, & Calvin Townsend

Open Division – Sam Roiger & Chris Downs

Most Creative – Elena, Michele, & Tim Abplanalp

Walrus snow sculpture

Photo: "Snow Walrus" by Tim, Michele, & Elena Abplanalp (Most Creative Award).

Snow sculpture

Photo: "Snow Castle" by Wen-Ping Chen, Emily Chen, & Calvin Townsend (1st Place, Family Division).

Zombie snow sculpture

Photo: "Snow Zombie" by Sam Roiger & Chris Downs (1st Place, Open Division). 

CROSS COUNTRY SKI RACE - Sunday, February 11th, Best Western Clubhouse

Skiing is one of the more brilliant human inventions for surviving - and thriving - in cold, snow covered landscapes. In the North Country, many people historically relied on skis for winter travel, and some still use them as a means of transportation today! For this event, we celebrated season skiers and welcomed new recruits with a "Rookie" award and free rental skis courtesy of CCS. 

Youth Division – Calvin Townsend (time: 3:53)

College Division – Ruben Costren (time: 3:44)

Open Division – Dakota Casserly (time: 7:08)

Rookie Award – Elena Abplanalp 

Ski race at the Best Western

Thanks to the Best Western Clubhouse in Canton for hosting and grooming us a beautiful course! Youth racers skied the 0.5 mile course once, while Open and College racers skied two laps for a 1-mile race. ski race




We wrapped up the 2018 Canton winter games with a fun Awards Ceremony at the Best Western Clubhouse after the ski race. Participants gained points for each event they participated in, and handmade medals of musclewood were awarded to our Gold, Silver, and Bronze medalists in each division. All participants were entered in a raffle, which featured a wide variety of prize donations from our generous sponsors (below). 

2018 Canton Winter Olympics Medalists:

Youth Gold – Elena Abplanalp

Youth Silver – Calvin Townsend

Youth Bronze – Emily Chen

College Gold – Ruben Costren

College Silver – Michael Madeiros & Maxwell Gardner

College Bronze – Christine Corcoran

Open Gold – Tim Abplanalp

Open Silver – Sam Roiger & Chris Downs

Open Bronze – Dakota Casserly

Youth Gold, Silver and Bronze winners

Photo (left to right): Youth Division medalists Emily Chen (Bronze), Elena Abplanalp (Gold) and Calvin Townsend (Silver).

2018 Canton Winter Olympics Sponsors:

Coakley Ace Hardware

LittleGrasse Foodworks


Sergi's Canton Italian Restaurant Pizzeria & Banquet Hall

Josie's Little Pizzeria Bar and Lounge

Nature's Storehouse

Brewer Bookstore

NewmanZone Maple

SLU Nordic

SLU Cross Country & Track & Field 

Huge thanks again to everyone who joined us in celebrating winter last weekend. We couldn't have done it without you, and hope you are inspired to continue getting outside this season! Stay tuned for more collaborations from Nature Up North & the Canton Recreation Department, and check out the Nature Up North events calendar and trails page for more excuses to get outside!

By Emlyn Crocker
Canton, New York

Emlyn Crocker is Project Manager of Nature Up North. An enthusiastic hiker and naturalist, she also enjoys skiing, cycling, and the thrill of an unexpected adventure in the woods.