Style and innovation were the judging criteria for the Big Air contest that took place on the 29th of March 2014 in Livigno, Italy for the Suzuki Nine Queens presented by O’Neill.
After many days of shooting at the colossal castle the invited snowboarders where amped to push the level of riding in the jam session. Spectators basked in the sun on Mottolino Fun Mountain cheering while the girls sent it. Elena Könz (SUI) came out on top with her two best tricks, a lofty frontside 720 melon and backside 540 mute, followed closely by Jessika Jenson (USA) in second place. Tied in third place were Jenny Jones (GBR) and Isabel Derungs (SUI).
It was a day of personal firsts. Elena Könz brought it home with technical riding and style, “All the girls riding together, the amazing weather and the awesome setup, I loved it. The kicker was challenging, but once I got the hang of it, it was super good," said winner Elena Könz, “I was really stoked on my laid-out backflip, I did it for the first time and it just felt so nice." US ripper Jessika Jenson received a last minute invitation to the event with her “Wanna be a Queen" video clip and she didn’t fall short of expectations with a second place in the competition. Her best tricks in the four-run final were a stylish backside cork 720 and backside 540. A first ever photo shoot experience for Jessika, she was all smiles, “I'm just stoked to be here in Livigno and I’m enjoying every moment of it. I can't wait, tomorrow is gonna be my first ever heli-shoot!“
Big Air competitions specific for the female riders are a rarity indeed and one who didn’t waste this opportunity was Jenny Jones. “It’s not often there is just a big air, so I was pleased," she beamed at the end of the day. The Brit pushed herself throughout the week and brought the progression game to the table with her frontside 720 and moving on to a frontside 900. “I’ve always tried it a few times, but never quite got it. Then in the qualification round I got a decent 900 with a tiny hand-drag, so that was cool.“ Unfortunately she was unable to land it cleanly in the finals “I’m just glad I tried it.“
Snowboarder extraordinaire Norwegian Kjersti Ostgaard-Buaas had a go at judging for the first time and saw the action up close from the table of the kicker. “Seeing everyone going huge, and stomping was great, riding with good friends and giving high-fives at the top makes this one of the events that is really connected to the core snowboarding philosophy of having fun and being together. This is when you start to see progression happen." To her Elena was the undisputed champ of the day, “So many technical tricks, all different direction spins, poking out her grabs, and she sent her frontside 720 far down the landing holding the grab all the way. With layback backflips in between, just having a good time while she is progressing."
Rounding out the five-woman final was Klaudia Medlova (SVK), who alongside Isabel Derungs has been perfecting her steezy backside rodeos. Another rider worth a special mention is Dutch shredder Charlotte Van Gils who got all the riders, the audience and judges cheering for her frontside 1080 attempts, which she unfortunately was unable to stick. Overall, it was awesome day and the perfect introduction for snowboarding to the Suzuki Nine Queens presented by O’Neill.