From 18 to 19-AUG, the Swatch Nines Beyond The Hill MTB Festival took place in Schmallenberg (Sauerland), Germany, with about 40 of the best MTB and Skateboard riders in the world participating. About 25 Swatch Club members were invited(!) to Schmallenberg from 18 to 20-AUG.
The event had started on Friday at 11am at the nice and beautiful **** Hotel Stockhausen in Schmallenberg.
A full packed event schedule:
We arrived later in the afternoon, so the event started with the the evening dinner for us. Everyone received special Swatch Nines golden VIP wrist bands, and the yellow Swatch NEON wristband even would allow some alcohol for us in the Swatch hospitality area in the mountains.
After the evening dinner, we went to the Green Hill Bike Park, with a beautiful sunset. We were invited to the Rose Night @Stadl, up in the hills.
The host of the evening party was Rose Bikes who served their own Rosť wine.
Lots of MTB riders, VIPs, journalists, ... were present at the party. Swatch CEO Alain Villard also held a short welcome speech. Swatch is now head sponsor for The Nines event series for the next three years.
Wild scenes down in the valley at the main party location, the party going strong
Early on Saturday morning, we met in the Green
Hill Bike Park in order to try the Downhill MTB ourselves.
We received a suitable MTB, a helmet, protectors etc.
Off we go to the top of the mountain... Reusing an old ski lift which is now in daily use during the summer (it seems that the Green Hill Bike Park is a big success, fully booked almost every day on weekend and during school holidays).
Our group (Beginners) opted for the Moose Cruise, the easiest trail in the Bike Park. Some more experienced event participants took a ride with Canadian professional mountain biker Casey Brown (member of the Swatch Proteam).
Somehow, we managed to get down safely and (mostly) uninjured. It took us more than two hours, tough. A great experience!
Around noon, it was time to relax on the top of the big Swatch truck, together with many members of the Swatch Proteam (MTB and skating).
The start of the big Finals of the Swatch Nines was planned for 2pm, lots of spectators were starting to climb the mountains towards the viewing area ("behind" the top of the hill) one hour earlier...
Gaetano Moscarino (Swatch Head of Product & Product Development), Alain Villard (Swatch CEO)
Lots of activity in the MTB Event village
All Swatch Proteam members signed autographs for everyone.
Click here to read part 2 ("watching the Swatch Nines Finals") of my Swatch Nines MTB Event report.