Words by Skye Darden
Photos courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool
The first annual Red Bull Jib-Ski King event recently took place on the Spitzbul run (Alpe di Siusi) in Seiser Alm, Italy. About 30 riders from all over South Tyrol, America, Spain and Norway showed up to this very unusual course set up, hoping to become the first ever ‘Jib-Ski King’. All of the features on the course were specifically set up to blend in with the natural surroundings of the area. The jibs included small kickers built up to features such as hay bails and small fences, larger kickers shaped beneath totem and lift poles, along with a sweet step down jump and two different butter box set-ups, including one which went right through a cow pen. Needless to say, it was an amazing set up by Alex Berger and the F-tech crew.
Italy’s Andreas Bacher moos for the crowd on the cow pen butter box.
As the morning began, the small lift was packed with athletes checking out the course. Because of the heat from the often-blazing season we’ve had over here in Europe, the riders were only allowed three runs each through the maze of obstacles. Once the comp was whittled down to the remaining eight, it was officially go time...
Italian rookie Julian Stuppner bonks the totem jib.
The remaining eight then put down their best runs to determine the final four. Within the drama of the qualifiers, Markus Eder, who has had the best year of any Italian...ever, kept crashing on one of the last jibs. He was trying to nose tap 7 the lift pole, but kept over rotating due to small size of the landing. However he made it count in the end, especially on the step down with a lovely switch misty 9. But it was McRae Williams who absolutely slayed the entire course, and skied the lower part entirely switch, sometimes even better than most of the riders were riding it natural.
The final four resulted in Luka Melloni taking fourth place, who skied his heart out with some amazing butter 7s off the step down and the most incredible switch 3 fence taps on the cow pen butter box (Never thought I would write those words together). Luka crashed on the upper part of the course though, leaving the door wide open for the young Italian Andreas Bacher to take home the third place spot. Andreas rode solid all day long with some impressive switch 9 high mutes and a late switch 180 on, to backflip off the cow pen butter box.
In the end though, it was McRae and Markus would face off to see who was going to be crowned Jib-Ski King. Markus went first with a very clean and technical offering on the top half of the course, including a sweet hand drag misty 5 off the hay barrel jib, then continued switch into a sick 9 mute, stomping it halfway down the landing. He then went for the lift pole jib, but smartly slowed his rotation and stuck a beautiful nose tap 5. His last tricks were highlighted by a really creative side tap straight air on the fence jib, using the side of the ramp on, into a 180 on, switch right side 7 off the cow box.
Markus Eder and his hand drag misty 5 off the hay barrels.
That left McRae in charge of his destiny, but he unfortunately fell a bit short of claiming the title. The young American from Utah showed off some nasty jibbing skills and killed every run but his last, as with the snow being bit too soft he wasn't able to get the necessary speed to excel in the top section. He began with a nose tap 3 over the hay bail jib, into a sick butter 7 blunt on the step down, followed by a bonk 540 on the lift pole to switch 3 nose tap on the fence jib, and continued switch with a zero spin to switch misty 5. His run was extremely clean, but the judges (including myself) made the decision that Markus Eder was to be crowned the first ever Red Bull Jib-Ski King!
McRae Williams with a steezy butter 7 on the step down.
1) Markus Eder
2) McRae Williams
3) Andreas Bacher
4) Luka Melloni
1) Michael Dursan
2) Julian Stuppner
3) Hannes Zemmer
Thanks to all the riders, shapers, organizers and sponsors for such a special event, including Panettone Bros, Alpe di Siusi, The North Face, Volkl, Dalbello, Smoth and SCI Magazine. For more infomation on the event, be sure to check out http://www.redbull.it/jibskikings.