The Mad Snow Race in Les Deux Alpes is a 5km run on snow peppered with obstacles. The result? Lots of laughs for participants and onlookers alike. Fancy dress is optional, and participants pair up to complete the obstacle course together.

Around 100 people gathered on 21 January for a pre-race breakfast of croissants, cake and coffee — plus healthier options for the serious few. The fancy dress penguins comically warmed up next to the lean runners while the organisers explained over the loud speaker that the race was about having fun rather than winning. With snow falling steadily, participants blinked away the snowflakes as they approached the start line.

The map of the fun run looked deceptively easy. It showed 14 obstacles dotted from start to finish with some long runs in between. Obstacles ranged from climbing through children’s playground equipment to navigating a forest, crawling under netting, piggybacking each other, jumping off an airbag and target shooting.

What the map didn’t show was the hills, with a long, steep incline between the playground and the orientation challenge slowing many down. Participants who wore summer trainers introduced a new obstacle: traversing the ski piste without grippy soles caused them to slip and slide on the firm surface until they reached deeper snow.

One of the most thrilling obstacles was the tandem airbag slide, which launched each team into the air on an inflatable donut before it landed on the airbag below. Many screamed from start to finish while others were so relaxed that they smiled and laughed.

Mad Snow Race Amandine LRX

Mad Snow Race @Amandine LRX

Passing the finish line wasn’t the end of the race. Electronic target shooting was up next, followed by a final air bag jump. A crane beside the air bag lifted each team off the ground. The brave jumped without hesitation. Others shuffled slowly along the retractable, wobbly platform and opted to take a time penalty for a lower jumping height. A few forfeited despite loud encouragement from the onlookers. From first to last, everyone was cheered with enthusiasm.

French team Super Connard (‘Complete Idiots’) won the race in 52 minutes and 50 seconds while the slowest team took a full hour longer. Every team that finished received a medal for competing, and as Tracey from Team GB said, with celebratory beer in hand, “We’re all winners”.

 

Mad Snow Race Franca Grassia

Mad Snow Race @Franca Grassia