It’s an old and somewhat bizarre tradition. But it hasn’t stopped hundreds of university engineers from making the trek to Vancouver for the 39th annual Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race.

Students from universities and technical schools from across the country converged on Mount Seymour on Friday to go head-to-head in their concrete sleds. The goal is to build a toboggan, made mostly out of concrete and race it down an icy slope to see who can go the fastest.

“The whole point is just trying to take a problem that is just completely out there, completely different than what you would expect and then trying to do something amazing,” said Christopher Aldana from Dalhousie University.

The tradition first began in Red Deer, Alberta in 1974 with just a few schools competing. This year, 22 teams signed up for the race with close to five hundreds students taking part.

Each toboggan must have a concrete running surface, it has to carry five people, it cannot weigh more than 135 kilograms, it must have a safety roll bar and a steering and braking system as well. Teams are also judged on style and spirit.

This is the first time the race has been held in Vancouver in more than two decades. Ryerson University is the reigning champion.