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  • Writer's pictureXavi Quirós

From dream to reality: The Swatch Nines 2024 Course Preview

After months of planning and weeks of snow shaping, the Perfect Hip is ready for action

For the past 16 years, the creative crucible known as Swatch Nines has reliably produced some of the most visually spectacular features in snow sports. In 2024that tradition continues as yet another dream snowpark has sprouted on the slopes of Schilthorn, Switzerland.


Now the fun begins: From the 9th to the 13th of April, concluding with a public day on Saturday the 13th, an elite crew of skiers and snowboarders will explore every transition of this monumental setup while a dedicated media team captures all the action.



Here’s all you need to know about the 2024 Swatch Nines Setup.


BY THE NUMBERS

4 feature tiers

16 days of build time

18 days of snow collection prior to the build (all natural snow)

21 snowparkbuilders (4 snowcat drivers, 3 excavator operators, 14 shapers)

21 meters-height of the hip landing2515m.a.s.l.-elevation of the venue

60000 cubic meters of snow (all natural snow)


THE FEATURES

The setup begins with the Swatch riders’ zone, which is tricked out with a snow bar,a hikable rail line, and some special wooden features for BMX.


Next up is “The Portal,” a tunnel-like element that features a cross-slope transfer gap as well as a daunting rail feature suspended high above the channel. Riders will drop through the middle of The Portal to gain speed for the next feature


The “Perfect Hip 2.0” is the central element of this year’s setup. Its dimensions ares taggering: 10-meter-high takeoffs, a 21-meter-high double-sided landing, and a total length of over 50 meters. A total of seven different takeoffs offer multiple ways of utilizing this colossal pile of snow, but make no mistake: The Perfect Hip is designed and built with the goal of sending riders rocketing skyward to potentially record-breaking heights.


Finally, the “Transition Playground” completes the venue. It’s a diverse collection of bowls, volcanos and unique transfers, designed to provide a more playful and creative venue after the challenges of the features above. But don’t discount it just yet—this zone is sure to provide some of the week’s highlight action as well.



CREATORS’ CABIN: DESIGNING A DREAMLAND

These features are the product of months of intensive collaboration between athletes, designers and park builders. The process of designing the setup beganat a creative workshop in October 2023, where the first sketches were made.Since then the features have evolved into their final form, steered by input from riders like Jesper Tjäder (SKI, SWE), Fridtjof “Fridge” Tischendorf (SNB, NOR) andAlex Hackel (SKI, USA).


PUBLIC DAY: SATURDAY, THE 13TH OF APRIL

On the Public Day, the general public is invited to Schilthornto experience SwatchNines for themselves. Visitors are guaranteed a day to remember as they watchthe stars of the athlete roster express their creativity on the event setup. ThePublic Day is free to attend with a Schilthorn ski pass, availablehere, for skiersand snowboarders only—no foot traffic allowed


QUOTES

“It feels unrealistic to be a part of something going from a pencil drawing to a life-sized snow feature. So many people coming together making this dream event, and I’m so excited to have been involved with drawing, talking and exploring the perfect hip!”-Fridtjof “Fridge” Tischendorf (SNB, NOR)


“The amount of hours that go into designing the setup is insane. Overall it’s at least ten different drafts, probably more, and thousands of hours. It’s so crazy because you put so much thought into every little detail, and you change it so much, and then in the end you might not have enough snow and you just don’t build it, or you build it differently at the last minute. We look at it from a sports perspective first and design second. Sports always come first—we wanted to give the athletes something they haven’t ridden for a long time, do something different and not just build another Big Air jump. That’s the idea behind the Perfect Hip.”-Nico Zacek, Swatch Nines founder


“I love to visualize all the ideas that are floating around in everyone’s head.Exploring designs within the requirements of ride ability and feasibility and bringing all these things together into one great design and seamless appearanceis my main goal. The biggest reward for me is when I see the riders performing, pushing the limit and having the best time on this playground.”-Sebastian Gehwolf, CourseDesigne







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