Photo: Klaus Polzer
The second annual Suzuki NINE QUEENS was another fantastic week for women’s freeskiing. Stoked skiers, styled and technical tricks, awe-inspiring videos and photos as well as an afterparty for the history books marked this event as arguably the biggest highlight in the women’s freeski calendar!
The last week in Serfaus – Fiss – Ladis can be described in many ways: magical, groundbreaking, awe-inspiring, awesome or just a great time all around. The world best female freeskiers had come to the Tyrolian resort on invitation by multiple European champion Virginie Faivre to session the multi-feature “Chateaux” for the Suzuki NINE QUEENS. Multiple X Games gold medalist Kaya Turski and former World Champion Anna Segal made the trip to Austria as well as young gun Emilia Wint, Europe’s freeski elite of Caja Schöpf, Emma Dahlström and Eveline Bhend and many more.
The women were absolutely blown away by the incredible feature built by the hard working Schneestern crew, which included two rail obstacles, a massive jump and a hip all seamlessly integrated into a beautifully shaped castle. After the first session on Tuesday it was obvious that the Queens once again meant business: styled out 360s and 540s, big corked out 720s, rodeos and switch hits on the first jump session as well as multiple different tricks on the rail features, showed everyone that the level of women’s freeskiing is progressing faster than ever.
The week included some awesome photos and film shoots, some at sunset, some at sunrise and even one at night, with the jump lit up by countless floodlights. It was a busy schedule for everyone and the girls were consummate professionals; always throwing down incredible tricks for the many cameras there documenting the sessions. However, the Queens were also always smiling, laughing and having a good time. Throughout the week the atmosphere was always positive and stoked, and the jump was always pristine. They had the perfect environment to work on new tricks and progress the sport.
The invited Queens had an opportunity to rest a little after three days of shooting the feature day and night. They took some creative lifestyle photos in traditional Austrian dresses with the invited photographers. Meanwhile five additionally invited skiers, including current AFP World Tour leader Devin Logan, had the chance to session the jump before the big finale. The Big Air competition the following day most definitely lived up to expectations. American Ashley Battersby won by throwing her first ever switch 1080 mute grab. Swiss ripper Eveline Bhend got second after stomping the first ever misty 900 landed by a woman, and Kaya Turski rounded off the podium.
Photo: Klaus Polzer
Following the Big Air competition all the media and competitors convened at the Apres Ski headquarters of the Hexenalm in Fiss for dinner, a final prizegiving and a well deserved afterparty. After a scrumptious meal the four invited photographers presented their best photos from the week to a captive audience. Each photographer then judged each others work to determine who would win prizes provided by O’Neil, Marker Völkl, Gore-Tex and Baby G. Dan Carr won the categories for “Best Action” and “Best Creative Angle”, Christoph Schöch won “Best Black and White” and Ruedi Flück won “Best Lifestyle”. It should be noted that the French photographer Pierre Augier got a close second in three of the four categories.
After this it was the Queens turn to do some judging. They were shown a highlight video of the week and asked to vote for two categories. “Best Overall Performance” went to Emma Dahlström who threw some mind-blowing cork 720s, styled out 360 and 540 japans and some sick switch 540s and 720s. The award for “Best Style” went to Silvia Bertagne who stomped some perfect 360 mute-japan double grabs. The vibes could not have been better, applause and cheering echoed through the Hexenalm all evening. When the awards were done everyone got amongst the festivities at the afterparty courtesy of Sweet Protection and some seriously progressive dance moves got thrown down. It was the perfect ending to a perfect week for the Suzuki NINE QUEENS and everyone couldn’t wait to come back for next years event which will again be held in Serfaus – Fiss – Ladis. Women’s freeskiing is progressing faster that ever and next year’s Suzuki NINE QUEENS will undoubtedly be another event for the history books.
More details of the event can be found at www.ninequeens.com!