If the thought of skiing in the middle of the sun-baked Arabian desert wasn’t mind-boggling enough, a host of UAE-based thrill-seekers took the meteorological oddity to another level in the first-of-its-kind competition in the GCC.
As the temperatures soared outside, adventure-seekers shunned the heat to take on the utterly bonkers icy challenge – and outdo their fellow contestants with their outlandish attire - by sliding down the snowy slopes in a vehicle of their choice before jumping into a pool of freezing water. Simple, right?
A panel of Dubai-based judges were on hand to assess everything from creativity to athleticism - artist and muralist Dina Saadi , plus Red Bull’s Sean Garnier, a two-time freestyle football champion, and Emirati cricket star, Chirag Suri. They dished out points for each team’s ride, costume, vehicle design and that all-important splash into the icy H20.
Among the teams that turned their heads – and earned them the coveted winning prize – was team ‘The Ultimate Flamingo Flock Wonderful Spaghetti Extravaganza’ with their eye-catching hot-pink flamingo costumes.
THE ULTIMATE FLAMINGO FLOCK WONDERFUL SPAGHETTI EXTRAVAGANZA
“We are an art collective from multiple disciplines based in Dubai called Syn7rome and we love to showcase and host events by projecting weird art and music,” team member Anthony Haddad tells us after being crowned the winning team. “We have been attracted and experimenting with flamingo-inspired art the past year and as we were surfing the net we stumbled across the competition – and we thought it’ll be fun to join in and take the flamingo madness a step further!
“We wanted to take part as this is simply our character and attitude as a collective; where there’s fun art and weirdness, you’ll find us!”
Teams were not only judged on their creativity and performance but also those who earned the biggest cheers from the crowd. The Ultimate Flamingo team were a fan favourite with onlookers who roared for the brightly-dressed feathered friends.
“A highlight for us was that this joke between each other got somehow out of hand – and enabled us to be named number one in the Red Bull Jump & Freeze!” says Anthony.
Teammate and fellow Dubai artist Hussain Jabi says that once the group had decided to enter, their first stop was sourcing the best homemade costume.
“We managed to scrape together our flamingo costumes from costume shops here and there around Dubai, and we also had a Red Bull can costume which was our very own DIY outfit using laundry bags!”
The trio shot down the slopes in a giant flamingo inflatable – before making a colourful splash in the sub-zero plunge pool.
Fellow team member Kiril Zhansugirov says the team heard about Red Bull Jump & Freeze just 14 days before the event.
“We had just two weeks to get everything together, but preparing and taking part was super fun! It was such a unique event and it was fun to participate in something super unique and super creative.”
Surprisingly, Kiril says his highlight was landing in the freezing plunge pool.
WHO KNEW DUBAI COULD GET SO COLD?
“First of all, I was surprised we all managed to stay on the flamingo and also I wasn’t expecting that the water would be SO cold,” he says. "I thought it couldn’t be any colder than the air in the ski dome, but sliding into the water was another experience altogether!”
So - after winning the event, what is next for the art collective?
Hussain says the team will continue to work on creative projects together.
“We have got many things in the pipeline right now as we are currently working on our entertainment tech startup called Audiocult – soon to be released,” he says. “And of course – a continuation of all things flamingo! We are hosting flamingo events every Friday in Barsha showcasing flamingo visual art, flamingo decorations, with proper flamingo beats and – of course-flamingo [favours]!”
Kiril reveals the team are also keeping an eye out for any future Red Bull events.
“If anything so creative comes up again I would happily participate!” he says. “And show what we can achieve as a collective.”
Team Rolleristas Farm which comprised Hala Krunz, Sandra Acero and Tarek Krunz were deemed runners-up and also awarded Best Costume for their outlandish creations. Craziest Jump went to TeamRolleristas Spaceship, which was made up of Adam Benjenna, Melissa Ramirez and Abdul Basith.
Red Bull Jump & Freeze has previously taken place in outdoor ski resorts in Lebanon, Estonia, Lithuania and New Zealand, but this is the first time the event has been held indoors.