It’s a wrap! Over the weekend, the winners in seven categories were crowned at The Audi Nines presented by Falken in Sölden, Austria. At the Public Contest Day, male and female skiers and snowboarders showed thrilling performances on the new SlopeX course, along with the big air jump and quarterpipe. With an exciting setup and perfect weather conditions drawing more than 3,000 spectators to the Tiefenbach Glacier, the riders gave it their all and showed everyone they were eager to progress their sports.
The athletes loved the unique combination of speed and creative obstacles. But on a social level, the past six days at the Audi Nines brought snow cross and slopestyle riders closer together. Mixing competitors from both disciplines created a whole new dynamic, as they brought their own interpretation of the SlopeX features and how to ride them. Closing a week full of exciting photo and film sessions, the Public Contest Day on April 14th will go down in history, not only for the unique approach of the organizers, but also for the jaw-dropping skills the riders showed.
Highlights of the week: It’s all about the loop!
The unique loop obstacle proved to be a highlight among the numerous innovative elements of the SlopeX course. For reigning Olympic Ski Cross Champion Brady Leman, a dream came true: “Since I was a kid, I always wanted to ski a loop!” The obstacle also presented an opportunity for Jesper Tjäder to do the first ever switch loop on skis, and Gigi Rüf to throw down what was possibly the first ever carved snowboard loop. 2015 World Slopestyle Champion Fabian Bösch created a buzz on social media with his ridiculous triple superman frontflip over the middle jump, while riders and spectators alike loved the spectacular new “Hammer Drop Start”.
The SlopeX finals: Pullin and Leman top the podium
The Public Contest Day began with the SlopeX qualification in the morning, followed by the fastest riders competing in the eagerly awaited finals in the afternoon. For the snowboarders’, two-time World Snowboard Cross Champion Alex Pullin prevailed over two-time Olympic Champion Pierre Vaultier and snowboard legend Terje Haakonsen. Among the skiers, Olympic Ski Cross Champion Brady Leman won by a hair’s breadth ahead of Alex Fiva, followed by Tim Hronek. Additionally, Pierre Vaultier, Brady Leman, Christian Haller and Jesper Tjäder took the win in the new SlopeX team competition.
The Freestyle finals: An outstanding show
The freestyle big air competition took place on the main big air feature, which offered three different take-offs. The finals were held as a 70-minute jam session, with the two best tricks counting. On the skiers’ side, trick wizard Andri Ragettli convinced the judges he deserved the win with a switch triple cork 1440 safety and triple cork 1620 double safety, leaving James Woods (who threw down a triple cork 1440 safety and switch triple cork 1440 octo) and Ralph Welponer (who stomped a switch double cork 1440 blunt & triple cork 1620 safety) in second and third respectively.
On the ladies’ side of things, Olympic Slopestyle gold medallist Sarah Höfflin dominated the female skiers’ competition by sticking a switch left double cork 900 safety and switch double cork 1080 mute, while second place went to Jennie-Lee Burmansson and Darian Stevens took third.
The Public Contest Day was a perfect ending to an exciting week at the Audi Nines presented by Falken. The thrilling footage produced in Sölden during the previous days proves the event has taken these sports to a new level. Fore more information on the event, visit audinines.com.