news flash! ski expo sucks again
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myrto
November 10, 2008
Member since 10/4/2001 🔗
259 posts
at least now I no longer have any expectations
Domino
November 11, 2008
Member since 10/17/2006 🔗
6 posts
I went this weekend as well - my first time - and was very disappointed. If my son didn't want to watch the indoor ramp, we would have been out of there in 20 minutes.
Scott - DCSki Editor
November 11, 2008
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,146 posts
What changes would you like to see to make the Expo better?
boarderbabe
November 11, 2008
Member since 02/7/2005 🔗
33 posts
We have gone through all that before. I truly do not think it will get better unless someone else runs the show. It needs to be in a more public place (like a mall)It needs to have many many more exhibitors, if it stays the way it is then it should be free. $10 is absurd for what you see.
The only way i think this can be revived is by being able to promise the vendors huge crowds. So put it in a mall, Union Station, Balston Pentagon City, Tysons, Fairoaks, Metro accessible if necessary. It should be in conjunction with travel industry, airlines, tour busses Amtrak. It is just so messed up right now i cannot imagine the people that run it are capable of fixing it.
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jimboc
November 11, 2008
Member since 03/30/2004 🔗
260 posts
its the only way to go.....no/low expectations - see the movie and get your 2 free lift tickets!! Thank god the travel show was there or that place would have only been 1/4 full....

*I thought the 3 stores selling stuff there had a nice wide variety of stuff (cheap goggles,poles, helmets....)
comprex
November 11, 2008
Member since 04/11/2003 🔗
1,326 posts
Originally Posted By: Scott
What changes would you like to see to make the Expo better?


a) More People

b) Decor. Cinder block warehouse walls do not remotely begin to excite anyone; skiing is, after all, a sport of somewhat moneyed leisure. Driving to a megalot at 50/28 and walking into a warehouse has a very downmarket feel to it and doesn't excite anyone really.

It would take Disney-level decorators to convert a cinderblock warehouse into something upmarket-feeling. Having it in a mall at least you get boutiques & jewelry shops & midmarket food.

c) Movie on Big Screen. Theater grade with sound.

d) Things moving. Jumps are great. Trampolines are great. Heck, get 200 feet of whiteish carpet runner and invite XC ski clubs to show what it's all about. More things for people to -do-.
scootertig
November 11, 2008
Member since 02/19/2006 🔗
365 posts
I agree that the venue is HORRIBLE for the event. It's so big that it really makes it feel empty (even though there were probably 40-50 vendors there), and the space is unattractive, to boot.

I like the idea of a "real" movie theatre to see the movie, even if it meant that it only showed 2-3 times (once per day, even). It's convenient for it to be run every 2-3 hours, but I'd trade convenience for "wow" factor.

I'd like to see a little more coordination with the indoor ramp idea. Set up "showtimes" and have music pumping while people do their thing. The random element of "people going when they want to" made it not very interesting most of the time. You could still have a free period where people could screw around, I guess, but at least have some sort of "event" included.

I'd even welcome presentations from some of the vendors to show off their new wares. If a ski shop had 15 minutes on a stage, or something similar, to display their newest gear, and talk up what they bring to the table, I might actually learn something. Have brand reps on hand to show their new line for the season, rather than just letting rows of skis sit within each shop's booth (so we'd have someone repping Nordica displaying the 2009 skis, for instance, but not selling them - you'd have to go to a shop's booth for that).

Right now, it's really a "ski vacation expo" with assorted gear for sale. There's very little to learn about what's new in SKIING (and riding) this season, beyond changes at the local and less-local resorts.

When I went to the auto show last year, there was constant activity. People talking about the new models, demo cars to sit in, entertainment and music, all sorts of stuff. That was an EVENT. The Ski Expo just felt like it was thrown together (and I know it wasn't... it takes a ton of work to pull off anything with that many people involved), because there's nothing tying it all together.

