Last One Standing (LOS) is the pent-ultimate (not-for-sissies) snowball fight. More than 4,400 people in Fully, Switzerland recently witnessed the birth of this new and exciting sport spectacular, worthy of any Olympiad. Our motto and mantra -- “BE THE LAST ONE STANDING”
In an ambitious inaugural tournament at the Sion 2006 quand-meme, organizers of the Official Snowball Fight Association (OSFA) recruited players, formed teams, designed uniforms, created rules of playL players, REAL referees, in a REAL stadium, with REAL snow.
The ultimate OSFA goal and its solemn pledge -- to develop the game, and promote its popularity. In the very near future, organizers intend to make a serious bid for submission and inclusion in an Olympic Games as an official event. MOVE OVER LUGE! LOS IS HERE TO STAY!
In fact, LOS tournament made its debut in Fully, Switzerland, as a playful counter-event and as stark contrast to the formalities of the official and sanctioned Winter Olympic Games taking place simultaneously in Torino, Italy. In the LOS Swiss trials, winemakers, politicians, students, grandmothers just don’t sit on the sidelines. THEY GRAB SNOWBALLS-- AND FIRE AWAY!
Energized by the positive feedback and gobs of fun reported by spectators and participants alike, OSFA organizers now intend to export the fledgling LOS to a non-snowy locale, namely, Johannesburg, South Africa in July 2005, and always OSFA keeps a keen eye on possible venues in other snowy and non-snowy parts of the world. CRANK UP THE SNOW CANNON!
Vital to our success at the “Sion 2006 quand-meme” trials – our rockin’ sponsors! We partnered up with Pro Helvetia (cultural antenna of Switzerland), Loterie Romande, HESS, ECAV, Movimax, Aebi Print and sion 2006 association. Our sponsors were a crucial component in Fully, providing more than 80 000 SFR in support and services. We were able to thank our sponsors in a variety of ways, providing great visibility and brand recognition.
The three national television stations broadcasted news about LOS, as well as the French television FR2. Regional radio and television stations gave us bell-to-bell coverage. Articles were published in all major Swiss/French newspapers and magazines. In other words…
Sponsor appreciation was everywhere! On banners! On goods! On promotional flyers! All media materials, and in video documentation. SMILE, YOU’RE ON CAMERA!
Key to our success in the Fully trials of LOS -- our awesome teammates! We smartly partnered with schools and governments, and we reached out to the local community, enlisting more than 800 children, between the ages of 11 and 18, and their teachers, for initial trial snowball fights. KIDS HAD A BLAST, PLUS GAVE INSIGHTFUL FEEDBACk!
Our Student Teammates
Students from the Ecole Cantonale d’art du Valais (Valais Art School/ECAV) and participants from the HES Santé Sociale Valais (Department of Social Work) provided the vital (and unpaid) people power and sweat equity. Our student volunteers were the first to test the game during winter and summer camps organized by our Snowball Association, and they contributed to the finalization of the rules for this new untried sport. Also:
- Students developed and executed the sound design, creating “jingles” that signaled the start and end of intermissions.
- Students provided video and photographic documentation of the event.
- Students attended theory classes on links between sports and art.
Our Government Teammates
Members of the HES Sante Social Valais organized and mentored kid-friendly LOS games during the winter of 05/06, taking the game back to its roots. The local children, some 800 plus, helped create excitement and energy for the more formalized LOS tournament trials that were scheduled to take place in February at the Sion 2006.
Trial Tournament Summary
Twelve nightly tournaments, with four teams per evening, six players per team, playing three games each took place on a brightly illuminated field of combat. In all, about 840 people, ages ranging from 16 to 65, agreed to participate in our first-ever trial tournament this February. We’re happy to report -- no injuries, except for a few bruised egos. GET OVER IT!
- The competitors were mainly recruited from the community. They were professional athletes from a variety of other disciplines, business people from various professions, students, educators,comedians, politicians, social workers, artists, coooks, construction workers, housewives, dogs but no cat.
- The football club FC Sion was also recruited. FC Sion has a large following and embodies a regional myth. In one memorable tournament, two FC Sion teams fought for the colors of their association and their fan clubs. GO TEAM GO! KILL KILL KILL!
- Players wore uniforms designed by respected German artist Brigit Neppi, who created costumes in three sizes and two versions – one for men and one for women. Uniforms proved to be an essential element of the game, providing efficient movement and range of motion, protection for players from the hurling snowballs and its hard impacts. And most importantly, the look of the uniforms provided the audience with a dazzling display of visual poetry in motion. Once dressed, the players transformed themselves into real life mythic science fiction action heroes. SUPERMAN! BATMAN! LARA CROFT! GOTTA LOVE THAT SPANDEX!
The Playing Field
They played on snow, of course!
- Teams competed on a playing field of 9m x 18m, consisting of a one-meter deep snow pack layer of artificial snow, created by means of a snow cannon.
Snowball machine created the projectiles. With technical help from the Valais Art School, a local enterprise MOVIMAX created an ingenious and sophisticated mechanical snowball machine, which allowed precise adjustments to the compression of the snowball projectiles, depending on the state of current snow conditions.
- Two tribunes were set up laterally, along the playing field, seating an audience of 400 people.
- Two towers of 5m height were installed at the opposite corners of the field. Top platforms were equipped with spotlights. The towers were dressed with banners carrying the logos of our sponsors.
- An electronic billboard was installed allowing both audience and players to follow the detailed progress of the game. (See pic).
- A sound system was set in place to signal the beginning and end of the various matches. Intermission was controlled by a sound operator, who also updated messages and scorekeeping on the electronic billboard.
- Original music was composed by students from Valais Art School (ECAV), and a trailer song was written and performed by Joanna Dudley, a noted Australian artist. (Demo attached).
Eliminate the competition. BE THE LAST ONE STANDING!
Arts vs Sports
Our manifesto, as stated by Georges Pfruender, head of the OSFA and executive director of the Ecole Cantonale d’art du Valais (and ardent snowballer).
“Contemporary art does not follow prefixed rules, but attempts to question permanently the very status of art by developing new paradigms. New rules are tested which concern modes of production, dissemination and manifestation of art pieces. As contemporary art tends towards blurring the borders of its discipline, and uses popular expressions as important sources of enrichment, sports become an important field for exchange and resource in art. Sport as metaphor of the society, and as a sign of our cultural identities.
“Sports have been xrayed in uncounted ways by artists. Our take in LOS is to create a new game situation and learn from its evolution. By creating LOS, we found that the theatrical setting allowed particular and unique stories of heros and losers to unfold, which belong as much to the players as to the audience. These stories have their own channels of dissemination, and like urban legends, expand to myths which now circulate in the region and beyond. Evil players adding gravel to snowballs. Drunk referees falling off the field.”
IN OTHER WORDS, PEOPLE ARE STILL TALKING ABOUT LOS!