This event started around ten years ago with a few people who just wanted to get together, build something cool and have a good riding and shooting session. Today, the ethos is still basically the same – things are just on a much, much larger scale.
Audi Nines is a bit of a hybrid gathering. For one thing, it combines skiing and snowboarding, which already sets it apart from most other events. This year, there were also two locations: the women’s setup in Obergurgl (best name ever) and the men’s setup in Sölden. It was the ladies themselves who came up with the idea for a setup specifically designed for them, but there were of course joint sessions on both setups too.
The event itself is a week-long session and there’s also a contest day, although the contest itself is more of a jam session. I was in the riders meeting before the comp, and the organisers basically just asked everyone how they wanted it to run. I’m not sure how the final format was decided, or what it even actually was. I doubt anyone actually stressed about it – I think they just wanted to ride.
I chatted with a few of the riders in attendance to get their thoughts on the event and their thoughts on some other random shit too. I realised afterwards that I should have spoken to some skiers, but I’ll have to save that for next year. Sorry – I promise I didn’t miss you out on purpose!
This interview with Annika Morgan was done inside a mountain restaurant while we were hiding from a storm. Not the weather we were hoping for in late April, but shit happens. Annika is awesome and is one to keep your eye on for sure.
What’s your name and where are you from?
A: Annika Morgan. I’m from Mittenwald, Germany.
Favourite thing about Mittenwald?
A: The mountains.
Least favourite thing about Mittenwald?
A: The cows. They stink.
I’m from the English countryside. I like the smell of cows.
A: I like cows too, they just smell bad. It smells like shit all over the place.
Have you ever been recognised on the street as Annika Morgan the snowboarder from Mittenwald?
A: Sometimes on the mountain. But usually I get recognised as ‘Ethan’s little sister’.
Well, if you keep doing the way you are then one day people will say ‘Hey, there’s Ethan, Annika’s brother’.
A: Well I do have some fans on Insta. They keep sending me messages.
Is it weird?
A: No. Girls write to me too, and I try to write back to them. I’m hyped on things like that.
That’s cool. So, what do you think about Audi Nines having a men’s and women’s setup?
A: It kinda sucks that you can’t shred with the boys that much, but I think its OK having separate setups.
So you’d rather be riding in a mixed group?
A: Yeah, its fun to shred with the boys. But its also nice riding with all the girls, I’m not used to that.
What do you think about all these sharp edges everywhere? There isn’t much transition; it’s like the opposite of Holy Bowly.
A: Yeah, I would like some more transition.
Who were you stoked to see riding here? Anyone in particular?
What do you think of the race drones?
A: They’re scary. I’m scared I’ll hit one in the air. When I’m in the in-run I can hear them following me.
Are you down with Audi Nines? And would you like to come back?
A: Totally down. It’s probably been my favourite event of this season where I got to know a lot of new people. I would love to come back. I had too much fun this year!
What’s your favourite trick?
A: Corked fs3’s.
What don’t people know about you?
A: I used to be a figure skater. I quit last year and haven’t been since. I’m a girly girl, I used to do ballet and horse riding.
Your brother Ethan has built himself quite a reputation over his career. How many times have you been drunk in your life?
A: *laughs and tries to avoid answering*
A: Like five times? I dunno. A couple. My parents just found out that I had been drunk before.
How did they react?
A: My mum is scared that I’ll turn out like my siblings. I’m like no I’m not going to be like them. That’s what everyone thinks will happen.
You seem much smarter than your brother, I’m sure you’ll be fine.
[Mr. and Mrs. Morgan, I’m sorry I asked that question and I’ll try to make sure she behaves herself when I can]
What’s your guilty pleasure?
A: Nutella. I eat Nutella every single day. With bread, without bread, straight from the jar.
This interview with Anna Gasser and Silje Norendal was conducted on the closing ‘Gala’ night of Audi Nines. As such, it was noisy, busy, and we had to fend off drunken snowboarders throughout the entire conversation.
Name and occupation?
A: Anna Gasser, professional snowboarder.
S: Silje Norendal, professional snowboarder.
Where are you from and what’s your favourite thing about it?
A: I’m from Austria and I love schnitzel and the mountains.