Even holding it in a hotel ballroom would be an improvement, and might let the event's physical space more closely match its size and scope. I don't think I'd be as inclined to go to a mall - I hate malls, and whenever I see those "events" at malls (they had something at Dulles Town Centre a few weeks back), I generally stay away. I'd rather have a little privacy, and have the event be a little more cohesive as a result.

As far as the cost, I think the price is reasonable as long as you factor in the Warren Miller movie (I'd probably pay normal movie theatre prices to see the movie in a real theatre, anyway), the free tickets, and the magazine subscription(s). Without those thrown in, though, it's a freebie for sure.



aaron
boarderbabe
November 11, 2008
Member since 02/7/2005 🔗
33 posts
The organizer either does not care or is not capable of fixing what once was a great annual event
boarderbabe
November 11, 2008
Member since 02/7/2005 🔗
33 posts
every year it gets limper and lamer
boarderbabe
November 11, 2008
Member since 02/7/2005 🔗
33 posts
every year it gets limper and lamer
dcmidnight
November 11, 2008
Member since 11/11/2006 🔗
125 posts
Originally Posted By: Scott
What changes would you like to see to make the Expo better?

Dont we go through this *every* year? Last year or the year before someone was on here claiming to be the owners son (or something like that) and we all took the time to fill out an extensive list of things to fix and made this huge thread out of it because apparently they were very concerned about it. Guess what, it doesnt seem to matter.

I will admit I sucked it up and went again this year. At least this year I was not disappointed. I expected it to suck and it did suck. Between the $10 ticket and $8 in gas I got a magazine subscription that I already get, a movie ticket and a limited use lift ticket.

I would say that the location is the worst part about the show but I have been to plenty of expos/shows there that are packed. Maybe the organizers are not inviting enough manufacturers to demo their gear, maybe they dont want to come - who knows. There are so many variables that we dont know that its almost impossible to asses blame.

The golf show is a good example. They have a stage that is constantly going with demonstrations. Skills demonstrations, products, long drive demonstrations etc. And they run on a repeatable enough schedule that if you are there for a couple hours you can probably catch what you want to see. How about some demos on taking care of your skis, waxing, off season maintenance, some fitness demonstrations - I mean in 15 minutes I could probably think of 15-20 ideas for a 15 minute stage presentation. "Ski Chalet presents ski waxing for beginners, Gold Gym presents 5 key offseason workouts..." Each one could run a few times over the course of the weekend and boom - at least thats something else for people to do.

A agree that its become a "ski vacation expo". Its just a waste of time and effort to go. I went this year because I wanted to be proven wrong. But I wasnt. They need to get some new blood running the show because either 1 - they dont care enough to fix it or 2 - they dont know enough to fix it. Either way doesnt bode well for skiers at least. If you're into getting some nice vacation brochures then its definitely a good show for you. But this is much more a travel show now.

As always, in my opinion.
comprex
November 11, 2008
Member since 04/11/2003 🔗
1,326 posts

Originally Posted By: scootertig
something. Have brand reps on hand to show their new line for the season, rather than just letting rows of skis sit within each shop's booth (so we'd have someone repping Nordica displaying the 2009 skis, for instance, but not selling them - you'd have to go to a shop's booth for that).


I met three reps this weekend. At the shops where their accounts were, helping out with swaps.



Originally Posted By: dcmidnight

Dont we go through this *every* year? Last year or the year before someone was on here claiming to be the owners son (or something like that) and we all took the time to fill out an extensive list of things to fix and made this huge thread out of it because apparently they were very concerned about it. Guess what, it doesnt seem to matter.


