by Mark von Roy
The 5th edition of the legendary FIAT Nine Knights in Livigno, Italy has officially wrapped up. Nicky Keefer was declared “Ruler of the Week” and winner of the “Best Style” award, while David Wise won the “Best Trick” award. The unforgettable week-long event on the colossal “Il Castello” was perfect—just watch the final highlight video for confirmation.
Six years ago Nico Zacek of the Marker/Völkl team had a ludicrous idea: “Let’s build a massive castle made of snow, with a bunch of jumps and rails on it and get the best skiers in the world to session it for a week.” What was just an idea six years ago has turned into an eagerly anticipated event at the end of a busy international freeski calendar; a chance to session an awesome feature all week, create amazing photos, push the sport and generally have a fun time with fellow freeskiers.
This year, the FIAT Nine Knights castle was more than twice as big as ever. “I was blown away by the magnitude of this feature,” said O’Neill team rider David Wise, who was recently crowned 2013 AFP Halfpipe World Champion. “From the jumps, to the jibs, to the halfpipes, there are just so many options. I have never skied a feature like this.”
A blazing sun warmed gorgeous Livigno throughout the week and many rad sessions went down on the various features of “Il Castello,” perched on the pistes of the Mottolino Fun Mountain. The free flow format of the FIAT Nine Knights makes it unique, as everyone can choose what feature to session and with copious photographer and filmers on site, everything gets captured and recorded. While the many jib and hip jams were super fun, the two heli sessions during sunrise and sunset definitely produced the best imagery. The riders banded together to hit every feature at the same time while the helicopter of the Flying Bulls recorded the action and the invited photographers clicked away.
A big mission of the FIAT Nine Knights is to create unique and awe-inspiring images, which is why every year, four of the best international photographers get invited to compete in the photography contest. This year’s photos certainly accomplished this mission and can be viewed exclusively at www.nineknightsski.com.
Best Action: Alessandro Belluscio
Best Angle: Daniel Rönnbäck
Best Diptych: Christoph Schöch
Best Lifestyle: Christoph Schöch
Ruler of the Week: Nicky Keefer
Best Transition: Lolo Favre
Best Style: Nicky Keefer
Best Trick: David Wise – Double misty 1080 mute
The jib contest, which was held instead of the traditional big air due to bad weather, was won by Roy Kittler, with Henrik Harlaut and Fabio Studer in second and third respectively.
It was one hell of a crazy week in Livigno and the plans for next year’s castle are already in the works. The snow is being saved for next year, which can only mean one thing: next year’s “Il Castello” will be even bigger and better.