Collaboration with designer Sebastian Gehwolf has pushed the 2021 Audi Nines setup to stunning new aesthetic heights. This striking blend of function and art is currently under construction in Crans-Montana, Valais, Switzerland, where the closed-to-the-public event will take place from the 7th to the 10th of April, 2021.
Since its inception in 2008, visually spectacular course designs have always been a hallmark of the Audi Nines presented by Falken. The event series’ focus on a unique blend of functionality and aesthetics has resulted in some of the most eye-opening creations in the realm of action sports. This year the Audi Nines has collaborated with Audi designer Sebastian Gehwolf, drawing inspiration from his design approach to create one of the most ambitious and breathtaking constructions ever seen in snow.
A Design Match Made in Heaven
Feature concepts at the Audi Nines have channeled a wide variety of influences over the years, from medieval architecture (“castles out of snow”) to more recent, science fiction-inspired creations. In 2021, the Audi Nines have collaborated with Sebastian Gehwolf to “hack” the setup and introduce his own vision. The result is a stunning synthesis of function and style that will amaze snowpark fans and design aficionados alike.
“Designing this huge snow construction so that it looks fascinating—drawing the eye to different angles, shapes and curves—was challenging but very rewarding,” says Gehwolf about the process.
Excited by this unique opportunity, Gehwolf saw parallels to his usual work. “When designing a car, there are functional aspects that have priority above aesthetics,” he explains. “Similarly, with a snow feature, it first needs to fulfil the requirement of being a place of prog
ression for the best athletes in the world. But in the end, both a car and a snow feature should be pleasing to the eye.”
“Design and aesthetics have always been an important aspect of the Audi Nines,” says event founder Nico Zacek. “The result of Sebastian’s vision is something that we never could have hoped to dream of. Through this collaborative approach, we’ve built a bridge between action sports and design to truly reach a new level for both fields.”
A Creative Playground for the World’s Best Riders
In its new location at the resort of Crans-Montana in Valais, Switzerland, the 2021 Audi Nines setup offers a variety of different jumps, rails and other features to challenge a carefully selected crew of the world’s best freestyle skiers and snowboarders. The venue centers around a double-sided main feature complex that is approachable from opposite directions. In front of the stunning backdrop of the Swiss Alps, riders will fly past each other in dizzying displays of athletic prowess while exploring the setup’s myriad possibilities.
The design includes a large “step-up,” a classic style of jump where the landing is much higher than the takeoff. Other innovations include a massive snow sphere 8 meters in diameter as a “knuckle jib” that riders can bounce off, jump over or even jump through with the help of a tunnel. Finally, a rail setup designed with input from boundary-breaking skier Jesper Tjäder (SWE) will provide a venue for jib progression.
The invited riders’ list includes international top athletes such as Halldór Helgason (ISL, SNB), Henrik Harlaut (SWE, SKI), Anna Gasser (AUT, SNB) Maria Hidalgo (SPA,SNB) and Eileen Gu (CHN, SKI). Click here [link] to view the updated riders’ roster.
“I’ve grown up watching Audi Nines and it’s always been a childhood dream of mine to be invited. I’m so stoked, and even more so now that I’ve seen the setup for this year. The aesthetics and creative approach of the course design is unlike anything I’ve seen before.” – Leon Vockensperger (GER, SNB)
“I’m super keen to be heading to Audi Nines. This is the first year I’ve gotten invited, and it’s going to be sick. The build is going to be really good, we’ve been seeing some photos of it. It’s going to be all-time for sure!” – Tess Coady (AUS, SNB)