S: I’m from Norway. It’s home.
Do people ever recognise you on the street?
A: Yes, if I wear a Red Bull beanie.
S: Yes, sometimes.
And if you don’t wear the beanie?
A: I’m undercover when I don’t.
Is it nice being recognised?
A: In some situations
S: I don’t mind. It means you’re doing something good.
I guess we should talk about Audi Nines. What you think about having a separate male and female setup?
A: I love it. The girls never get as much attention if Sebbe [de Buck] is doing 1080’s off the launchpad [mental jump]. The men are doing quads, and the girls are learning double 10’s and 12’s. There has to be a difference in the setups.
S: Amazing. I also love it. It’s too hectic sessioning with all the guys. The difference is still too big between us.
So you prefer to have separate sessions and features?
S: We ride better by ourselves. With the guys, we have to wait. It’s great to watch them and try to push yourself, but with this setup and this atmosphere, it can be hard together. The men actually like our jump more than theirs.
To me, they both look like gnarly setups. They don’t look like small jumps, but I stay on the ground so I don’t know how much value my opinion has.
S: Our jump is small, but it looks big. That’s why it’s perfect.
A: It’s made for progression and new tricks.
S: I was actually shocked at how small it was. It’s not big.
Was it fun to ride?
A: Yes, it’s a really good jump.
S: I only hit it three times, but yeah.
Anna I guess this one is more for you, seeing as Silje was a bit injured. What was your favourite feature to ride?
Anna you ride for Redbull, and Silje you ride for Rockstar. Are the Monster people nice to you?
A: They’re really nice. They always give us vouchers for a lot of free drinks, which is great. But it sucks because you can’t always use the shots for yourself because of the branding.
S: We need sponsors like these guys to put money into these events so they can actually happen, so it’s great that they do. They help make us better snowboarders.
Anna, I took one photo that has absolutely no branding in it just for you.
Silje, I would have done it for you if you had ridden more.
S: *Laughs* I guess you missed all of my jumps.
I know. Sorry. It was difficult trying to decide which mountain I wanted to be at each day, because I wanted to be shooting both. The weather didn’t help either, so I was trying to split my time evenly, but it was kinda stressful.
A: It sucks that our setup was so exposed to the weather. If it had been better, then we would have had more time to get used to the jump.
S: Maybe they should have had a morning session for the girls, and then guys after. I don’t know.
Is it intense having so many cameras around the entire time you’re riding? I know that we’re used to cameras in snowboarding, but it seems extra gnarly with all the Reds and drones and stuff. Does it bother you?
S: It’s a way to push your snowboarding and your riding.
A: You can’t have that everyday, but if you come to Nines, you know that you’re going to get shots, so it’s great to know that everything you do will be filmed. Except my cab double 10, which they didn’t film, so…
S: They did. You have it on your phone.
A: I didn’t even see it! I don’t have it yet.
S: Theo, I’ve seen it. She just likes to complain.
Do you like to complain, Anna?
A: I was not complaining that the weather has been shit. I think for how shitty it was I’ve been pretty positive, I tried to ride in a million kmh wind, and I was like ‘thanks, but I’m good’.
It for sure wasn’t an easy week in terms of weather. Big up yourselves for riding as much as you did. Ok, on to some easier questions. What’s your favourite trick?
A: Frontside 3.
A: Any grab, they all feel good.
S: Switch back 5 mute.
Who were you guys the most stoked to see riding here?
S: Tess Ledeux. And Sven Thorgren. And Reira doing that back 10 double.
A: Sebbe on the Launchpad. Anyone on the Launchpad.
So overall, are you guys down with this event?
*Clemens Millauer and Sarka Pancochova stumble over and announce that there are dancing girls upstairs. I don’t think they realise that we’re doing an interview. I politely tell them to fuck off*
What’s your guilty pleasure?
A: Chocolate and candy.
S: Potato chips and wine.
[About an hour later, Silje finds potato chips and wine, and looks very happy!]
What don’t people know about you?
A: I’m pretty messy. I lose my phone several times a day. Most of the time, I find it.
S: I like being by myself, just me.
That’s cool. We’ll leave it there. Thanks for speaking with me ladies, you’re the best.