Don’t let the sunny skies and mild weather fool you; autumn is here and with it the pre-season warm-up event, The Telegraph Ski & Snowboard Show. Recently re-located to Battersea Park, the four day exhibition showcasing retail stores, new launches and international tourist boards is an annual pilgrimage for some. With riders and skiers throwing themselves down the 50 foot kicker of ‘Mount Battersea’ it’s a chance for visitors to start feeling the stoke for the forthcoming season.
What can I see, hear, feel, smell and taste?
new products from big corporate players such as Snow & Rock as well as more independent smaller retailers such as Snooks, who were launching their brand new women’s range of snowboarding outerwear. As a female rider-driven company they were frustrated at the lack of choice in larger sizes and decided to make their own. Riders and skiers can also be seen performing tricks on the ‘Mount Battersea’ kicker and on the rails where Jibworx and Wasteland Ski host their University tour finals.
- Hear: talk sessions covering topics such as off-piste and backcountry skiing and a Q&A with British Ski and Snowboard Athletes can be heard in the Mountain Talks Theatre. Live music beside the Après Bar adds to the ambience and for those wanting some entertainment the Altitude Comedy Festival was there to tickle your funny-bone.
- Feel: the cold from EIS HAUS, a pop-up ice lounge and bar, based in transportable containers was launching this year at the Show.
- Smell and taste: alpine aromas of tartiflette and schnitzel burgers filled the air encouraging visitors and exhibitors alike to quell their rumbling stomachs. Upstairs, in the Après Bar, drinks are served. A Jägermeister on a Friday afternoon really hit the spot and reminded me of winter holidays to come.
Any new innovations?
A number of new innovations were being launched but my eyes caught:
- NixVis: founder Paula Fox is developing washable clothing with integral lighting to ensure greater visibility. The potential of this technology for skiers and snowboarders signifies greater safety in poor mountain conditions and, as a mum, more confidence when my child is out on the mountain. This will be available for the 2017/18 season. Paula has won a number of awards for her clothing designs.
Proggles: a cover designed to protect your goggles without you having to take them off at the end of the day. I know that goggles can get scratched any time, particularly during an après session, and even though I take great care scratches seem to magically materialise. Not anymore now I’m a proud proggle owner.
- Douk Snowboards and Jack Snowboards: these two companies make hand-crafted snowboards for adults and kids respectively. They even allow you to design and build your own board.
Anything for the kids?
As the Show is always held at the end of half-term there are a number of activities to keep the children entertained. I passed many kids ranging from tots in pushchairs up to teenagers.
- KidZania: they provided role-play experiences and electronic drum kits – with headphones!
- Meet Santa: traveling from Norway, the Big Man himself, arrived for a couple of hours.
- Ice Skating: the rink outside allowed the more enthusiastic to burn off some energy.
Should we go?
- The Show is a good day out if you live relatively close and you fancy something different which includes all the family. It took me five hours to get to Battersea from the north east of England, making a 15+ hours day.
- If you are looking to go on a winter holiday but don’t know where to start or where to go, the Show will give you access to the major national tourist boards, from Japan to the Tirol, as well as the big package tour operators of Esprit and Crystal.
- If comedy is your thing and an Après Bar in London appeals then head along to Battersea.
With time away from work and domestic duties visiting the Telegraph Ski & Snowboard Show was an inspiring, refreshing day for me. I met old friends, Mountain Mavericks and Planks Clothing, and made new ones with Susie and Sophie from Snooks alongside Angelica Sykes, UK pro-rider in the Freeride World Qualifier series and Paula from NixVis. Whether you come long next year will depend upon your passion, geography and priorities.
Until later, TTFN