Ski Shows
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Roy
July 29, 2003
Member since 01/11/2000
609 posts
Does anyone have any word on the ski shows? When are they, where,which ones, web sites, etc.

http://www.nationalskiexpo.com/attendee/dca/dc_index.htm

November 7-9. It didn't list a location though.

snowcone
July 29, 2003
Member since 09/27/2002
589 posts
If this is the same group that ran the Ski Expo at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly last November, then I've got to tell you I was totally underwhelmed. It was pretty sucky except for the Warren Miller movie Storm which was impressive. There were no gear manufacturers (that I recall); just local shops. A number of East Coast resorts were there with brochures and stickers and not much else. Inner Ski had their store contents there on sale prior to going out of business. About 1/3 of the hall was taken up with golf equipment sales ... still don't know what that has to do with skiing.

I would not spend the money to go again with out some serious incentives.

PhysicsMan
July 29, 2003
Member since 11/20/2001
218 posts
The National Ski Expo that you mentioned used to be held in Ballston, but for the past several years, it is now being held at the Dulles Expo Center:

http://www.dullesexpo.com/guestinfo/directions/index.htm

FWIW, the location actually is given on their website, except that it is given in the exhibitors (not attendees) section:

http://www.nationalskiexpo.com/exhibitor/dc/index.htm
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Although not quite a "show", Ski Challet will also be holding their annual bash in Chantilly as well:

http://www.skichalet.com/2002/events/warehouse.shtml

Friday, Aug. 22 (Noon - Midnight)
Saturday, Aug. 23 (10am - 6pm)
Sunday, Aug. 24 (11am - 5pm)
Monday, Aug. 25 (10am - 9pm)

Ski Chalet Warehouse & Store
14130 Sullyfield Circle
Chantilly, VA 20151
703-631-7880
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Usually, the Alpine Ski Shop (Oakton and Chantilly - http://www.alpineskishop.com/ ) also holds a big sale on the same days as the big Ski Chalet sale to try to attract some of their customers.
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The Ski Center sale and NPS swap is Oct. 26th, 2003 (http://www.skicenter.com/events/skiswap.htm )
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HTH,

Tom / PM


PS - I just saw Snowcone's post. I feel pretty much the same way about most of these events. They are great places to shmooze, pick up some brochures, see a flick, ride the skiing simulator/game, and maybe pick up some accessories or seriously old used equipment, but as a way to pick up important stuff (ie, skis, boots, helmets), the prices aren't the best, the selection is limited, and the staff has absolutely no time for the individualized help needed for items like boots. The Expo was also a good place to get your season pass for the local areas - decent pre-season prices and they could take your picture (if you are a new pass holder or have a growing kid).

[This message has been edited by PhysicsMan (edited 07-29-2003).]

Rich
July 29, 2003
Member since 11/30/2000
194 posts
Snowcone is soooo right. That show went from the entire Balston Commons, to one floor, to the boondocks, to, well, this year I'd expect a Toys-R-Us ski booth and maybe a Whitetail Vacation Timeshare table, that's about it.
(Anonymous)
July 29, 2003
We had the same sad ski show here in the Baltimore area...mostly golf(yuck!)I don't know why the ski show could not be held somewhere between Washington and Baltimore, say the Columbia area. That way they could draw from both markets. The Dulles Expo Center is a long trip for me and any ski enthusiast in the Baltimore area. Years ago, it was held at the Baltimore Convention Center, however, you could see the declining attendence each year. The ski industry as a whole does an extremely poor job of promoting itself. For example, if you go to Wisp to ski, it is an easy drive to ski Timberline, Canaan Valley, Seven Springs and Hidden Valley....so why can't these resorts form a joint marketing effort, say "Ski the Mid-Atlantic" (similar to the promotions in New England). Or maybe the ski industry could hire a popular spokes person such as Cal Ripken or similar celebrety. If the National Ski Expo folks can't draw the exhibitors, they are not going to draw the people and if the people don't come, they are not going to draw the exhibitors, and so on. It seems like it's going to get worse before it gets better.
Happy trails!
PhysicsMan
July 30, 2003
Member since 11/20/2001
218 posts
Rich said:
> ...That show went from the entire Balston Commons, to one floor, to the
> boondocks, to, well, this year I'd expect a Toys-R-Us ski booth and maybe
> a Whitetail Vacation Timeshare table, that's about it...

I don't think that's a fair characterization of last year's show at the Dulles Expo Center. I would say that the overall size and attendence were pretty impressive.

In addition, I did not see any co-mingling of skiing/boarding with other activities like golf. (BTW, Snowcone - Are you sure we are talking about the same show and the same year?) The only golf stuff I remember at the ski show was the resorts pushing their summer activities. There was another show going on at the same time (...and it might have been golf...), but it was in a completely separate part of their complex.

I would estimate that last fall's ski expo occupied something in the vicinity of 100,000 sq. ft., and at the time we were there, it was surprisingly crowded (ie, maybe a couple of thousand people in the hall at any one moment).

