London Ski & Snowboard Show underway
It is an important year for the The Show that is being held at Earls Court. Numbers have been falling in recent years but it seems this year it is on the up. Can the event re-ignite people's enthusiasm for ski shows? PlanetSKI reports.
Saturday November 3, 2012 - Email this article to a friend
Some believe that the show is not what it once was.
It used to be seen as the start of the season, the focus for the industry and a must-attend event for the keen skiers and snowboarders.
They wanted to see the latest gear and get a few bargains.
Not anymore exactly - times have moved on. People do not need to wait for a show to find out what is happening - it is all on the internet.
Facebook provies the banter and web sites supply the information.
The retail side of the ski industry has been hit hard by the recession.
The real question though is not if it matches up to what it once was, but how relevant it is to today and the rapidly changing landscape.
After being at the Show for two full days we reckon it is doing rather well. Better than expected.
"The opening day was busy and Thursday has been well attended too," said the PlanetSKI content editor, James Cove. He has been there since the doors opened on the first day talking to visitors, exhibitors, the resorts, tour operators and leading industry figures.
"It seems cleaner and fresher than last year with more activities to do. Personally I am glad there are less shops and more activities. However in terms of numbers and how succesful the show is then the real test will be over Friday and the weekend, but so far so good."
Snow in the Alps, putting on the show two weeks later than last year plus timing it over the half term week have all helped.
There also feels to be more optimism around.
People want more out of an experience than they once did and the Ski & Snowboard Show is not immune to this.
It is being held at Earl's Court 2 this year, a smaller hall, after visitors dropped from 33,000 in 2010 to 31,000 in 2011.
The organisers say the emphasis for this year's show is very much on "doing" rather than "watching".
Elsewhere on PlanetSKI we have a report on the active things there are to do at the show and we out the show's claim to the test with our reporter, Clare Meaney, so check out her report here.
There are features and activities designed to encourage new participants to the sport as well as entertaining those with more experience.
There is a large real ice rink where adults and children can skate for free.
The emphasis is on offering the activiites available at no extra charge.
As the doors opened at mid-day on Wednesday there was a queue outside.
There are curling lanes on a specail plastic surface.
Then there's the Skills Slope with the Warren Smith Ski Academy.
Visitors are able to have ski tips from the pros.
"The Skills Slope at this year's Ski and Snowboard Show is the best yet. It's been designed to cater for beginners, intermediate, advanced and expert level skiers and boarders. You are able to perfect your parallel turns, get your mogul skiing dialled, learn how to ride boxes and maybe even hit a kicker," said Warren Smith.
He coaches in the Swiss Alps from his base in Verbier and the Swiss resort will also be at The Show for the first time in a while.
Verbier has an impressive stand, but this comes against a backdrop of falling visitors in the resort.
There are some other new exhibitors. The online travel agent, Iglu, is back after a decade.
On a crowded and busy opening day the CEO of the company, Richard Downs, spoke to James Cove about why Iglu is back after a 10- year absence.
And if you want to win a Go Pro camera then pop along to the stand.
Once again there are riders demonstrating their skills on the main slope pulling off jumps and tricks.
Some past exhibitors have dropped out, while others are back.
The main sponsor of the past few years, Land Rover, has decided to give it a miss and Les Trois Vallees has withdrawn too. The French ski area will not be hosting the main apres ski venue.
The retailer, Snow+Rock, took a while to confirm its presence at the show but it will be there.
However in a much smaller capacity than normal. It will not be selling but just displaying.
The exhibitor space did not sell out and one major ski area was offered a spot at the last minute on Tuesday at a heavily discounted rate.
The Show needs to look full.
Other major retailers have confirmed and expanded their commitment.
Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports and The Snowboard Asylum are taking on additional space, selling the top kit for the coming winter.
There is also a The North Face brand store at the show for the first time.
We have been speaking to many people, exhibitors and visitors alike, and people say the show has a bit more of a spring in its step.
Not everwyhere, but certainly overall.
There are also be wine and beer tasting sessions on offer.
These cost; £8 on weekdays and £10 at the weekend.
Norway is sponsoring a resort bar at the heart of the show with a combination of resorts and suppliers partnering to provide a relaxed, Scandinavian experience in the centre of the World Resorts Village.
"Norway has very much been lagging as a ski brand in the UK and as such we have decided to go all out and punch our weight with the re-launch of the Norway ski brand at this year's ski show," said the Sales & Marketing Director of Norwegian Mountain Resorts, Trevor De Villiers.
"This wiIl be our biggest stand ever and will not only act as a launch pad for our new operators, but also a branding exercise to the consumer that Norway has some of the best family, beginner and intermediate skiing products at a price point which rivals some of the more established resorts in Europe."
The organisers have been doing extensive market research and brain-storming to try to make the show new, fresh and relevant to the skiers and snowboarders of today.
"After a great deal of discussion following on from both visitor and exhibitor feedback, we've made a few significant changes to the show this year. It has been pushed back by two weeks so that it falls closer to the winter period, in the half-term holiday, after the clocks go back and after October pay day. We are sure that this will attract more visitors, especially families, who will be receptive to winter sports ideas, gear and attractions," the Head of VOS Media Snowsports, Tim Holmes.
There will be a number of industry events around the show as we reported earlier in the year.
One interesting new development is the World Snow Awards that will judge the best in a series of categories.
These will include the best European resort, North American resort, ski and snowboard brands, airline, and specialist and mainstream tour operators.
The World Snow Awards will be judged by a panel of leading ski and snowboard experts and by public vote. The PlanetSKI content editor, James Cove, was on the judging panel.
According to the organisers winning a World Snow Award is an independent stamp of approval for a company and its products, singling them out from the competition.
The winners will be announced at an awards event on Friday 2nd November.
Here at PlanetSKI we are at The Show every day - reporting back on what people make of it.
And whether it is still relevant and interesting in 2012.
First signs are optimistic.
Meanwhile here is our assessment of the relevancy of the London Ski Show.
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