After the cancellation of the new London Ski Show due to COVID-19 health concerns, the World’s Largest Ski Show was created and is being taken to a new virtual platform planned for October 1-4. Held via Zoom video conference technology, the re-launched event will be open and free to any skier with a working Wi-Fi connection.
Bounce between live demos, scope out the latest Elan Ripsticks, enjoy the passing scenery while cruising an unfamiliar piste, plan a getaway to Les Trois Vallées, or just chill out to a live DJ in the après ski zone—you can do all of the above while parked on your couch, perhaps with a cold beverage in hand.
“The World of Snowsports: Reimagined” is the theme of the show, officially launched this past week.
“This is about helping the industry bounce back to the best possible winter that we can have in this climate to launch a show with no limits,” said WLSS co-founder Dom Killinger, addressing guests of the July 14 launch event with a digital backdrop of the French and Swiss Alps of Portes du Soleil behind him on the call. “This could mean laughing in the face of a physical show that only has 16,000 visitors over three days. We could see 16,000 people in an hour. We’re all in this together. We all need to make the best possible effort to come out of COVID fighting, to drive as many people skiing as possible because that’s what we all rely on.”
Killinger and other organizers of the World’s Largest Ski Show are bullish that hundreds of exhibitors, skiers, snowboarders, tour operators, brands, athletes, Olympians, instructors, DJ’s, bands and other industry experts will hop on board to inform, entertain, and inspire, all with greater aspirations for a swift return to the mountains as the global health situation permits.
“We really want to make this event an experience and not just a place full of content,” says Rob Stewart, one of the WLSS co-producers. “Somewhere that people can come and interact with other people; brands, like-minded skiers, experts and then music and comedy too. All the things that go together with what it means to go skiing and travel to the mountains. The format for us needs to be live, with something always going on. If you’re not visiting one of the brand exhibitors, then there’s a place to go where you can feel you’re part of an event.”
As for diehard powderhounds and avid backcountry skiers, while absolutely nothing compares to the sensation of dancing down steep, untouched powder fields on a splendid, sunny winter morning, there will be platforms dedicated to snow safety and avalanche awareness.
“In the UK market, we love to ski off-piste and it’s important to get educated,” Stewart says. “One of the big parts of this event is to have experts speaking in important specialties.”
Stewart concedes that the title of World’s Largest Ski Show is to be taken with a grain of salt, however, organizers partnering with the UK-based In The Snow Magazine estimate that the online conference could attract roughly 100,000 UK skiers and snowboarders across the four-day timeframe. According to the WLSS staff, six prominent ski resorts and various industry insiders have already expressed interest in participating.
Organizers note that although the event is UK-focused, they are hopeful that international traffic could push the numbers upwards.
“It’s definitely an audience we want to penetrate. We’ve seen a slowdown of the number of American ski resorts coming over to the London Ski Show the last ten years,” Killinger says. “We used to see big Canadian and American alleys and we don’t get that anymore. We want to get that back.”
The WLSS producers encourage creativity among prospective exhibitors, vowing to accommodate all virtual requests. One suggestion to potential French ski resort exhibitors was to teach visitors how to cook tasty tartiflette in a live room capturing that quintessential Savoyard ski and après experience. Cool idea perhaps, but one wonders if maybe something will be lost without actually smelling, tasting, or burning your tongue on the mouth-watering French alpine specialty.
“To my knowledge, there is no other virtual winter sports consumer event taking place,” Stewart said. “Of course there are individuals and brands doing snowsports related virtual content, but we are bringing it all together in one place.”
With the launch event in the rearview mirror, the organizers will dive forward into uncharted territory, as far as virtual ski adventures go, with a few months to bundle everything together.
So grab your skis and… oh wait, never mind, rather your fully charged devices and an open mind and join the festivities. At least you won’t overpay for parking. More information at worldslargestskishow.com.