I’m a 39, wine drinking, female. I do not feature as part of a demographic in any of Red Bull’s marketing meetings. James, a slightly unhinged 35 year old male however features heavily on their spider diagrams of targets. They needn’t waste their budget – he’s in.

When I was sat in a meeting in Les Deux Alpes a few months ago whilst James turned his hand to skiing with his BFF Reuben and I was informed about an annual ‘thing’ that Red Bull stage in various resorts, nothing registered. And I mean nothing. That information went in the brain file labelled ‘stuff for the kids and plonkers to get involved in’.

For a start, it involved bibs. I’m not a bib sort of gal. Sporting some fresh Helly Hansen swag that I’m testing for work (crap job but someone’s got to give it a proper run in!)… I felt no need to cover my mint jacket (complete with life pocket) with some sort of park-rat style basketball shirt. No thanks.

It also involves a disclaimer (disguised as a registration form – you can’t trick me Red Bull know this game intimately), some sort of timing tag and what turned out to be a less than 2 minute race, turned into a 4 hour fart-about whilst organisers, organised inflatable stuff.

As you might have figured, I somehow ended up on the start line of the Les Orres round of this annual series – The Red Bull Tout Schuss. Completely against my will and under a heavy amount of sustained pressure dressed up as

if you don’t want to do it babe it’s fine – it’s completely up to you. It just seems a shame not to now that we’re here

red bull athletes

James Tunstall – Reb Bull Athlete

Sat at the top (still totally convinced I can back out if I want to), I anxiously looked around, trying to decipher the very French instructions being barked from a loudhailer at the start line. I got a smug “well you look fairly committed” followed by a hugely encouraging “see you at the bottom then” from my beloved partner in crime whilst I witnessed the most vomit worthy smooch between a couple in front who “whooped” as the air horn blasted and then ran hand in hand to find their skis. This is on.

Back story

There is a very good reason I don’t participate in competitive sports anymore and something James is yet to witness. I have the competitive instinct of Diego Maradona and Michael Schumacher wrapped up in a Sir Chris Hoy exterior. You wouldn’t know it to look at me but I’d savage your 10 week old puppy to win a game of KerPlunk.

So my resistance wasn’t out of any kind or self-preservation or fear… just out of my deep rooted knowledge that I couldn’t be sure I wouldn’t spike a stranger in the face to get a shoe in.


This is a stupid race. It wouldn’t be allowed at home.

Here’s how it went down:

  • 300 idiots assemble at start line
  • Get called out person by person to choose where you lay your skis (100m from start) – Note: if you’re sensible, hire your weapons – your own kit will never be the same again.
  • Return to start line
  • Realise that this is the mix of people you are surrounded by:

Drunk people, international Red Bull athletes, international downhill champions, people
with snowboards, people with skis, people pretending they aren’t taking it seriously but
are, girls pretending they aren’t competitive

  • Air horn
  • False start… everyone runs to their skis… but stops 30m before actually setting off… turns out this is a photo run
  • Real start
  • Total carnage
  • Poke everyone you can in the eye
  • Try to click into your bindings
  • Get shoved in the butt just as you engage
  • Forgive everyone because you’re all consumed with Red Bull rage
  • Go – exactly 2 minutes later in my case, cross the line 1000m vertically down the hill.
  • Cough up a lung
  • Have a Red Bull and vodka… or ten

You see. Ridiculous. Go and sign up immediately for one of the remaining dates.


Les Orres Aire

About Hannah

Gobby, opinionated, professional ski bum. Co-founder of the Winterised Project.