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Saturday April 27, 2019 - Email this article to a friend

There is life in a ski resort after a ski injury. I wasn't quite back on Cloud 9 but the Audi Nines is perhaps the next best thing.




What do you do in a ski resort when you're injured and the rest of the family are out pounding the pistes?

I had hit on just the right thing -  the Audi Nines in Soelden, Austria.

It's a spectator snowsports event situated on the Tiefenbach Glacier in Soelden, but it's pumped with excitement and adrenalin fueled performances.

I had a minor misfortune in Ischgl a few days earlier, where I tore my calf muscle.

That meant I was out of the skiing loop for at least 5 weeks.

I had to find more sedate forms of entertainment.

I would, though, like to take a brief moment to highlight that if you're going to have a minor accident, then in my opinion, Ischgl is the place for it to happen.

I fell on the slushy snow of the No 26 slope and instantly knew I had pulled a muscle in my calf and needed to find a way to get down the mountain.

Knights normally come in shining armour.

But this one had a black uniform with large orange stripes down his arms.

And his charger, to take me off the mountain, was a powerful skidoo.

Skidoo rescue In IschglSkidoo rescue In Ischgl
















He treated me with kindness, courtesy and efficiency.

Once at the Medical Centre it was confirmed I had a Grade 2 tear of the left leg calf muscle.

Hobbling along... justHobbling along... just

















I digress though....  back to Soelden as a non-skier.

We had to drive up to the glacier.

Fortunately, the windy road to the Tiefenbach Glacier in Soelden was open and we could drive up to the Audi Nines venue.

The windy road is that well known hair raising car chase route that takes place at the start of ‘Spectre', the recent James Bond movie.

I could feel my James, husband and editor of PlanetSKI, was assuming the role of his Bond namesake as we sped up the glacier route.

We arrived safely at the Tiefenbach Glacier without any Bondesque mishaps.

My family though, instantly deserted me to ski the slopes, while I was left to trundle up the hill to find a suitable vantage spot to view the Audi Nines.

The Audi Nines is an annual end of season event where elite skiers and snowboarders from around the world are invited to come together.

They train, compete and perform in an extraordinary event that is more of a show than a hard and fast competition.

Audi 9s actionAudi 9s action














This year the Audi Nines were held at two venues in Austria's Otztal valley, Obergurgl-Hochgurgl for the women and Soelden for the men.

According to the blurb we were sent, a team of 16 designers using 3 snowcats and excavators created the two-stage course for the athletes, plus a staggering 150,000 cubic metres of snow was used for the Soelden set.

Equally the Obergurgl-Hochgurgl set used a team of 8 designers created the course from 35,000 cubic metres of snow using 2 snowcats and an excavator.

That's a lot of snow to shift around.

Today we were watching the men's final.

I had been looking forward to the event, and I was hoping to see my skiing idol, James Woods, in action.

Only, I got one better than merely watching Woodsy in action.

Within minutes of arriving I met the man himself.

Sharing a selfie with Woodsy in SoeldenSharing a selfie with Woodsy in Soelden
















And, then Woodsy shared a few words with PlanetSKI on his take of the Audi Nines and the beautiful day and surroundings of Soelden.

I was more than chuffed.

Thank you Woodsy.

I watched the groomers meticulously trimming the slopes, in preparation of the final event.



The event packed with excitement, some spectators paused to watch from the ski slope, while others sat watching from various vantage points.

The elite freestyle skiers and snowboarders tackled the course with precision and daring...  executing tricks again and again with strange names and numbers that always baffle me!

American skier David Wise was set on beating his own record for the highest jump in the quarterpipe of 11.7m in practice.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist performed wonders as he flew up the quarterpipe flying higher than fellow American Alex Ferreira and snowboard legend Terje Håkonsen.

I'm not sure if David Wise beat his own record in competition, though with each dramatic attempt he seemed to fly even higher.

David Wise below flying at 11.7m:

At times there was only one skier or snowboarder in action, while on other occasions two or even three were leaping around simultaneously.

How the judges could work out who was who and what the marks they each deserved was a complete mystery to me!

At one point Woodsy almost orbited the planet as he leapt off the 32 metre launchpad to outer space; thankfully he landed safely.

Launching off the 32m launchpad:

Woodsy is described in the video below as "Superman" and "Faster than a speeding bullet".

The finale, that came round too soon, was stunning.

It was like the finale of a show rather than a competition, as skiers raced down the mountain one after the other, leaping into the air in quick succession.

Spectacular end of Audi Nines below:

I was reunited with my family at the end of the Audi NInes, but only breifly, before they rushed off for more skiing before the lifts closed.

Momentarily reunited with my familyMomentarily reunited with my family
















While they skied off, I headed down to take part in some Audi Nines après and to contemplate my most enjoyable day.

The Audi Nines is quite an event and certainly made my day.

The event winners for 2019 included:

Best Trick Quarterpipe
Nico Porteous AO Dub Flat 10

3rd Silvia Bertagna
2nd Elena Gaskell
1st Johanne Killi

3rd Fabian Bösch
2nd Birk Ruud - Official Fanpage
1st Elias Syrjä

Best Trick/Highest Air Quarterpipe
Jan Scherrer

3rd Reira Iwabuchi
2nd Miyabi Onitsuka
1st 藤森由香 Yuka Fujimori

3rd Clemens Millauer
2nd Sven Thorgren
1st Mons Roisland

If you're interested to see the awesome terrain the athletes had to conquer at the Audi Nines in Soelden, watch the video below with "Woodsy's" GoPro course preview.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news

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