As the leaves turn red and orange, some people are left dreading the impending stark white landscape to come. But for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts, the only question on the mind is: when will that first blanket of snow cover the slopes?
If the first trickles of snow aren’t enough to get the snow sports folks excited, the annual Edmonton Ski & Snowboard Show usually goes a long way, and this year was no different.
This year the event was packed with the latest gear booths from United Cycle, Mud Sweat and Gears, and various other establishments. Every one of them was selling their gear at discounted prices as everyone scrambled to get geared up for the oncoming season.
“These events are good because all the shops here are here to get rid of their inventory, and it gets everyone really amped up for the season to open,” said Spencer Paulhus, a director with Backside Tours.
But the Ski & Snowboard Show isn’t just a venue meant for powder-hounds to get the latest gear. Resorts such as Banff’s Sunshine Valley, Jasper’s Marmot Basin and many others were represented at this year’s event, giving out prizes and packages as well as selling price cards.
The event even gives local clubs like the Edmonton Ski Club the chance to showcase their gear swap, and make themselves known to newcomers in the sport. The gear swap is a chance for skiers and snowboarders to trade-in or purchase new equipment at a reduced cost.
“Where at one time we were perceived as a private club for racing and for freestyle, we have the biggest terrain park in Edmonton, and we engage and even teach newcomers how to ski,” Executive Director of the club Ken Saunders said.
“While the reputation of skiing and snowboarding might provide some enough incentive to check these sports out, other newcomers to the sport might find the financial investment of getting started a bit too steep.”
The ski club’s gear swap was an excellent option for beginners and advanced skiers to upgrade their equipment without hurting their wallets.
Contributors from the Edmonton Ski Club and cooperating retailers all provided equipment for the gear swap. Amongst a sea of boots and boards there was everything someone would need to get into winter sports at a relatively low cost.
Buying the equipment is one thing, but with how specialized ski and snowboard gear usually is, it can be a bit of a problem selecting what may be best for you. Because of these daunting challenges when it comes to getting started buying gear, volunteers from both the Edmonton Ski Club and the participating retailers were out at the show in full force to give insightful knowledge as to what newcomers might need.
“Especially for students and people with kids, it’s an expensive sport. So if you can come out and get some equipment and save a bunch of money, I believe it opens up the door for more people to get involved in the sport,” said Saunders.
While The Ski & Snowboard Show is not a student-targeted event, there were definitely some incentives for students who ski or snowboard at this year’s event. As the season has not yet opened, Saunders and the Edmonton Ski Club are currently in negotiations with MacEwan’s Students’ Association to get some exclusive discounts for MacEwan students.
“Having an event like this is important for two reasons: it really gets everyone amped up for the season, and it generates income for us. Our club is not-for-profit, so the clubs that associate with us really depend on us to raise funds,” Saunders said.
For organizations like the Edmonton Ski Club, the Ski & Snowboard Show is a fundamental contributing factor to the success of their season. The event caters not only to the enthusiasts of the sport, but to the small businesses and guiding companies that depend on the influx of orders and trips for their seasons, as well.
While the Edmonton Ski & Snowboard Show is great for building excitement and helping equip skiers and snowboarders with the best gear, what was the most striking was how perfectly it embodied the culture of the sport.
The friendly atmosphere, food, and other temptations made this year’s Edmonton Ski & Snowboard Show a can’t miss for both experienced riders and those just looking to get into the sport.
Cover photo by Florian Forster / CC BY-SA.