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SKI SHOW - NOW & THEN - Jane Peel, Chief Reporter
Wednesday October 26, 2016 - Email this article to a friend

It's 43 years old and has had its ups and downs. Sunday is the final day of the London Ski & Snowboard Show & PlanetSKI is there. NEW & UPDATED

This year the sun is out and the people arrived in their numbers in Battersea Park, enjoying the action at the 4-day event.

Pro athletes including members of the GB Park & Pipe team have been giving demos on the 50ft kicker.

Pro demo 2016 London Ski ShowDay 2 action















This was the spectacular finale of a lunchtime display, footage courtesy of Stuart Brass at The Brits.

Check out this PlanetSKI report as we witnessed the pros in action on Friday night.

It's the second year at Battersea Evolution and the organisers are hoping changes they've made will boost visitor numbers. 

In 2015 just over 25,500 people came to the show, 10,000 fewer than the previous year.

Ticket prices have been reduced and the show has moved back to its traditional school half-term dates with new features, including free ice-skating to attract more families. 

Ice Rink London ski show 2016Outdoor ice rink for 2016
















PlanetSKI has been on the ice and had many other experience as our news reporter, Katie Bamber, toured the show; see here for that full report.

There is even a golf buggy shuttle service through Battersea Park following complaints that the venue was too far from public transport.

Ski & Snowboard Show 2016 planWhat's on in 2016














There are things to buy and holidays to book, but with so many deals and discounts available online, fewer skiers and snowboarders do their buying at the show these days, and the show no longer resembles the retail park it once did.

Ski boots 2016 London Ski & Snowboard ShowStuff to buy
















It's one reason many retailers, tour operators and resorts have pulled out over the years.

The major snowsports store, Ellis Brigham, is the latest to abandon the show.

A big draw, once again, is Mount Battersea.

London Ski & Snowboard Show 2016Mount Battersea - photo @jamesnorthphoto













Below is some action from day 1.

Back in 1973 things were very different.

It was the year Britain joined the Common Market, the power crisis plunged the country into a three-day week, women were admitted to the Stock Exchange for the first time.

And the Ski Show was born, the brainchild of an entrepreneur called Peter Anslow.

Crucially, his idea was backed by the then editor of the Daily Mail, Sir David English, whose support made it happen.

It was an innovation that helped open up the sport -  once the preserve of the rich  - to the masses.

Royal Horticultural Halls, WestminsterRoyal Horticultural Halls












The show started out at the Royal Horticultural Halls in Westminster - first at the old hall, then the new.

It was the place to go for your mountain gear - and what gear it was. 

Just take a look at the skis and boots in this film.

It used to have an official opening ceremony, with big names involved.

Really big names - the Italian slalom superstar Alberto Tomba, for example, and even Diana, Princess of Wales.

Michael Pettifer, the owner of the ski insurance specialists and PlanetSKI partner, MPI Brokers, has been to every show since it began.

Michael Pettifer, MPI BrokersMichael Pettifer
















"I can't remember much about the first one.  It was very small," he says, "probably a couple of dozen stands."

He says everything changed when a full dry ski slope was introduced at Earls Court in the late 70s.

"They had various activities going on at the slope during the day, and in the evening they would have presentations of ski teaching from different countries," he says.

"There were shows with music, a DJ and lots of razamatazz".

This British Movietone footage is from the 1978 show at Earl's Court.


In the early days at Earls Court Michael Pettifer was asked to organise races between teams from the City of London.

In 1981 he competed for Lloyds in full city attire.

Daily Mail cutting - Ski Show 1981City Racer




















On the last day of the show, before it opened to the public, racers from the ski industry competed against each other .

Unlike the public races, these races used the whole ski slope - and more.

"We couldn't have the public there, it was too dangerous," Michael says.

"At the bottom of the slope there was a 10-foot drop onto a concrete floor. We used to ski off the end and land on the floor.

"How none of us hurt ourselves I don't know.  It was horrendous".

Earls Court Ski Show 2011Earls Court 2011
















The show moved between Earls Court and Olympia for many years, first sponsored by the Daily Mail and then the Daily Telegraph.

It used to run for 10 days, over 2 weekends.

Huge stands were taken by some of the major snowsports retailers, sharing the exhibition space with representatives hundreds of ski businesses and resorts from across the world.

Stand at the Ski ShowShopping at an earlier show













In 2014 the show, which had by then already been cut back to 5 days, was shortened again to 4.

But the biggest transformation came last year, with the move to Battersea Park.

The Alpine Experience was born - chalet-style stalls selling authentic mountain food and drink, music, comedy, the 50ft kicker, with competitions and demos by elite athletes.

Ski & Snowboard show 2015All change for 2015












It's a shame the weather wasn't great, but we rather liked it, as we reported here.

The 2016 London Ski & Snowboard Show takes place at a tough time for the industry.

There's Brexit, the plummeting pound, and now inflation is on the rise - though it's nowhere near what it was back in 1973.

The Show has had to change to survive and there'll probably more changes ahead.

Last year it took a big step away from being an exhibition and towards becoming an experience.

It's too soon for us to reach a final verdict, but so far we think it's even better than 2015.

It's buzzing and the half-term timing appears to have drawn the crowds.

Queue forms at 11.10am Thursday morningQueue forms at 11.10am Day 1
















London Ski & Snowboard Show 2016Buzzing in 2016
















Here at PlanetSKI we are at the show everyday.

The 2016 London Ski & Snowboard Show is at Battersea Evolution from Thursday 27th October to Sunday 30th October.

More details can be found on the official website.

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the world of snowsports.

PlanetSKI: No1 for ski news

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