Rivella TOASTED. Challenge 2015 – Adventure in the city

When it was held last summer, the first TOASTED. Challenge attracted 22,000 spectators and 360 teams and the starting places were sold out in just eight minutes. In the style of the TV shows Takeshi’s Castle and Wipeout, an obstacle course, to be completed in teams of six, was set up on an area of over 30,000 m2 at the Schluefweg centre in Kloten. The perfect accompanying programme consisted of music and food festivals as well as numerous other side events. The concept was so successful that the organisers TOASTED. and Winkler Multi Media Events AG won the double XAVER Award for 2015. During the course of preparations for this year’s event, we met director Philipp Bareth and project manager Luca Nussbaumer.

Why do you think the first TOASTED. Challenge was so popular?

Bareth: The TOASTED. Challenge event creates a kind of fantasy world, which enables people to be Supermario for one day. They can do things which would never be possible otherwise.

The TOASTED. Challenge isn’t just a sporting challenge where you have to grit your teeth and get through; it’s an adventure with your friends that you can’t compare with anything else. It also fits in nicely with the current popularity of boot camp-style events. How did you come up with the idea?

Bareth: I had the feeling that the team building sector in Switzerland was rather lacking in inspiration. Companies organise skiing days or outings to the circus or high-ropes parks – which are of course nice things to do. But I thought the time had come for something new, so I wanted to organise an event that was really innovative and unique, one that challenged people while at the same time building team spirit. I used to love Takeshi’s Castle as a child and I was also amazed by how really poor-quality videos have gone viral on social media. I felt there was a lot of potential in this area, and was fortunate enough to be surrounded by a team of people who were crazy enough to want to build something of their own in a short space of time. We decided to take the best bits of programmes such as Takeshi’s Castle, It’s a Knockout and Wipeout and turn them into something completely new.

What is the TOASTED. Challenge about?

Nussbaumer: I think you can sum up TOASTED. Challenge as follows: it is a unique, entertaining and fun event that challenges people and calls on them to overcome their inhibitions. The TOASTED. Challenge is a fun sporting occasion ideal both for team building and as a spectator event. Everyone can join in.

Bareth: The TOASTED. Challenge has a positive atmosphere. If someone falls in the water during one part of the challenge, it means he or she has failed that particular task. But last year you never saw people getting angry about it; they just laughed, which is really inspiring to see. The people who didn’t make it were actually often given more applause. And don’t forget that the obstacle course is just one of the stages in the event.

Bareth: Exactly. It’s a huge affair with a street festival, music and numerous side events.

You aren’t – or at least weren’t – an event agency but a portal for young people. How were you able to carry out such an ambitious project?

Bareth: We’re lucky enough to have a team of people crazy enough for such ideas. Our independence was very important. An idea like this would never have worked out in a big company. We now have many longstanding partnerships.

Yes, I’ve seen that Rivella is now the main sponsor. What other new features can we expect this year?

Bareth: There have been some changes to the course – some elements have been made more difficult and some have been replaced, and a number of new features have been introduced. It is important to have a surprise up our sleeves every year.

Nussbaumer: Other new features include the night sessions with underwater lighting, the rapids for our spectators to cool off in, the unplugged stage, “label world” and the magic forest. The latter is a kind of open-air disco in the forest where there will always be something new to discover. We mainly want to include people from the region – up-and-coming talent, local party labels, etc.

What do people have to do to be there?

Nussbaumer: The event is free for spectators. The 600 six-person teams had to register on 20th May. Anyone who wasn’t able to get hold of a ticket then can only qualify as a winner of one of the six “Tour de Suisse” events. We will be visiting the largest swimming baths in Switzerland – in Lausanne, Geneva, Berne, Basel, Zurich and Lucerne – with three elements from the main event.

As the participants will first experience the course on the day of the competition, what can they do to prepare?

Nussbaumer: Bootcamper is our partner and the company that is responsible for participants’ basic fitness. All the teams will receive a certain number of free training sessions. We ourselves will provide training videos, which can be useful for preparation purposes.

Bareth: We are doing a separate release with exercises for every element, focusing on the pieces of the puzzle one by one. On the day of the event, everything will happen at five-minute intervals. The teams will have five minutes to watch, receive instructions and confer. The element in question also has to be completed within five minutes. For each successful element, they will be awarded one point. The focus will be on fairness, as it is a key part of the sporting ideal.

Can anyone take part or are there certain basic requirements?

Nussbaumer: The minimum age is 16, but beyond that there are no restrictions. The important thing is that you have the confidence to do the various activities.

Bareth: When we designed the elements last year, we didn’t give much thought to what the winning team would look like. It was exciting to see that both multiple physical skills and a great deal of mental strength were required. The winning team from 2014, which has to be beaten in 2015, was made up of former sports studies students.

How dangerous are the tasks?

Bareth: The feedback we received from participants last year was that the course looks much more dangerous – but also much easier – than it actually is. We work with a team of medical professionals, including the former medical director of Berne University Hospital, who are already involved at the design stage. Of course we also have security staff who keep an eye on everything.

What prize do the winners get?

Nussbaumer: Everyone’s a winner at the TOASTED. Challenge! Firstly, participants had to get hold of a ticket, then they had to battle their way through the obstacle course to win points for their team. But of course there will be a winning team, the one which delivers the best performance during the final on the Sunday. That team will go to this year’s MTV Music Awards.

Will we be seeing the event elsewhere at any point soon?

Bareth: From 2016 onwards, we want to do a kind of circus tour through Germany and Austria in the style of the Cirque du Soleil concept.

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Toasted Challenge


3rd to 6th September

Zentrum Schluefweg


Getting there:

From Zurich or Winterthur, take the S7 to Kloten station.

From there, it is a 5-7 minute walk to get to Zentrum Schluefweg.

Text: Carina Scheuringer
Photos: zVg & Carina Scheuringer