Thethird edition of the fabled NINE QUEENS women's freeski event is off to aflying start in Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis in the midst of the picturesque TyroleanAlps, with the best female freeskiers already sessioning the perfectly shaped Chateaufeatures since Sunday.
Thehost of the event, recently crowned Halfpipe World Champion Virginie Faivre ofthe O'Neill International Team, is stoked on the epic beginning: "It's awesometo welcome back so many friends to ski this amazing set up," said Virginie. "Iam especially happy about the new faces this year who have been skiingferociously since the get go." With skiers like Keri Herman, Dania Assaly andMaude Raymond representing North America as well as Lisa Zimmerman, KatieSummerhayes and SFR champion Coline Ballet-Baz and many more holding it downfor Europe, there is no doubt that history will be written at the 2013 NineQueens, the only women's freeski big air event on the planet.
Thefirst session on all features began on Sunday and the ladies were stoked tofinally ride in the event they have been looking forward to for months. As thesetting sun swept golden rays over the peaks surrounding Serfaus – Fiss – Ladisthe Queens sent solid airs over the Chateau, getting accustomed to the jump inno 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 skiedall season.
Thefollowing day thudding sounds of helicopter rotors amped everyone up, as aFlying Bulls chopper arrived to film the next session from the air. A plethoraof different tricks were witnessed and recorded by the large media contingent,many of whom are present to compete in the Video and Photo Contests. VölklMarker team rider Coline Ballet-Baz landed some very impressive lazy boy 360s,while Lisa Zimmerman stomped an unfathomable double cork 1260, the first timeanyone has even attempted a double cork at a Nine Queens event. JamieCrane-Mauzy also stomped a huge double backflip and was super close to landinga kangaroo flip, which would have been a world first. Not to worry, there arestill many more sessions planned for the week and plenty more opportunities forthe ladies to land new tricks on the fantastic Nine Queens Chateau.
TheSchneestern 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 tolanding, although many of the ladies have already sent the jump much furtherthan that. It also features two hips that are accessed by in-runs that are tunneledthrough the jump take-off itself, a masterpiece of human snow-shaping abilitythat must be seen to be believed. Yet another tunnel through one of the twotowers leads to the Blue Tomato down rail that literally projects the athletesout of the depths of The Chateau. The brand new obstacle, nicknamed "The JibTower" also holds all sorts of possibilities: a quarter pipe with coping, a battleshipbox and a sizable gap to down box are all seamlessly integrated into onespectacular feature.
Fora first person perspective of the mind-boggling set-up, check out the Contourcourse check video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAucEKoxU40
Thereis still the entire week to session all the features, culminating in the grandfinale on Saturday, the Big Air competition where the Queen of Queens will becrowned. The competition is open to the public, so if you are in the area makesure to check out the awesome Chateau perched on Serfaus and witness femalefreeskiing at its finest. If you are unable to attend, you can still lookforward to the stunning videos released throughout the week. Good luck to theQueens and stay tuned.