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WINTER IS COMING - Jane Peel, Chief Reporter
Wednesday September 12, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

It's official. PlanetSKI can confirm that the snowy season in Europe is getting close as we attend 5 winter launch events in just 3 days.



One week in early September every year is when the ski season in Europe is launched in London.

The great and the good (and the media) in the snowsports industry gather at a series of functions to talk about the future, what's new in resorts this winter, and generally have a gossip.

Oh, and eat and drink.

Some take that bit of it very seriously indeed.

First up for PlanetSKI is a Covent Garden reception and presentation by Paul Carter, the Chief Executive of Hotelplan, which owns the ski brands of Inghams, Esprit and Ski Total.

It's a review of last winter and a look ahead to the next.

Paul Carter, HotelplanPaul Carter, CEO Hotelplan













He speaks about the challenges ahead, not least Brexit, and says he is "more cautious than optimistic" about the future.

See our separate story, including a video interview with Paul Carter:

Then it's over to the National Liberal Club in Westminster, the venue that's traditionally hosted the launch of the latest Where To Ski & Snowboard book.

This evening reception always draws a big crowd.

Where To Ski & Snowboard 2018Where To Ski & Snowboard event 2018











The book, in its full glory, hasn't been published for a couple of years now but the editors are gradually releasing books on individual countries.

Last year was Austria. This year it's France.

Where to Ski & Snowboard in FranceThis year's offering from WTSS


















Except, it's not quite ready yet. The preview copies given to the press leave a lot to the imagination.

Greyed out page in WTSS FranceEr....
















The chapters that are finished look good, however, and we look forward to the official publication at the end of October.

WTSS FranceThat's better
















Day 2 and it's an early start for PlanetSKI as we leave the office before dawn to get to Kensington for the first major pre-season industry conference of the year, Ski Launch.

Ski Launch 2018Ski Launch 2018
















We're not quite sure about the shots of Bloody Mary to accompany our egg and bacon butty.

For goodness' sake, it's only 8am.

Bloody MarysBloody Marys














The early hour doesn't put off Colin Mathews of the Meribel-based chalet company, Meriski...

Colin Mathews of MeriskiCheers















I, however, am keen to keep a clear head since, in the absence of our esteemed editor James Cove, who is 'busy' on the other side of the world, (see his latest story from New Zealand), I am chairing Ski Launch.

Panel discussion at Ski Launch 2018Yours truly chairing Ski Launch















Ski Launch 2018Yours truly networking (aka gossiping) at Ski Launch 2018
















Brexit's on the agenda here too (surprise, surprise), as is how to get more of the younger generation to go skiing or snowboarding.

Apparently "Instagramability" is a thing.

Who knew that the most important factor for millennials in choosing their holiday destination is whether it'll give them something worth sticking up on Instagram?

I am indebted to Iain Martin of the digital marketing consultancy Skipedia for that gem.

Ski Launch also hears from the youth snowsports charity Snow-Camp and the new head of British Ski & Snowboard, Vicky Gosling.

See our separate story and video interview with Vicky Gosling:

Vicky Gosling at Ski Launch 2018Vicky Gosling speaks at Ski Launch 2018













From Kensington to Smithfield Market and a p**s-up in a brewery.

And it seems that the French can organise a p**s-up in a brewery.

France Montagnes launchFrance Montagnes launch - photo Tom Miles















France Montagnes, a confederation of several French resorts and other organisations in the ski world, has chosen St Bart's Brewery for its winter launch.

Sadly, PlanetSKI can manage only one drink and one mini-tartiflette canapé before retiring early, shortly after the (thankfully short) video presentations from every resort present.

France Montagnes winter launch 2018If it's Tuesday evening it must be France Montagnes















After all, we're off to Austria next.

In reality we're off to Putney Bridge underground station, our meeting place for event number 5.

The team from Austria National Tourism has promised an "extra special arrival to our Austrian Winter Tales evening" at Fulham Palace.

And this is it...

Horse & carriageYour carriage awaits

Horse & carriageAnd they're off

In a horse & carriageAnd we're off

At Fulham PalaceArrival in style

And then our transport heads back to the underground station to pick up some more guests.

But first they have to turn round.

Have you ever seen a horse and carriage do a three-point turn?

Both the transport and the venue are impressive.

Fulham PalaceFulham Palace

And it turns out the Austrian Winter Tales bit involves a professional storyteller called Vanessa entertaining us over dinner with an updated version of an Austrian folk story, complete with backdrop of a snow-covered Christmas tree.

It's not often you see a bunch of journalists so quiet and obviously rapt.

Professional storyteller Dinner-time story

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news.

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