Photo: Klaus Polzer – Rider: Benoit Valentin
The weather has been playing mind tricks on everyone at the Suzuki Nine Knights, with beautiful sunny weather turning to windy flat light within minutes. The Knights kept their cool however, and performed exceptionally at every opportunity when the weather cleared at Mottolino Fun Mountain. Every single feature was sessioned on Tuesday and the athletes were beyond stoked about the best session yet on the unique obstacles.
First up was an awesome session on the main feature; the 27 meter kicker in the middle of the impressive “Il Castello”. A big stand out was Marker Völkl athlete Russ Henshaw who went from styled out cork 540 blunt grabs to double cork 1080 double japan grab – the first time he has tried this trick! The pretzel man Tom Wallisch used the opportune weather window to man up and be the first person to hit the gigantic hip. Everyone’s heart was in their throats as Tom proceeded to soar almost 10 meters above the take-off! The session was well and truly on, event organizer Nico Zacek and many others joined the hip session sending airs higher than anyone thought possible. Then things got even crazier with four people hitting the Castle at once, one on the hip, two on the quarterpipes and one on the kicker jump! There was an electric vibe amongst the athletes, who were beyond stoked on the first decent session.
Photo: Flo Breitenberger – Rider: Nico Zacek
The weather then turned to disagreeable windy flat light and the Knights decided to have a break and wait for better conditions. At lunch they were joined by Gus Kenworthy and Jossi Wells, the final Knights come to storm the castle. Both were itching to check out the feature and headed up even in the adverse conditions. They proceeded to have a little jib session of their own, searching for new creative ways to hit the rails. Soon everyone else joined them and decided to try out the canon rail to hip landing. Smith athlete Gus Kenworthy ruled the afternoon with some smooth 450 blunt grabs out of the rail. Hopes for a sunset photo shoot were extinguished when clouds covered the valley and the wind picked up even more. A group decision was made to call it a day, as everybody was very happy with the day’s results already.
Photo: Flo Breitenberger – Rider: Tom Wallisch
On Wednesday morning Mottolino was covered by twenty centimeters of new snow, with big flakes still falling. The report predicted for this to continue all day, so the athletes and photographers went to shoot lifestyle images throughout town. After that it was time to hold the annual Suzuki Nine Knights football tournament. Six teams of seven players faced off against each other in the indoor sports hall of Livigno, sporting flash football shirts from Red Bull Salzburg. All the athletes put in a stellar performance but at the end of the day it was the Schneestern shaper team that took home the win. The weather report was very promising for Thursday, so the heli-shooting on the Castle was put on the agenda. The heli session has been a big highlight at the event ever since and this year’s Suzuki Nine Knights was sure to be no exception. Thus the tension is steadily building up before Saturday’s public Big Air competition where the general public will have the chance to witness mind-blowing action from the world’s best freestyle skiers on the unique jump. Everyone who would like to see the event live should be at Mottolino, Livigno on Saturday morning at 10:00, the massive “Il Castello” cannot be missed. Then on Saturday evening the 2012 Suzuki Nine Knights will conclude in style at Miky’s Bar in Livigno with the official afterparty powered by Sweet Protection and downdays.eu!
For further details check www.nineknights.com!
Photo: Klaus Polzer – Riders: Tom Wallisch, Nico Zacek, Colby West, Kai Mahler
Photo: Klaus Polzer – Rider: Russ Henshaw
Photo: Klau Polzer – Rider Oystein Braaten