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.



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

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