Off to the Races

Speed and spirit rule the day at the Camden Snow Bowl’s Box Derby Race.

By Caroline Praderio
Photographed By Kelsey Floyd


[C]ardboard boxes have long been the stuff of playroom forts and science projects, moving days and make-believe spaceships. This March, however, the cardboard box assumes its best role yet: high-speed, high-occupancy racing vehicle. Just add duct tape, paint, and a touch of creative genius, and that refrigerator box gathering dust in the garage just might be a ticket to glory at the second annual Box Derby Race at the Camden Snow Bowl.

If last year’s premiere race was any indication of things to come, 2014’s Box Derby will be a competition to remember. Roughly 50 teams participated back in March 2013, according to race director Jen Conover. Some competitors flew solo, while other teams packed as many as nine members into one reinvented box — which makes sense, considering that one of the day’s top prizes goes to the box with the most people inside. Awards also go to the derby’s fastest and most creative boxes, ensuring that both the sleekest and flashiest designs are valued with equal merit.

The rules are simple: everyone wears a helmet, and racing vessels must be made of cardboard only (though a protective duct tape covering on the bottom is also welcomed). From there, the possibilities are endless, and newcomers are well advised to borrow inspiration from last year’s well-dressed bunch. “The costumes that went with the boxes were the best,” says Conover. “We had ‘Goldie Box’ and the three little bears, boxes shaped like rockets, even a family of six in a box shaped like a boat — they all had life jackets on.” With spirited teams of leprechauns, pirates, and astronauts also in the mix, the Snow Bowl’s slopes were alive with color and cheer.

Who will take home the top honors at the Box Derby Race this time around? That depends, of course, on who can find a good, sturdy cardboard box — and who can think the furthest outside of it.


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