I don't mind rewriting that thread again and again and again; I believe in the show and I firmly believe that it can be made much better.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
November 11, 2008
Member since 03/15/2004 🔗
1,375 posts
I remember when they held this event at the Baltimore Convention Center! There were exhibitors from just about every major nationial resort as well as the local resorts. Several ski shops set up shop. There were mini-ski ramps for lessons; olympic gold medalists giving pointers; every ski and boot manufacturer was there; and numerous drawings for free ski trips. Each year it got smaller and eventually moved to the Ballston Common Mall where it was still pretty decent. I went to the "Expo Center" once and all I can do is quote Betty Davis, "What a dump". It also not very convenient. My suggestion would be to have it at some place like Columbia Mall where you could draw from the Baltimore AND Washington market. However, I think the internet has made the ski show irrelevant.
Jeremy
November 11, 2008
Member since 12/7/2004 🔗
69 posts
Well, I don't think anyone is being fair on the price if you consider the lift tickets they give you, the magazine subscriptions, and the movie. This goes double for the lift tickets, they may be limited use, but they aren't that limited. Basically they aren't good on the three major holiday weekends (speaking of the WISP ones)in the winter, but they are good for all the other weekends for all day and night...seems like a deal for me and that's exactly why I go, for the lift tickets.

As for the rest of the show, it wasn't a bad idea to try to combine it with the travel show, but I don't think it worked out. Some of the booths for various vacation destinations were so obviously time share pitches or other scams I couldn't walk by them fast enough. I thought all the ski resorts did a good job and I like getting all the updated maps etc ahead of time before the season.

Maybe someone here had the right idea with the ballroom of a hotel or something like that for a location, I'm sure the Dulles Expo center is pretty cheap though.

I plan to keep going each year as long as they have lift tickets with admission.
myrto
November 11, 2008
Member since 10/4/2001 🔗
259 posts
I'll give you an example for not only why it now sucks but also of how much a missed opportunity there is.

The first year I went when it was still at Ballston I spent a few hours checking out the booths of western, new England, European and Canadian resorts, filled with exotic brochures and trails some of which were legendary and some I had never heard of. I was especially drawn to the Tremblant Booth and their big snow-globe display. We are a family of four and my wife would prefer not to fly. We have made three week long trips for a family of four and brought 4 other families with us. We again have our 4th trip scheduled for this coming spring. There is now nothing anywhere near as enticing as that to be had at the show.

As for the benefit to the location, they had hundreds of mostly well funded potential shoppers seeing their wares for three days before the shopping season kicks off!

It's really a no brainer! Unless you have no brains (which is the apparent state of the current organizers).
I mean Geez he spends money every year advertising to people who already go? What you want is people like I was when I first went. A relatively new family or young adult newcomer (or in my case one who had last ski'd 15 years prior) that gets enticed enough and becomes an ambassador of the sport!

You do not get that in a cement warehouse that has a handful of local resorts and the worst ski swap in the lower 48!
therusty
November 11, 2008
Member since 01/17/2005 🔗
422 posts
I've talked with the guy (Fred?) who runs the show in the past. The Internet has been a major driver for the decline of all ski shows. The resorts have significantly cut their advertising budgets allocated to shows. With less resorts and groups participating in the shows, there's less money for "extras". It's a self perpetuating downward spiral.

It's pretty clear that the max price point for the event has been reached, even if all of the suggested extras are added. There have been a lot of great suggestions offered. I think most of these suggestions can be summarized as the event needs to become more engaging in order for it to survive. It needs a more central location so that it is accesible to more people and it needs to have more activities that engage the participants.
comprex
November 11, 2008
Member since 04/11/2003 🔗
1,326 posts
Originally Posted By: therusty
I've talked with the guy (Fred?) who runs the show in the past. The Internet has been a major driver for the decline of all ski shows.


I submit that may not be a final word.

Witnesseth: http://www.metrosnow.co.uk/index.php?id=13

Skiing information on the internet is in almost 100% pull-based distribution.

The advantage of a ski show is that it can use localized push distribution, either to non-participants in a venue that is open to them (such as a mall) and to participants on a smaller scale (such as a particular resort, brand, or technology).

Quote:
The resorts have significantly cut their advertising budgets allocated to shows. With less resorts and groups participating in the shows, there's less money for "extras". It's a self perpetuating downward spiral.


This I do believe.
GGNagy
November 12, 2008
Member since 01/5/2006 🔗
452 posts
One of my many other hobbies has been model trains. One of the things that the promoters of model train shows at that same facility do is provide space and a donation to model train clubs who set up displays and provide clinics. The displays and clinics attract an audience, which develops interest, which in turn makes the event appealing to the vendors.

