The world's best female freeskiers met up at a snow chateau in the Tirolean Alps on Sunday for the second annual Suzuki Nine Queens, a next-level women’s freeski event.
Virginie Faivre of the O’Neill International Team sent out the invitations and everyone gladly accepted the call to Serfaus, Fiss, Ladis in Tirol. Participants included Red Bull's Kaya Turski who was joined by other big european names including Caja Schöpf, Eveline Bhend and many more. The event started on Sunday evening with a classy welcome dinner at the Community Hall in Ladis. In the awe-inspiring ancient basement, the event organizer, Nico Zacek, officially welcomed the Queens and set out a rough plan for the upcoming weekend.
To inspire the Queens the room was decorated with the best photos of the previous year and they also received a Baby-G watch as a small welcoming present. The atmosphere couldn’t have been better and there was an air of anticipation for the upcoming kicker session.
However the gods we not as accommodating on Monday as the ladies got ready to ride. Dense snowfall and an impenetrable fog made even an inspection of the jump nigh on impossible. Ignoring the adverse conditions, all the ladies made sure of completing a sightseeing tour of the impressive jump nicknamed the “Chateaux". Though Emma Dahlström and Julie Bénard of the Marker Völkl International Freeski Team did manage to session the rails at there for a little while too.
The first big day of the event was on Tuesday, when the clouds parted and revealed the impressive “Chateaux” with a fresh coat of white snow to brighten the day. The shapers of the world-renowned Schneestern Crew first needed a few hours to clear the snow around the complex structure and bring the jump back into top form. The Queens finally got to hit the jump just before lunch, though things were held up by a strong and variable wind which made things a little too dangerous to continue the session. Finally when almost all hope had been lost, the wind subsided and the session on Virginie Faivres’ Chateaux was able to start properly.
The Queens quickly proved why they are considered the best in the world, needing only a few warm-up jumps before they began to pull out some tricks to impress the crowd. It wasn't just the crowd getting a thrill though “The Jump is just perfect!” said Australian Anna Segal, “It is without a doubt one of the best kickers I have ever skied”. With the warm light of the dying sun as a backdrop it was truly a breathtaking session to behold.
The next few days will prove to be something truly special “The jump is so good that we are definitely going to see some progression this week“ a stoked Ashley Battersby said, after hitting the kicker a few times. Even the weather seems to be playing ball for the week, with a pristine outlook till the public Big Air Contest on Saturday.
A number of special photo and film shoots are planned up to the big day, however, we will have to wait a little longer to see the finished product from these epic sessions. With the public Big Air contest, the release of the photos and videos, as well as the after party on Saturday, it's going to be a very exciting week!
Photos © Klaus Polzer