It may have a new name and a new location, but the same philosophy is in effect: building the world’s craziest setup and letting a huge squad of riders session it for a week. The Swatch Nines kicks off today at its new home in the Schilthorn in Switzerland—Here’s what you can expect to see over the next week.
The 2023 Swatch Nines goes down under the imposing eye of the Jungfrau, one of Switzerland´s most famous mountains. It´s one of the most scenic backdrops yet for the Nines!
As in years past, the feature design is still front and central at Nines. Over the past few years, the event has moved away from the hard angles and castle-like features that used to define the Nines, going instead in the direction of more organic, flowy features a la Holy Bowly. The end result, as seen in Crans-Montana last year, is a setup that’s more conducive to creative lines, while no less visually impressive.
The setup at the Schilthorn is nestled into an alpine valley at around 2500 meters elevation just below Piz Gloria, where James Bond’s arch-nemesis Blofeld established his secret lair back in 1969 in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.”
The first feature in the setup is nicknamed the “Formation Jump”—the idea being to put multiple riders in the air at once, “in formation.” Its highlight is a complex labyrinth of takeoffs that extend not only to the left and the right, but also in the vertical axis, with the channels between the jumps serving as lower-level takeoffs themselves.
The Formation feature includes takeoffs expanding in all directions, in the horizontal as well as vertical axis. What did I just write?
Yeah, I know—you’re probably wondering what the hell you just read. But I promise, as soon as you see the first video clips, it will all make sense!
The bottom feature has the unofficial nickname of “Holy Bowly on steroids,” and looks something like a cross between a retro-futuristic Mars colony and an Earthship hippie commune. Aside from tunnels, rails and unique transition options, the highlight of this feature is the central skatebowl. It’ll be sessioned by skateboarders like Andy Andersson and Madars Apse and bikers like Sam Pilgrim and Erik Fedko while skiers and snowboarders fly past.
Holy Bowly on steroids.
Due to a lack of snow, the planned hip feature in the middle of the venue sadly wasn’t able to be built. At first cancelled entirely, a smaller, improvisational middle feature has now taken shape, with booters on each side and a Kimbo Sessions-style up rail in the middle.
As always, the Nines have assembled a who’s who list of some of the world’s top skiers and snowboarders to session this setup. There are the Nines veterans we’ve come to expect (Mathilde Gremaud, Sarah Hoefflin, Andri Ragettli, Fabi Bösch) as well as more recent additions to the crew (Max Moffatt, Finn Bilous, Megan Oldham, Tess Ledeux).
One of the more exciting aspects of the ski invite list is the inclusion of The Bunch, who have brought a small crew to produce their own edit from the event. We’re looking forward to seeing what special flavor Magnus Granér, Per Hägglund and Alex Hackel will bring to the proceedings.
Sadly, Nico Porteous, Jesper Tjäder and Matej Svancer have all dropped out at the last minute—Matej, reportedly, due to a French test that he hast to take to graduate high school! Their absence leaves a gaping hole in the invite list—but also more opportunity for others (like last minute addition Edouard Therriault) to steal the spotlight. Read on for the full riders’ list.
Ruby Star Andrews
William Heimdal Bostadløkken
Come and join the action at the Schilthorn on Saturday, April 22.
Your social media feeds are about to be flooded by Nines content for the next week or so. But if you want to take the next step and watch the action in person, the Public Day is your chance! On Saturday, April 18 Swatch Nines opens its doors for everyone who wants to see the madness for themselves. All you need is a ski pass for Schilthorn (available here). While you're here, you'll als want to take a couple laps through the Schilthorn public park, which is in fine shape and reportedly open until May!
Swatch Nines Public Day Program
11.00-11.30 am: Training (Event Arena Schilthorn-Piz Gloria)
11.30 am-12.30 pm: Qualifications (Event Arena Schilthorn-Piz Gloria)
01.30-02.00 pm: Warm-up (Event Arena Schilthorn-Piz Gloria)
02.00-03.00 pm: Finals (Event Arena Schilthorn-Piz Gloria)
03.15 pm: Flower Ceremony (Swatch Snow Arena Schilthorn-Piz Gloria)
That’s it for now from Swatch Nines—stay tuned for the GoPro course preview dropping tomorrow.