When it's on, it's on. After a somewhat slow start, the Almdudler Nine Knights presented by Fiat continued with an ultimate session late last week. The weather forecast was finally good, and with only two days before the official big air contest took place, Nico Zacek decided to hold all intended sessions in one go: sunset, night and sunrise!
Late Thursday afternoon all of the knights came together with the filmers and photographers and headed to the Nebelhorn to meet the shape crew at the castle. Once all the tourists had left the mountain and the snow finally got solid in the shade, the first part of a night long session went off. The conditions were perfect; calm air, mellow temperatures and the fine light of the setting sun got the riders to show their best.
Bene Mayr landed an overly stylish double cork 12, Kristoffer Edwall showed why he deserved the late invitation replacing Henrik Harlaut with a switch double cork 10, and Markus Eder was the first to hit the high rainbow box...with with a misty 450 off on his first try.
The effortless riding of the knights encouraged the event's princesses, Fiat team rider Caja Schöpf and Lena Stoffel, to throw some lofty 3's over the jump that has much bigger dimensions than the ladies were use to.
When the sun had set behind the horizon, the riders took a break and had a nice dinner in the cable car's mid-station, but the session was far from being over. As soon as it was completely dark, the crew set up white and blue lights along the castle, and soon the knights were flying over their now blue obstacle to the pleasure of all photographers and filmers. As the light was not too bright, the tricks were on the style side with local Xavier Gehring once again showing incredible steeze.
It was well after midnight before everybody was back in the mid-station to catch some sleep before the grande finale of this ultimate session, the sunrise shoot. With the best angles facing the rising sun, this was the part everybody was waiting for. A helicopter came in even before the first sunbeam hit the jump and then it was on. One perfect trick went down after another with Fiat team rider Tobi Reindl being particularly on fire. Despite a quite long break due to injury this season he impressed everyone in attendance with some super solid flatspin 10's and 12's.
When the ski area officially opened, the night long session finally came to an end. The riders were tired but super happy as everybody agreed that this was the best jump they had ever sessioned. The early departure from the Nebelhorn down to Oberstdorf provided a few hours of rest before the Dodgeball Invitational was a welcome change in the afternoon.
Almdudler Nine Knights presented by Fiat - Action Part 2 from Nico Zacek on Vimeo.
Then on Saturday, the official contest went down, and although fairytales are often about princes and castles, when the Almdudler Nine Knights presented by Fiat concluded, it came as no surprise that it ended with a fairytale story. The prince in this respect was Italian newcomer Markus Eder.
After a week filled with several special shootings at the spectacular Nine Knights castle, finally the public had a chance to view the great performances of some of the world's best freeskiers. Of course, the spectators came in thousands. People were sitting all over the wide open bowl below the Nebelhorn peak to watch the 16 invited riders from eight different countries. After a few training runs the competition started with a 90-minute jam session, in which all competitors had the opportunity to impress the judges with six or seven jumps.
Further entertainment for the audience came from the event's princesses, Lena Stoffel and Fiat team rider Caja Schöpf, with some stylish 360's and in particular from the legendary Teddy Berr, who threw some crazy double front flips along with a superman frontflip...completely naked!
Teddy Berr massive 50 meter Front Flip at Nine Knights from headbud on Vimeo.
Following a session with all sorts of double flips and super clean style tricks, five riders progressed to the three-run final: Bene Mayr from Germany, Austrian Luggi Brucic, the flying Englishman Paddy Graham, last minute entry Kristoffer Edwall from Sweden and Markus Eder.
The young Italian who was rather unknown before this season had entered the Almdudler Nine Knights presented by Fiat through the “Wanna Be A Knight?” contest which ran throughout the season. Lots of talented riders from around the world had sent in video edits showing their best tricks, but nobody had a better one than Markus Eder. Now the rookie had the chance to win the prestigious Nine Knights big air contest against some of Europe's most accomplished freestylers...and he took full advantage. With a perfect kangaroo flip japan and an impressive double cork 1260 high mute he secured the title.
In second was Kristoffer Edwall with a crazy new double flip that reminded many of the legendary Wilson Flip along with a clean switch double cork 10 mute. Bene Mayr rounded out the podium in third with a switch dub 10 japan and a double cork 10 safety with a poke thrown in for good measure.
After the contest, Markus Eder seemed even more surprised than he was stoked about his unexpected triumph. “I was so happy to just be here at Nine Knights and I had a wonderful week," he said. "To leave as the big air champion is simply incredible. The season couldn't have ended better!”
The fairytale story of Markus Eder was the icing on the cake for another perfect event, of which organiser Nico Zacek was totally content. “The start of the week was not so easy, as lots of riders had problems with their travel schedules following the air traffic shutdown. But then everything went great and today we had an amazing audience up on the mountain. The atmosphere was great and I want to thank everybody who helped set this up, because this was the best Nine Knights event so far!”
The spectators would surely agree as do the many media representatives who recorded the spectacle for television, newspapers and magazines. Don't miss it!
Almdudler Nine Knights presented by Fiat - Action part 3 from headbud on Vimeo.
For more information on the Almdudler Nine Knights presented by Fiat, check out http://www.nineknights.com.