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A DAY AT THE SKI SHOW - Katie Bamber, PlanetSKI
Friday October 28, 2016 - Email this article to a friend

Impressive freestyle, free ice skating, the skiing buzz and apres bars. PlanetSKI gets involved at the London Ski & Snowboard show at Battersea on its opening day.

It's been almost a decade since my last visit to the ski show in London.

So, what's changed?

To find out I was there as the gates opened and stayed till the end - the bitter end.

And beyond...

11:00 am

As I stepped into the show in Battersea Park earlydoors on Thursday as the show got underway, the first thing to note was the change of venue.

Secondly, the show was a lot more compact than I remember.

Gone were the days of the cavernous exhibition spaces of Earls Court and Olympia, this time it was Battersea Park in its autumn glory.

And smaller is no bad thing in my opinion.

Ski & Snowboard Show 2016Ski & Snowboard Show 2016




















Old meets newOld meets new
















I wandered around simply to get a feel for the place.

It divided quite distinctly into two zones. Outside was the ice rink, kicker, bars and food. 

Inside, were the stalls and exhibitors plying their wares.

Inside the ShowInside the show
















12:00 pm

Wandering round the site checking out the space, I bumped into the show's organiser, Damian Norman.

"The layout is different from last year. We've tried to make it as much like an alpine village as possible. The apres bar is at the bottom of the big jump, like the busy ones in resorts at the bottom of the slope."

The perfect viewing spot.

The Lodge is an inside apres bar, slightly more sophisticated and upstairs, away from the hubbub.

"The Lodge is now more accessible. Last year people were getting turned away," Damian said.

The LodgeThe Lodge




















The buzz and rush of excitement I got about the coming season was real and instant as I stepped in early on Thursday.

I felt excited to be in a snowsports atmosphere, surrounded by all things skiing and snowboarding.

In the outside area of the show are two jumps.

One a mini-kicker with a number of juniors tirelessly going up and down.

And then the big one, dubbed Mount Battersea.

The jumpThe jump




















12:30 pm

The outside festivities surround Crystal's free ice rink.

I went on for a go.

Now ice skating is not my strength.

Feeling uncomfortable on the ice and in the skates (they are worse than ski boots) I had to borrow a sturdy penguin to help keep my balance.

Crystal's ice rink















Crystal's ice rinkCrystal's ice rink

















But in the end I managed to get round.

Clothes stands with discounted prices and ski suits of some serious patterns line the outside of the rink.

12:55 pm

I tried my legs on a machine that simulates the ski turn movement on the slopes.

Fun to try out, but depressing to realise, by the instant muscle fatigue, quite how out of shape I am this close to the ski season.

13:45 pm

The ice bar at the side could go unnoticed behind the apres bar, but is worth a look inside (though for a £10 fee).

I managed to visit it twice - my last was at the end of the day, but more of that later...

It was so cold in there (more than usual!) that it was hard to enjoy a drink, even wrapped up in one of their jackets. But a fun novelty, nonetheless.

Into the coldInto the cold
















Much needed shotA much needed shot
















The ice barThe ice bar




















And then it was back inside the main exhibition area and a tour round the stalls.

The inside of the show is a maze of stands run by resorts, tour operators, ski boot fitters, wine tasters, clothing brands and the rest.

Inside the ShowInside the show
















I cruised the stands, chatting to people and bumping into a few friends.

The time slipped by. I had forgotten about lunch.


Though the cabins for the food looked the part, I'm afraid I was slightly disappointed by the food.

With a chance to go all out with alpine-style street food, it seemed like the food aspect of skiing had been sidelined.

The choice was down on last year, according to the people I chatted with.

One of my colleagues from PlanetSKI, Jane Peel, raved about the food last year.

Still, the tartiflette was tasty.

















A seriously good pizza stand hidden round the side of the building gets my vote, though.

15:15 pm

Back inside I caught the end of the technique session of the ski trainer of Channel 4's The Jump and the man with a ski academy in Verbier, Warren Smith.

Warren SmithWarren Smith
















Earlier in the week I had met him and his team at one of his talks and lab sessions at the flagship Ellis Brigham store in Covent Garden; See here for my earlier report. 

With competitions to ski with Eddie the Eagle to personal giff making, the Ski & Snowboard Show has a good atmosphere that gives you the buzz that comes with the approaching ski season.

Particularly good was ski tracking iPhone app Snoww - something like Instagram but with more features such as kilometres skied, calories burned.

The clock ticked on...

16:00 pm

My top pick from the show are the VR goggles scattered around the show.

It was an intense experience that made me feel as though I was high up on a chairlift without the bar down.

Incredible technology, though.

Out of this world experience!An incredible virtual experience

















So the rain has stayed away so far and it's nicely busy with ski and board enthusiasts.

Great crowd!

And as the day drew to a close it was back to the ice bar for a nightcap.

The serious apres is going to be happening on Friday with the pros jumping on the kicker and the bars open until 10pm.

I'm coming back for more!


















And I was back again on Friday evening for the entertainment and apres.

There was Eddie the Eagle on the Kicking Horse Powder Tours stand - or rather standing on top of its Land Rover.

Eddie flies againEddie flies again


















And if you want the chance to ski with him and visit the Olympic jump in Calgary then you can next winter.

Inside, The Lodge bar was doing brisk business.

















And outside, the bar at the bottom of the slope was getting people in the mood for winter.

Apres ski London-styleApres ski London-style
















Cheers (again!)Cheers (again!)
















Here's to the ski season of 2016/17 - bring it on!

To see more about this year's Show, including a look back at its 43-year history, see what PlanetSKI has written here already.

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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