Such train shows have packed that same facility without offers of freebies aside from an hourly raffle. People will travel out there if there is value in the product offered.
comprex
November 12, 2008
Member since 04/11/2003 🔗
1,326 posts
GGNagy, that gets at my main point,themain attraction of shows: bringing the disinterested and not-yet-curious to the door. The Internet simply cannot do that.

lbotta - DCSki Supporter
November 12, 2008
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
Last time I went it was in Ballston. And it was outstanding. I'm not interested in schlepping to Dulles. And neither are many other people. So they don't get my nor many other folks' business.

Why did they move it out of Ballston, to begin with? For out-of-towners, Ballston was almost in Fairfax, quick jump from the Beltway. It was also accessible on the Metro, a salient point for in-towners and even out of towners who wanted to park in Vienna or Dunn Loring. For me, the transportation nightmare is the main reason not to attend for what limited resources they offer. Heck, I'd even take Marc to Baltimore, go to the expo and then have outstanding Italian food in that city.
RodSmith
November 12, 2008
Member since 10/22/2004 🔗
318 posts
Some of the roads going out there are fun, but none feel safe. Even so, I was more interested in the ride than the destination. I would have gone if it was more accessible.
Jeremy
November 12, 2008
Member since 12/7/2004 🔗
69 posts
A hike out to Dulles? The roads out here don't feel safe?


Sounds like we have a bunch of city folks on here. I know your type, anything outside of the beltway is no different than the far side of the moon smile


How exactly do you guys get up the courage to drive to WV or PA???
RodSmith
November 12, 2008
Member since 10/22/2004 🔗
318 posts
I'll drive to skiing, not to ski show.
JohnL
November 12, 2008
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,518 posts
Actually, none of the roads within a 40 mile radius of DC are safe. crazy

Given how much recent development there has been in Western Fairfax County, Eastern Loudon and Northern Prince William, the Dulles location (Chantilly actually?) is really not that far out when you look at the greater metro area. It is probably a convenient location for lot's of people in Virgina (and I'm one of those who spends most of his time at or inside the Beltway.) And it is right off major roads. Given how large the DC Metro area has become, I think any location will have plenty of detractors.

I definitely preferred the location in the Ballston mall where you had a mixture of the expo foot traffic and the mall foot traffic. There was more buzz to the expo, but in this economy, even an expo at Ballston location could seem dead.
JohnL
November 12, 2008
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,518 posts
Quote:
I'll drive to skiing, not to ski show.


Rod, what local ski shops do you use? I'm not aware of any local ski shop that is metro accessible. Am I missing one? Ski Chalet in Arlington and Ski Center in Northwest have to be accessible via bus routes.
RodSmith
November 12, 2008
Member since 10/22/2004 🔗
318 posts
Ski Center is the closest to me. That's the only shop I've been to recently. I ride my bicycle from the Metro stop.
comprex
November 12, 2008
Member since 04/11/2003 🔗
1,326 posts
RS, 123 is not that bad to ride on. I would have probably picked Vienna metro

L on 123
R on Jermantown Rd.
R on Oakton Rd.
^ on Waples Mill
^ on West Ox Rd
R on Ox trail

Then over 50 to poplar tree rd and Walney Rd.
Crush
November 12, 2008
Member since 03/21/2004 🔗
1,031 posts
.. and hot chicks at the mall - really! think like friday and saturday evening ... they were so cute. eh - i'm so old now better not to have it there anymore .
comprex
November 12, 2008
Member since 04/11/2003 🔗
1,326 posts
Originally Posted By: Crush
.. and hot chicks at the mall - really! think like friday and saturday evening ... they were so cute.


EXACTLY.

skis + chix live.

UNbeatable.

Quote:

eh - i'm so old now better not to have it there anymore .


It's only looks that count.
Steve
November 12, 2008
Member since 02/15/2006 🔗
160 posts
Originally Posted By: comprex
[quote=Crush]

skis + chix live.



