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A unique design in ice and snow

The Audi Nines is all about skiing and snowboarding at its most spectacular. This year, the Audi Q4 e-tron adds to the excitement.

05/20/2021 Text: Sebastian Ring − Photo: Theo Acworth, Markus Fischer, Florian Breitenberger for Audi Nines/Distillery − Video: Audi Nines/Distillery Reading Time: 4 min

Audi Q4 e-tron: Power consumption, combined*: 18.2–15.8 kWh/100km (NEDC); 21.3–17.0 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Stated specifications apply only in Germany and are not applicable in other regions.

Audi Q4 e-tron: Power consumption, combined*: 18.2–15.8 kWh/100km (NEDC); 21.3–17.0 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Stated specifications apply only in Germany and are not applicable in other regions.

Aerial shot of the Audi Nines 2021 course.
Taking inspiration from the Audi Q4 e-tron: Seen from above, you can make out the contrast between the sharp edges and soft surfaces of the 2021 Audi Nines’ jumps.

Audi Q4 e-tron: Power consumption, combined*: 18.2–15.8 kWh/100km (NEDC); 21.3–17.0 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Stated specifications apply only in Germany and are not applicable in other regions.

Audi Q4 e-tron: Power consumption, combined*: 18.2–15.8 kWh/100km (NEDC); 21.3–17.0 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Stated specifications apply only in Germany and are not applicable in other regions.

No other skiing and snowboarding event celebrates terrain park design like the Audi Nines. Founded in 2008, the event features a unique new layout each year. One time, a medieval castle made out of snow clung to the edges of the building-sized jumping hills. Another year, a UFO lay half buried in the snow, giving the park the feel of a sci-fi movie set. As event founder Nico Zacek explains, “The course is unquestionably the Audi Nines’ USP. Each year, we aim to build a terrain park that presents a sporting challenge to skiers and snowboarders as well as men and women alike. We make a point of constructing the most progressive course in winter sports.” For the former freeski pro, design and aesthetics take pride of place in the endeavor.

For the latest edition of the event staged at Switzerland’s Crans-Montana winter sports resort in early April 2021, Nico Zacek and his team took a completely new approach. Together with Audi designer Sebastian Gehwolf, they incorporated the shapes of the Audi Q4 e-tron into the terrain design. “On the Audi Q4 e-tron, sharp edges and soft curves are paired to striking effect – a look we aimed to recreate in the snow park. With that in mind, I played with the contrast between the landscape’s soft, natural undulations and the snow park’s hard, technical edges,” says the 30-year-old Audi designer, himself a passionate outdoor sports fan, of his approach. Design references to the new Audi Q4 e-tron are scattered throughout the park, a good example being the notches in the snow that echo the car’s front headlights. 

Audi Q4 e-tron: Power consumption, combined*: 18.2–15.8 kWh/100km (NEDC); 21.3–17.0 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Stated specifications apply only in Germany and are not applicable in other regions.

Audi Q4 e-tron: Power consumption, combined*: 18.2–15.8 kWh/100km (NEDC); 21.3–17.0 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Stated specifications apply only in Germany and are not applicable in other regions.

At freestyle events such as the Audi Nines, skiers and snowboarders perform acrobatics as they sail over jumps – or kickers as they’re known in the trade – and on rails. There are many dates on the competitive calendar each winter. But thanks to its charisma and sustainable concept, the Audi Nines stands out as the premium event. “Through our ‘Nine Ways to Go Greener’ concept, we aim to raise awareness among participants. Preventing waste and promoting sustainable nutrition are two of several focal areas,” says Zacek, striking a chord with snowboarder Anna Gasser. “As winter sports athletes, we place a premium on sustainability and preserving the natural world where we spend so much of our time. That’s why we all try to adopt as green a lifestyle as possible,” says the 29-year-old world and Olympic champion. She enjoys coming to the Audi Nines because the event is more session than competition. “Here, we have the freedom to flex our creative muscles and try out new things. Plus, we riders can have a say in the design of the unique setups.” 

 

The perfect terrain park is consequently a product of teamwork. “It was a challenge getting this huge snow construction to fascinate from all sides and draw the eye to the various details, perspectives, lines and angles,” says Audi designer Gehwolf of his job at the 2021 Audi Nines. A team of 20 working with five snow groomers, three earthmovers, two chainsaws, two snow saws and numerous hand tools spent 12 days modeling the elements. In the end, the completed course featured 20 potential jumps, including a step-up kicker where the landing area was six meters above the takeoff area.

A huge ball of ice and snow sits behind two jumps called kickers.
With its eight-meter diameter, the giant “snow globe” knuckle jib beckoned the riders to get creative. You could jump over it, graze it mid-jump or pass through the tunnel at its center.

Freeski star Jesper Tjäder, who has a reputation for being a creative thinker, came up with the idea for the rails. “No terrain park design has ever been inspired by a car before. While the notches add a very special touch, the smooth walls combined with the clean edges and curves give the whole park a completely different feel to what we’re used to. And that’s exactly it, different is the future of freeskiing – constantly mixing it up,” says the Swede of the 2021 Audi Nines setup, which takes its cue from the Audi Q4 e-tron. A purpose-built software calculated the precise angles and radii for takeoff and landing zones before work got underway. The result? Snowboarding magazines have raved about it, calling the park the “ultimate playground” and an “aesthetic winter wonderland.” Or to quote Nico Zacek: “What Sebastian Gehwolf has created is absolutely incredible!”

Audi Q4 e-tron: Power consumption, combined*: 18.2–15.8 kWh/100km (NEDC); 21.3–17.0 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Stated specifications apply only in Germany and are not applicable in other regions.

Audi Q4 e-tron: Power consumption, combined*: 18.2–15.8 kWh/100km (NEDC); 21.3–17.0 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Stated specifications apply only in Germany and are not applicable in other regions.

Audi Q4 e-tron

Experience the one-of-a-kind Audi Q4 e-tron

The spectacular skiing and snowboarding event Audi Nines was inspired by the striking contrast between the Audi Q4 e-tron’s sharp edges and soft curves. Find out more about the all-electric SUV, which marks the next step on our journey into the future.

Discover now

Audi Q4 e-tron: Power consumption, combined*: 18.2–15.8 kWh/100km (NEDC); 21.3–17.0 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

German model shown. Stated specifications apply only in Germany and are not applicable in other regions.

Audi Q4 e-tron: Power consumption, combined*: 18.2–15.8 kWh/100km (NEDC); 21.3–17.0 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

German model shown. Stated specifications apply only in Germany and are not applicable in other regions.