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London Ski Show 2019 Review
Now called The Daily Telegraph Ski and Snowboard Festival in association with Turkish Airlines! Haven’t really worked out where you’d go skiing with Turkish Airlines but never mind…
Back in the year 2000 we had a reunion of over 40 La Tania Seasonaires and to get in to Olympia on those days early to grab the bargains you had to queue around the block. The show ran for 12 days and almost half of it were dedicated to Snow & Rock and Ellis Brigham but along with other retailers there were lots of deals to be had including old stock practically given away – much has changed since then however…
Appalling weather on Thursday didn’t really help with a 10 minute walk from the nearest bus stop (there were a golf buggy shuttle somewhere apparently but not the easiest of places to get to in any case) then difficulty getting your mobile phone touch screen to work in the pouring rain to show your ticket. Once inside the main building trying to dry out, there was one coffee bar – Drovers Coffee in a converted Land Rover was a lifesaver! The busy bar upstairs charging £6.00 for a 330ml bottle of beer was the only other place for indoor refreshments – everything else – including all the food stalls – was outside in the pouring rain with practically no shelter available. Not a great start but then there’s no such thing as bad weather – just inadequate equipment as someone once said…
Felt like there was very few independent chalet companies / operators like recent years but some specialist / niche stands were quite interesting there was however, hardly any skis on display! If it wasn’t for the excellent Finches Emporium there would have been any (save a few on the Skimium stand, some specialist ski manufactures such as Groove Armada and PFD plus Decathlon with their own Wed‘Ze brand). Can’t recall the K2 stand but they were on the list of exhibitors. Plenty of accessories including lots of sunglasses and goggles (and cases) plus fitness and massage stands – Ski Mojo had Chemmy Alcott on their stand promoting the well respected ski brace.
The France Montagnes stand had plenty of resorts represented but the biggest ski area in the world, The 3 Valleys wasn’t there again after making a brief return last year – they must have millions in their marketing budget – I don’t understand why they don’t go to the UK’s biggest (and now, only ski show). Nice Fondue and French Wines on the stand though and very friendly reps from the resorts and the ESF. Picked up our annual map of French Mountain Resorts listing the 89 resorts across the 5 French mountain ranges with La Tania now just included under Courchevel sadly.
Nice to catch up with Snow Shepherd who had their full range of Seasonaire Proof ski gloves and mittens on display (and special show prices too). They really do keep you hands warm no matter what the mountain throws at you and certainly last much longer than any gloves I’ve had.
Also with a stand were our old friends Snow Safe showing off all their back country avalanche safety equipment. Including their off piste backpacks for £49.99 – less than half the price of the Ortovox equivalent we reckon. We were given a Slope Angel device to test next Winter too – measures slope inclination, temperature and altitude for help in understanding avalanche risk and decision making. It also has a useful avalanche transceiver check function too.
A few drinks with some of the Tourist Offices with Norway, Austria, Switzerland and Japan really pushing the boat out on hospitality. Then visits to ski resort stands where we’d skied many years ago – such as Borovets in Bulgaria and The Canyons in Utah – to see what’s changed and get an up to date piste map (not a lot in the case of Borovets but huge expansion in The Canyons).
Caught up with Iain Martin (ex-Natives, Skipedia) who did a presentation on reducing our use of flights and to think about going skiing by train or by car – with 4 or 5 people in a modern car the carbon foot print is even lower than by train. A lot of interesting points on how action is needed to protect our winters – more on the website at skiflightfree.org and lots of info on travelling by train on Daniel Elkan’s snowcarbon.co.uk website. Of course travelling by train to La Tania is very easy with Moûtiers Eurostar train station only 16km away.
Plenty of activities for kids including ice skating (indoors), curling, kids zone, ferris wheel, dog sledding, roller skis, skate ramp etc. Also there’s live music including Hobo Chic, Al Jones and Westy who all play La Tania and the French Alps regularly.
If you’re going, then fully embrace it and get involved in everything, it really will feel like Winter and the ski season is getting closer – make sure you wrap up warm and dry though!