While I wasn't particularly WOW'ed by this show, my generally modest level of interest in such shows is pretty specific to me and maybe other long-time, reasonably advanced skiers. For example, I'm not all that interested in the ski swap, soft goods, or accessory displays. I'm reasonably familiar with most of the ski areas on the east coast, personally don't need to any more brochures from them, and certainly wouldn't attempt to try to book good lodging deals for the upcoming season at such an event.

Rather, at such shows, I would prefer being able to see and lay hands on next season's equipment, being able to chat about it with knowledgable equipment reps, and even viewing short but high quality slide shows or movies from ski areas that I haven't visited in a while and which highlight their latest improvements

On the other hand, it was a most pleasant way to spend 3 hours on a hot summer afternoon, there were lots of nice people from ski areas to chat with, and we even wound up with some free lift tickets. The show even held the attention of my 10 y.o. and got her stoked for the next season's skiing.

Time permitting, I would definitely attend again, but I just don't set my expectations too high. After all, skiing is about being out on the mountain, not at a show, and there is only so much they can do at a ski show.

Tom / PM


PS - Snowsmith - I certainly would also prefer a merged Balto / DC show, especially if it was more in-depth. I also like your idea for joint marketing, a spokesperson, etc. FWIW, the National Ski Expo folks claim they are going to air 800 TV advertisements for their show in the weeks preceeding it. Another FWIW, I take the word, "National" in their name with a very large grain of salt -grin.

[This message has been edited by PhysicsMan (edited 07-30-2003).]

JohnL
July 30, 2003
Member since 01/6/2000
3,512 posts
From a Northern Virginia perspective, Columbia is much more out in the boondocks than Chantilly. (And I lived in Columbia for 2 years and Montgomery County for 5 years, so I'm not a stranger to MD.) If Baltimore won't let us get a baseball team, we're not moving our ski show closer to Baltimore

Last year there was a golf section in the main expo floor of the National Ski / Snowboard Expo in Chantilly (Dulles). It was to the left as you entered the doors; it was much smaller and had much less traffic than the ski section.

I'm not certain that last year's event was much smaller than the previous one's at the Ballston Common Mall. It's difficult to compare 3 levels of narrow mall walkways with one large open area. The main expo area in Dulles is very large. It's kinda like comparing the size of a basketball crowd in a tiny old arena versus one in a superdome - the dome crowd often seems smaller since it's filling a smaller section of the building...

I agree with Physics Man that if you set your expectations accordingly, the expo is worth it. Though if they raise the admissions price any more, I'm not certain about that... There is one ski shop from Woodbridge (Village Ski Shop?) that normally has real good prices on jackets and pants. I've saved a lot of money in the past. I would never buy anything that required much service (ie boots) at a ski convention (or the Dilly in Chantilly for that matter). The sales people are just too busy and they may not have all their fitting equipment there. (Ski Chalet normally has the same prices the week after the Dilly if you want more service. Check with them on that.)

There were several equipment reps at last year's show (though not every major brand was represented). I was able to get a lot of useful info from a K-2 rep on ski models and sizing. It's nice to compare what the rep says versus what ski shop sales people say. The equipment reps were generally much less busy than the ski shop booths.

I always seem to get some useful info schmoozing with the ski area reps, whether it's travel/driving recommendations, special events, new trails that were cut, places to stay, happy hours, etc. I've even gotten powder stash and tree skiing recommendations - just have to know how to ask. Plus, it's always fun trying to hit on some of the cuties who work the booth - the ratio is better at the booths than at the areas themselves.

PhysicsMan
July 30, 2003
Member since 11/20/2001
218 posts
JohnL said:

> ...there was a golf section...It was to the left as you entered the
> doors; it was much smaller and had much less traffic than the ski section...

Thanks for the info. Wasn't that also roughly where the ski swap area was located? I saw the swap area, wasn't interested, and never went beyond it to the left.
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> ...There were several equipment reps at last year's show...

And here I thought they were vaporware - people were telling me that they were around, but each time I checked back in that area not one of them could be found. I would have liked to chat with them.
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> ...I always seem to get some useful info schmoozing with the ski area reps...

Ditto. The Sunday R booth had a photo of a spot on the mtn that my kid recognized. Their reps really appreciated that and there was instant camaraderie, much discussion, etc.
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> ... it's always fun trying to hit on some of the cuties who work the booths ...

Really? Unfortunately, however, I'll have to take "The Fifth" on that.

Tom / PM

Roy
July 31, 2003
Member since 01/11/2000
609 posts
It sounds like we're talking about the same show. I don't remember any equipment reps either. Just all the local shops.

It was cool to see the Warren Miller movie on a bigger screen. I still can't convince my wife to let me buy the theatre surround sound system.

I thought some of the shops though had good deals on skis. The equipment was the previous years and even the year before that. I can't compare to ski chalet's show because I've never been to that one. It seems I'm out of town every year when it happens.

(Anonymous)
October 4, 2003
According to the directions on the web page, it's at the Dulles Expo Center.
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