Then you would have liked the two Red Bull girls at the expo. Drove up in a mini with a big Red Bull can on the back and walked through the snowboard crowd handing out free red bulls.

They were well received!

Steve
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
November 12, 2008
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
Originally Posted By: JohnL
Quote:
I'll drive to skiing, not to ski show.


Rod, what local ski shops do you use? I'm not aware of any local ski shop that is metro accessible. Am I missing one? Ski Chalet in Arlington and Ski Center in Northwest have to be accessible via bus routes.


Ski Chalet in Arlington is easily accessible from the Pentagon Metro stop and then take almost any 16 route bus up Columbia Pike. The bus leaves you literally on the door.
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
November 13, 2008
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,107 posts
I can remember when the "Ski Show" was held in the DC Armory, not an easy venue to make ski friendly either, especially with closed bleachers on all sides.
But it was great. There were ski demos on moving white belts. Manufactuers had booths with reps to discuss the latest gear. All local ski areas were represented along with the major ski states and ski areas across the country, in Canada and the European ski countries. It was entertaing and got the ski blood flowing again. I think the move to Ballston Mall was a negative, and the show has been going downhill (in this case not a good thing) ever since.
Perhaps the internet and all knowing info being available at the touch of a button have ended the days of a real ski show here in th Washington area.
It would be interesting to hear from folks who might have attended a recent ski show in Boston, NY, Philly, or out west to see how they compare to this years show at Dulles Expo.
The Colonel smile
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
November 13, 2008
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,107 posts
For what it is worth, the Washington Ski Show was never held in Baltimore; at one time each city had their own "Ski Show".
The Colonel smile
RodSmith
November 13, 2008
Member since 10/22/2004 🔗
318 posts
I used to drive these roads, but I don't remember them well. The route I planned was along the lines you mention. I remember those roads as being sort of narrow, and twisty in places, blind turns, etc. Fun, but sketchy. In other words, I wimped out.
RodSmith
November 13, 2008
Member since 10/22/2004 🔗
318 posts
I haven't taken the bus since I moved back into the area in 1980, but I can get to Ski Chalet, no problem. I mail order most of my ski equipment.
Crush
November 13, 2008
Member since 03/21/2004 🔗
1,031 posts
Originally Posted By: The Colonel

It would be interesting to hear from folks who might have attended a recent ski show in Boston, NY, Philly, or out west to see how they compare to this years show at Dulles Expo.
The Colonel smile


heh - out west they don't have "ski shows" - ski swaps, yes . the park city high school has a ski swap literally 50 times the size of mid-atlanic ones... and you don't get old crap. you get high end demo skis from last year, last years racing and big-mountain + tele gear. you get green-spring bindings. you get bogner, obermeyer, metropolis, dale, juicy, nikita, sessions, electric, dc, not old north face stuff. and if your know a park city teacher (hee hee) you can get in before everyone else and pick what you want for 1 hour.

now that's exciting running down the hallways trying to beat everybody else with a paper wish-list in hand trying to get all the treasures before anyone else.

sorry i'm spoiled ... i just can't go to ski events here anymore. ah well....
snow1234
November 14, 2008
Member since 11/14/2008 🔗
1 posts
It's good to see others were as disappointed as I was with the Expo. I'd never been before and was all psyched up to go, expecting to see displays from different companies, all the latest gear, etc. To me that's what an "expo" or "ski show" is. But anyway, man it was very, very bad. There is like 3 or 4 ski shops selling old equipment and at not very good discounts. At one of them, there was a 2 year old snowboard with full retail still stickered on it. I asked someone about a pair of boots from last season and they acted like 20% off was a huge deal.
I'm not really sure why they even hold it. I went to a ski shop afterwards and had a much better time.
wojo
November 15, 2008
Member since 01/17/2005 🔗
312 posts
Lets end this topic for this year and do it agian next year. We all know what the show is. Local boths, local shops, a few used gear booths and a movie . . . next topic please.
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