THE SKI FESTIVAL IS HERE
24th October 2019 | Jane Peel, Chief Reporter
Last modified on April 20th, 2020
The annual Ski & Snowboard Festival is underway in London. PlanetSKI turned out to see what’s on offer…
Here’s our rolling blog of our day at the Festival.
Thursday – 1.30pm
It’s a sure sign that winter is almost here.
Four days of sport, entertainment, competitions, food, drink and shopping.
The London Ski and Snowboard Festival is back in Battersea Park.
It opened at midday and we’ve already had a good nosey around.
Straight inside because it’s raining heavily outside.
It’s looking good.
Which is more than can be said for yours truly and the PlanetSKI social media supremo, Kisia Cove after we paid a visit to the Japan stand.
Graystone Action Sports has a mini skate park at the back of the exhibition hall and a couple of GB’s Park & Pipe athletes were getting some exercise as we passed by.
Here’s 13-year-old snowboarder Mia Brookes, who we’ve featured often here on PlanetSKI.
As usual, one of the most colourful and inviting stands is that hosted by our friends in the Austrian Tirol.
Lots of lederhosen, dirndls, cheese & wine.
Thursday – 2.30pm
The Ellie Soutter Foundation has announced grants to two snowsports athletes to help them with their training and travel.
Ellie’s dad Tony handed over cheques for 8,000 Euros each to snowboarders Maisie Hill – who is a previous beneficiary – and 12-year-old Charlie Lane in a brief presentation ceremony at the show.
Tony Soutter set up the Foundation after Ellie took her own life on her 18th birthday.
The grants are aimed at helping young winter athletes cope with the stresses of finding sufficient money to pursue their passion.
Ellie was a rising star of GB snowboarding and competed in Snowboard Cross and freeride.
Charlie Lane’s dad Peter told us the money would be a big help to Charlie as he plans his competition season across the Alps this winter.
He competes in snowboard slopestyle and boarder cross and is ranked number one in the world in the under-12 age group.
What’s noticeable at the Festival in 2019 is that there seem to be even more ways to embarass yourself than in previous years.
Pretending to be British freestyle skier James ‘Woodsy’ Woods, with a little bit of help from Jonjoe and Lamar….
Jonjoe is an East Londoner whose life was transformed by the youth charity Snow-Camp which introduced him to skiing just a few years ago.
He went on to be a ski instructor in Verbier and tells us he’s now focussing on trying to compete on the Freeride World Tour.
Lamar has just learned to snowboard with Snow-Camp.
Next up, the Crystal Ski snowball challenge.
How many blue balls can you collect in 30 seconds?
If you pick up the one green ball, you double your score.
Let’s just say we are not at the top of the leaderboard.
We fared better at the Crystal Ski curling challenge, though we buckled under the competitive pressure when we took on Crystal’s MD Chris Logan.
Crystal recently announced a partnership with GB Snowsport and will be sponsoring five, as yet unidentified, British athletes this winter.
Chris Logan tells us the company wants to do more to raise the profile of skiing and snowboarding in Britain and encourage participation.
“As the biggest in the industry, if we don’t do it and take a lead, it isn’t going to happen,” he says.
Some of GB’s Park & Pipe team have been in action on the big kicker, aka Mount Battersea.
As the rain eased they’ve been putting on a show for the crowds in the #SendIt sessions.
Too much work so far, not enough window shopping.
We fancy a bit more ski touring this winter and Decathlon appear to have some amazing packages.
For the first time this season, its main UK stories will be selling touring skis with bindings and skins as part of the deal.
They’re probably not the lightest touring skis on the planet but for £499 all up, that’s not bad at all.
We like the look of Decathlon’s Wedze branded jackets too.
Note to self…. Must pop back later to try some on….
No trip to the Ski Festival is ever complete without a visit to the Norway Home of Skiing stand.
If you’re coming here over the next few days, you can’t miss it.
Really, you can’t.
We arrived shortly after it was announced that the Norwegian resorts of Kvitfjell and Hafjell have been added to the Crystal Ski programme for this winter.
We visited both last season and were impressed.
Back to Japan.
Or at least to see the Inghams team who are promoting their inclusion of Japanese ski resorts in their winter offering.
These two are vying with the Tirol for the prize of best dressed at the show.
Next up was our friends at MPI Brokers, the ski insurance specialists, who told us they’d been busy all day.
Well, we all need insurance.
Or maybe the attraction was the lucky dip with prizes up for grabs.
The wrong type of snowball, apparently.
That’s all folks.
They’re closing up for the night.
Over and out.
Check out more photographs and highlights of the First Day on PlanetSKI’s Instagram here.