I visited the Metro Ski & Snowboard Show last month, London, Olympia. With the season getting under way, trips being planned, new equipment being bought, it was perfect timing to absorb all things snowboarding. Here’s what I thought.
What type of things were on offer?
The show was extremely varied: video showings, kit to buy, snowboard demos and competition, fashion shows, art, resort information, accommodation information, flight companies, chalet groups, magazines, snowboard clubs… if you were looking for something in-particular there was a good chance you’d find it, or at least someone who knew something about it.
How useful was it?
Well there was something there for everyone, so it kinda depends on what your interests are. Do you want to know more about something, buy new kit, are you browsing? The fact that some parts the show were more information-oriented, and others were exhibition-oreinted worked well.
For example, I sat down and watched a presentation about car safety in the winter, followed by ChunkyKnit’s new film Last Winter. I was quite interested in the car safety stuff but felt it was more of a demo and sales-show. Last Winter on the other hand, suited me much better.
With the snowboarding film I was quite happy to just sit back, watch and enjoy, but to get more out of the talk, I should have chatted to the presenter afterwards.
Some information, I sought specifically. The snowboard show was a great opportunity for me to talk to the guys from BASI and McNab about instructing. Face to face is often much better than browsing a web site – which is all I had done until that point. I received some really good, unbiased information, along with details of what their companies had to offer.
I was also particularly impressed by a talk regarding setting up your own chalet company. The presentation gave a good overview of key things to consider – and the invitation was there to talk to the guy afterwards.
There were lots of people from lots of different backgrounds, all willing to help.
What kind of deals were there for buying new kit?
I think a lot of people would expect big discounts at a show like this. I didn’t see any. Nothing that stood out as being show-specific. There were sales from last season’s gear – but the new gear that I looked at was all listed at regular price. There weren’t “big savings to be had”.
That said, when we bought a new pair of boarding boots we did get a free t-shirt and DVD, which was a nice bonus. Oh yeah, and a beer to drink while we waited for the heat-molding!
I suppose the big plus point for merchandise at the show was choice. There was a lot of choice under the same roof – so there was plenty to try on, look at and compare. It’s not normal to have that many snowboarding retailers in the same place. What’s more, with some of the smaller/internet shops having stalls you also got to see some less-mainstream products…
Was the snowboarding good to watch?
I think I missed the best action, which may have occurred on Friday with the Orange Aim series competition.
But that’s not to say that the riding I saw on Saturday wasn’t good. It was just more demo-like. I thought the set up they had with the quarter pipe was pretty impressive, and it succeeded in bring some real-action into the show, which was great.
Should I go to the next one?
I thought the show was excellent. There were loads of resources to tap into which enabled me to learn about some of the more ‘niche’ things that I’m interested in. There was also an abundance of mainstream stuff like resort offerings – so if you’re looking for somewhere new you can take your pick. I chatted to the guy from Big White in Canada, perfect.
If you’re into browsing then it’s all there. The latest gear, the big strores, the smaller shops, interesting art work and real life snowboarding demos. You can spend the whole day just walking around soaking it all in.
If you’re new to snowboarding a show like this makes for a perfect introduction. Any possible questions you might have can be answered and you’re certain to go away craving your first holiday and planning your first lessons.
If you like snowboarding it’s a great day out!