The third edition of the fabled Nine Queens women's freeski event is off to a flying start in Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis in the midst of the picturesque Tyrolean Alps, with the best female freeskiers already sessioning the perfectly shaped Chateau features since Sunday.
The host of the event, recently crowned Halfpipe World Champion Virginie Faivre of the O'Neill International Team, is stoked on the epic beginning: "It's awesome to welcome back so many friends to ski this amazing set up," said Virginie. "I am especially happy about the new faces this year who have been skiing ferociously since the get go." With skiers like Keri Herman, Dania Assaly and Maude Raymond representing North America as well as Lisa Zimmerman, Katie Summerhayes and SFR champion Coline Ballet-Baz and many more holding it down for Europe, there is no doubt that history will be written at the 2013 Nine Queens, the only women's freeski big air event on the planet.
Photo by Christoph Schoech
The first session on all features began on Sunday and the ladies were stoked to finally ride in the event they have been looking forward to for months. As the setting sun swept golden rays over the peaks surrounding Serfaus – Fiss – Ladis the Queens sent solid airs over the Chateau, getting accustomed to the jump in no time and already throwing down some serious trickery in the first session. After the session all of them agreed, it is by far the best jump they have skied all season.
Lisa Zimmerman. Photo by Christoph Schoech
Eva Patscheider. Photo by Christoph Schoech
The following day thudding sounds of helicopter rotors amped everyone up, as a Flying Bulls chopper arrived to film the next session from the air. A plethora of different tricks were witnessed and recorded by the large media contingent, many of whom are present to compete in the Video and Photo Contests. Völkl Marker team rider Coline Ballet-Baz landed some very impressive lazy boy 360s, while Lisa Zimmerman stomped an unfathomable double cork 1260, the first time anyone has even attempted a double cork at a Nine Queens event. Jamie Crane-Mauzy also stomped a huge double backflip and was super close to landing a kangaroo flip, which would have been a world first. Not to worry, there are still many more sessions planned for the week and plenty more opportunities for the ladies to land new tricks on the fantastic Nine Queens Chateau.
Coline Ballet-Baz. Photo by Christoph Schoech
Zuzanna Stromkova. Photo by Christoph Schoech
The Schneestern shaper crew have really stepped it up a few notches this year, adding an entire extra feature to the line up. The world renown jump feature; "The Chateau" has increased in size, measuring 23 meters from take-off to landing, although many of the ladies have already sent the jump much further than that. It also features two hips that are accessed by in-runs that are tunneled through the jump take-off itself, a masterpiece of human snow-shaping ability that must be seen to be believed. Yet another tunnel through one of the two towers leads to the Blue Tomato down rail that literally projects the athletes out of the depths of The Chateau. The brand new obstacle, nicknamed "The Jib Tower" also holds all sorts of possibilities: a quarter pipe with coping, a battleship box and a sizable gap to down box are all seamlessly integrated into one spectacular feature.
There is still the entire week to session all the features, culminating in the grand finale on Saturday, the Big Air competition where the Queen of Queens will be crowned. The competition is open to the public, so if you are in the area make sure to check out the awesome Chateau perched on Serfaus and witness female freeskiing at its finest. If you are unable to attend, you can still look forward to the stunning videos released throughout the week. Good luck to the Queens and stay tuned.