Show opens!

20th October 2011, by Chris Gill

World Resorts: Three Valleys stand had the vibe on Wednesday

World Resorts: Three Valleys stand had the vibe on Wednesday

The Ski and Snowboard Show got underway in London yesterday, Wednesday 19 October, and Where to Ski and Snowboard was there to share with you the gossip and vibe from day one – traditionally press day, but also open to the public. And the public poured in to check out what’s on offer this year ...

Firstly, the show is back in the spacious setting of Earls Court after many years at Olympia. For those of you used to Olympia, you’ll find the stands all on one level now – but in a spacious hall that makes wandering around pretty relaxed.

And there is plenty going on to get everyone in the groove for winter, not least some terrific freestyle demos, culinary displays on the Three Valleys stand, a fashion show, mountain talks from Warren Smith and Henry’s Avalanche (HAT) and live music. Visitors were treated to delicious dishes from the masters of cuisine at the Folie Douce, later followed by bopping to a dance band.

Of course, for most visitors the show means checking out the latest kit for the coming winter, snapping up an offer or two, and planning or booking holidays. With everything under one roof it’s easy to move from one sector to another.

The World Resort Village takes you on journeys around the Alps, across the pond to the US and Canada, and to some exotic or less-well-known places to ski. What about Slovakia, for example?

There are fewer bargains to be had, we thought, but the emphasis is on revealing what’s out there and how to shop around. There are new destinations, new and different lodging etc.

One operator we spoke to is offering a set of small chalets this winter, ideal for small groups or several groups – the chalets are in a cluster together, sleeping (for example) four and a six. Chalet holidays are very popular at the moment, given the economic crisis. Many tour operators are running with new all-inclusive incentives too.

Among familiar faces at the show were Graham Bell and Ali Ross – whose unconventional skiing clinics in Tignes have made him a legend. Now almost 70 years old, Ross is still at the forefront of modern ski techniques (and has taught our Eds), helping everyone to achieve goals and progress. Ali’s DVD and app are new instructional media if you can’t make it out to the clinics.

This year’s freestyle slope is not immediately obvious, but it is actually occupies a big space at the back of the hall; it’s centrepiece is a 50ft high kicker. The pros were taking some air at various intervals during the day. The was a fun fashion show – purple being the next ‘big thing’ this winter. And we even spotted a range of rather bold (many florescent) under garments (yes, pants!) to team up with your colourful ski wear.

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