Hundreds of Red Deer Public Schools students between Grades 3 and 12 took part in cross-country ski races Tuesday at River Bend Golf and Recreation Area. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

WATCH: Hundreds of Red Deer students ski at River Bend

Red Deer Public Schools hosted its annual ski loppett Tuesday afternoon

About 500 students strapped on skis for Red Deer Public Schools’ annual ski loppet Tuesday.

Students from Grades 3 to 12 raced in three- and five-kilometre cross-country ski races at the event, which has been going for more than 30 years.

Owen Pimm, a Grade 10 student at Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School, won the 5K race, finishing just seconds ahead of Ethan McDonald, a Grade 12 student at Hunting Hills High School.

“I kept looking back and he was still there. I was thinking, ‘Oh man, I have to drop him at some point.’ But overall it’s just a fun experience,” said Pimm.

RELATED: 2017 School Loppet

Pimm said he loves racing in the loppet each year.

“I’ve been doing this race since Grade 3,” said Pimm. “It’s not competitive, but it’s fun for friends like us to race against each other.”

McDonald said it’s more about having fun than winning.

“I love it, it’s a really good atmosphere here. It’s not super competitive or anything – you don’t feel stressed racing,” said McDonald.

READ MORE: NorAm Western Canadian Cross Country Ski Championships at River Bend

Colin Christensen, Don Campbell Elementary School teacher and one of the loppet organizers, said the event is enjoyable for both long-time and first-time skiers.

“Kids get the chance to try something new or something they’re really passionate about,” said Christensen. “We just want kids to come out and experience something like skiing. It’s one of those activities you can do for the rest of your life if you want.”

The event is always a big hit with students and this year is no different, Christensen added.

“We can’t complain about the weather,” he said. “The weather is definitely a good thing. There are lots of smiles on people’s faces and I think everyone’s having a good time.”

The loppet came just weeks after nearly 500 racers competed in the combined Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 at River Bend.

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Grade 10 student Owen Pimm and Grade 12 student Ethan McDonald finished first and second, respectively, in the five-kilometre race at Red Deer Public Schools’ Ski Loppet Tuesday at River Bend Golf and Recreation Area. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

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