As the UK’s biggest Ski and Snowboard Festival draws to a close we look back at the highlights from this year’s event.
Located at the centre of the event was Mount Battersea, a monstrous construction of steel, wood and real snow, provided by The Snow Centre Hemel Hempstead, this jump played host to some of Europe’s best upcoming talent across the festival. Featuring shootouts between snowboarders and skiers and the final of the Planks UK Grassroots Tour.
Considering the length of the landing and the age of the participants there were some seriously big moves being landed, with inverted tricks being largely the norm. A couple of the skiers ever landed some serious 900s.
Kirsty Muir particularly impressed, as the winner of the Momentum Camps and the Sarah Burke Foundation 2018 ‘Spirit of Sarah’ Scholarship, perhaps this is no surprise. She easily held her own against competitors who were several years her senior and is definitely one to watch for the future.
The Neilson Lodge, home to the shows Après bar and cinema screen, had much to offer throughout the event, from live bands, talks with the Pros and screenings of new ski films, there was something to keep everyone happy, it even had a children’s play area!
Our highlight was The Faction Collective’s early screening of La Grave, this short ski film follows Sam Anthamatten and Johnny Collinson as they join with a group of locals who have been leading free-riding in La Grave, France, for the past 20 years. La Grave, has a somewhat mythic reputation in the world of free-riding, featuring a ski lift and to the top of a dominating North Faced mountain and little else, no barriers, no ski patrol, no rules, a perfect backdrop for this expertly filmed short.
Sam Anthamatten and Johnny Collinson, lead the way for Faction but the real stars of the movie are the local guides, their contagious love of their home town makes you want to pack your bags and move in. The skiing is brilliant but perhaps the work involved to get to that perfect run is the highlight of the film, a series of rappels and dangerous descents show how far some people will go for an unrivalled day skiing.
The film will be available worldwide in early November.
Exhibition and Freebies!
No event would be complete without a bag load of freebies and there were plenty to collect at this year’s show. The Snow Centre Hemel Hempstead led the way, generously giving away 10,000 free slop passes over the weekend, helpful for getting your ski-fix without leaving the country. The price of which actually outstrips an admission ticket!
All the UK’s major ski magazines were giving away free copies of their magazines, perfect for evening reading as the winter nights close in. Stickers, food, T-shirts and re-usable bags were also on offer. Unusually, when compared to most events, I can say that most of the goods given away will actually be saved from the bin and most will be put to good use over the winter.
All the big Ski resorts where present, France, Switzerland and Norway dominating much of the floor space. Holidays on offer ranged from 5-Star cabins complete with personal chefs to budget weekend breaks so everyone was well covered.
Andora grabbed our attention the most, which is impressive given the size difference between their stand and some of the big players. Rather than selling extra experiences or a great nightlife, they were just selling great skiing and the sales team’s enthusiasm for snow, rather than drinks, really came through.
This seasons gear was all on display making it a good way to compare and contrast from the latest innovations before adding it to you Christmas list! We would have liked to have seen a few more park skis but that is just us being fussy. Boot fitting was also available and there was plenty of stands with ground breaking equipment aimed at keeping people on the slopes later into life that ever before.
All in all, it was a fantastic day out that makes a great start to the winter season for any skier or snowboarder, if you haven’t been before we would highly recommend you go next year (Especially if The Snow Centre continue to be so generous!).
Have a look through our gallery below!