The National Snow Show at the NEC last weekend (23/24 October) was Racoon Events’ first venture into offering a Snow Show. Racoon are best known for their excellent consumer shows, in particular the National Running Show.
The Winter industry has been through a very tough 12-18 months with travel restrictions, resort closures, store closures & lockdowns. Needless to say, it’s been a testing time compounded by stores being re-opened in mid April 2021 to face a long Summer after a non-starter of a season.
There wasn’t a a great vibe in an industry & for one that that relies on passion, commitment & the love of all things Snow, it was going to take something to lift the Industry.
The Snow Show delivered a much needed boost of enthusiasm, consumer confidence & all around good vibes! With just over 20,000 registrations & a turn out of around 50% (which in Covid impacted times is pretty impressive) there was great attendance & the feedback was largely positive.
Was it perfect? In short, no. There were a good number of brands & retailers unable to attend. Some with budget restraints from a tough period & some remaining cautious about over spending with seeds of doubt still in the air for the coming winter. There is without doubt room for improvement, but with next years show already 50% larger & more than likely to end up double in size it was a step in the right direction & one of the best attended shows in recent years. For a new show, I think Racoon did an excellent job when considering all the circumstances.
So, was it a good show? We think so & here’s why;
- Interviews – There was a huge range of interviews across the weekend with some incredible personalities.
- The main stage, hosted by Scott Penman, launched with Ski Sunday co-host Chemmy Alcott & ended with Sir Ranulph Fiennes. Not a bad line-up considering there were the likes of Billy Morgan, Warren Smith & Jamie Nicholls during the day too. The main auditorium seating was full, for every talk. Sure, Eddie the Eagle had to join via video link on the Sunday due to a positive Covid test, but Dan Egan was next up, then Jenny Jones, Jamie Barrow & Emily Sarsfield to name a few. Again, a really decent line up of top Winter athletes.
- The Snow Skills cabin, hosted by Tord Nilson, offered some really insightful interviews with various Snow Sport organisations, holiday companies, avalanche skill talks & a host of interesting discussions including lots of tips around your next trip to the mountains. Whatever your level there was something interesting for all.
- Lastly we held our Winter Insight interviews with some of the most interesting people within the industry & we look forward to sharing these on the site over the next couple of week. For an overview of the interviews we conducted you can click here Winter Insight at the National Snow Show
- Brands – Ok, some big brands were missing, especially on the Snowboard side. Brands were hit hard & this was to be expected this year. Some of the smaller brands came along & it’s nice for them to get a bit more attention, but we understand that consumers want to engage with the biggest industry brands. However, there were still plenty of top Ski Brands at the show like Salomon, Rossignol, Ortovox, Dynastar/Lange, Nordica, K2, Line, Ride, Volkl, Marker, Dalbello to name a few.
- There is no doubt that this list will be much larger next year!
- Retailers – Ski Exchange & Ellis Brigham were the two most notable retailers along with some boot services offered by Solutions 4 Feet, Rivington Alpine & Hike & Ride. Ski Exchange offered a good selection of Skis, Boot fitting, sale & new clothing ranges along with brand partners to showcase the latest range of equipment. Plus the Ski simulators on their stand seemed to be enjoyed by a number of people. Ellis Brigham had book singing with Dan Egan, the latest Elan foldable Ski, custom insoles & general advice in preparation for this winter.
- Lots of smaller stands offering a variation of interesting products/services were dotted around the show too.
- We expect more retailers at next years show & we already have some inside information on at least 10 more large brands that plan to attend such as Head, Oakley, Spyder & Fischer…. watch this space!
- The Slope! – It’s always impressive to watch a slope be built indoors just for a weekend, but it was great to see taster sessions available to new skiers & even more advanced sessions around freestyle for those wanting to try it out. Ok, it’s no Mont Blanc, but it was a great area for new & progressing skiers to try something new & we are all about getting new people into Winter Sports here at Winter Insight.
- Location – The NEC, in our view, is the best location in the UK for this event. It’s one of the most centrally located Exhibition centres with good transport links & gives the North of England Snow Sports community a much better chance of making the Show than in central London. For Londoners it’s a relatively short train ride to Birmingham & for everyone outside of London it’s much easier to access & a lot easier to get you Skis/Boots etc home.
So there we have it, the first National Snow Show went off with a great boost for the industry. It can & will be improved upon, but all things considered it was a resounding success.
For more information on next years show, which is planned for 15/16 October you can click here National Snow Show