Words by Nico Zacek
Photos by Klaus Polzer
The first days of the premier edition of the Suzuki Nine Queens have passed, and they were truly amazing. Many of the world’s best female freeskiers came together in the beautiful Austrian resort of Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis this week to be part of this unprecedented event, an all-girl freeski invitational on an absolutely outstanding obstacle. The Schneestern Crew had built the chateau, not only a unique looking snow sculpture, but also a perfect kicker for the girls to push the boundaries. And this is exactly what they did in two amazing sessions!
The week’s first highlight was the heli session on Tuesday afternoon. The action started around two o’clock and it quickly became clear that this day was going to be special. The riding level of all the girls was extremely high with clean grabs, great style and increasingly difficult tricks. When the heli finally came in at four to film the girls in the beautiful late afternoon light, things went off!
Keri Herman threw picture perfect switch 720's, Maude Raymond totally styled out her switch 540 high safety and Kim Lamarre did steezy zero spins over the massive table. Arguably the best trick of the day came from Sarah Burke, the grand dame of modern freestyle skiing. The Canadian had immaculate cork 9's on display, helping make the atmosphere at the Suzuki Nine Queens absolutely fantastic.
To Sarah Burke the energetic session and impressive riding level came as no surprise, "The female freeskiers have long been waiting for such an opportunity. Now that we finally got this chance, I was sure that we would live up to it. It was simply incredible! I am just a little surprised how much it actually went off. The girls were definitely ready!" It was not only the established riders like Sarah Burke, host Virginie Faivre or Kaya Turski who impressed though, as newcomers like Maude Raymond and Emilia Wint were also equal to the task.
Swedish youngster Emma Dahlstrom, new to the Marker Völkl International Team this year was beaming. "It’s great to be able to ski with girls like Sarah Burke and Kaya Turski at such an amazing event. They were leading the way and inspired many young girls like myself. It’s a whole movement now! I am sure we will see many more great female skiers in the future."
Anyone who thought that the girls might be tired from the long heli session couldn’t have been further off track. The next morning, all the girls went up the mountain at 6:00 o’clock for a sunrise session. They were eager to hit the jump again, and needless to say, another great session evolved. The Suzuki Nine Queens continues today, Thursday, with a lifestyle shoot at a nearby castle and will culminate tomorrow with the public big air contest. So come out on Friday to Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis and see the action live! You won’t regret it! If you don't have the chance, check in on Friday evening for the results and more breathtaking images.
For more information check out http://www.ninequeens.com!