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The Metro Ski & Snowboard Show is finally here and marks the beginning of the winter season. It's the first major event of the winter, with the Freeze Festival taking place next week and usually coincides with the Iglu team getting up to full strength for the season, with the last of our new starters arriving this week.
This year the ski show has moved location from the Kensington Olympia to Earls Court. Now, though the venues are not dissimilar in size, the purists out there may be a little disappointed to hear it has moved, especially the usual crowd from Meribel, La Tania and Val d'Isere who will usually decamp in the Hand & Flower pub on ski show Saturday. But it's not all bad news, for starters Earls Court in approximately a million times easier to get to from anywhere in London.
On arrival, the ski show is set out in its usual way, with the resort village greeting you at the entrance and the vast choice of shopping set toward the back. I have to point out that the shopping area this year is the largest I've seen, with Snow + Rock and Ellis Brigham taking centre stage as usual — it took me a lot longer to find Profeet than expected, if you are looking for them, they are hidden next to an escalator.
The ski village is filled with the usual suspects, with the Three Valleys taking over the France section and the Three Valley bar as vibrant as always (see above), even for mid-afternoon on a Wednesday. The evening also finished back at the bar, as the team from Val Thorens' Folie Deuce provided the afternoon's après party.
The Canadian village area was also busy — though that was probably down to the huskies on show and last year's record snowfall!
As mentioned the shopping area is vast, if you are looking for a bargain there is some of last season's kit on offer at discounted rates and also plenty of smaller, less known brands showing off their kit, who are well worth a visit — I especially liked the White Dot Freeride skis.
The entertainment on offer, as with previous years, is quite varied. There is a fantastic ski fashion show, put on by Land Rover, which goes on throughout the day and is definitely worth a look if you are after this year's must have kit. The freestyle exhibition was pretty good, with teenage skiers and snowboarders doing tricks that I'm now to old to remember the names of and the K2 Ollie Pop is bound to build up over the week.
The only disappointment was the Petanque piste, the actual layout was great, as was the game. The only problem was Pascal, the ESF instructor. Now, I was expecting an arrogant, but charming Frenchman, who would be a little too competitive. Though Pascal looked the part, he was a lot more Surrey than Savoie, which left me with an air of disappointment — sorry Pascal.
Overall the ski show is just the same old ski show, but, in a new location, with better bars and easier access. I'm sure it will be as busy as ever and if you are hoping to check out this season's kit, meet a few of the brands and want to check out some new resorts before booking your holiday, it is worth a visit — especially the Tartiflette stand.
It's that time of year already, the winter is approaching and with Bestival only days away it's time to take a look as what our favourite freezing festivals will be offering this coming winter. Last winter the Relentless Freeze Festival kicked things off with some great riding and music, and Snowbombing finished things off with a bang.
The year looks the same, as the Relentless Freeze Festival is already gearing up for another fantastic pre-season bash and it won't be long until the likes of the Meribel's Little World Festival, the Altitude Festival and Snowbombing announce their plans. But to start the winter 2012 salivating, here's what the first big event of the winter has on offer.
The Relentless Freeze Festival
London's big winter Festival will be with us again this October and has announced a fantastic line-up of snowsports and music. This year's event has been cut down to two days from three, though this means we'll have Sunday to recover from all the excitement, the insane riding, the awesome music and of course, the Jaëgermeister Lorry.
Last year's event included an awesome line-up of local and international snowboarders and skiers, the Jeremy Jones Deeper premiere and Mark Ronson on stage. Jamie Nicholls and James Woods waved the flag for the Brits in front of a huge home crowd and world class athletes such as Seppe Smits, Seb Toutant and Jon Olsson all on show.
This year's event looks to continue in the same fashion. The FIS have announced that the huge 32m high Big Air jump will be a World Cup event, which should mean the likes of Seb Toutant, Janne Korpi and Jamie Nicholls will be wowing us with their huge double-cork variations and Xbox-esque tricks. There will also be the EU vs The World competition, which is a real crowd pleaser with two snowboarders and skiers from each continent going up against each other in an one-on-one competition with three disciplines to win: Best trick, Trick selector and the always popular Crow judge.
Last year we were treated to Mark Ronson, Roni Size and Pendulum and this year doesn't disappoint either. Friday night see's Dub Pistols, Beadryman, Azari & III and Zane Lowe, followed by the headline act, Groove Armada present Red Light. Saturday also have a cracking line-up on the stage with Spector, Rizzles Kicks, Summer Camp, The Joy Formidable and Everything Everything warming the Freeze Festival crowds, before The Streets close out the weekend.
Hopefully is will be as amazing as last October's event and there may even be some more treat announced closer to the time, such as last year's Deeper premiere.
For Boarders By Boarders is one of the fastest growing snowboarding communities in the UK. The guys behind the non-profit movement are all about making snowboarding culture more accessible to everyone, from their open freestyle nights all over the UK to the community inspired arts shows and their website. I discovered FBBB while out in resort a few years ago when a group a guys in their 30s stayed in my chalet and raved about the UK scene to me for a whole week
People tend to look at the UK snowboard and freestyle ski scene as a bunch of rich kids and skateboarders showing off on the indoor and dry slopes. The guys at FBBB wanted to make sure that riding in the UK was for everyone. There are guys in their 30s ripping it up at their events, along with the next generation of teenage super groms.
Now, not everyone who reads this blog may be familiar with For Boarders By Boarders, so I had a chat with Mikee, one of the founders. There's still a good six months until most of us will hit the slopes again, so I wanted to show you what these guys do in hope you'll get your summer shred on.
Ever had an idea and thought, wouldn't it be great if...? In 2006 three friends (Mikee, Thom and cH!co) who met through snowboarding & music acted on such a moment, turning their brainwave and vision into reality.
Creating an 'all inclusive' event with an aim to expose the potentials of the UK's freestyle scene and to build a brand that everyone can associate with. The emphasis is simply all about having a good time with friends and meeting like minded people. "We do what we do for the sheer love of it all!"
The FBBB collective was formed. The first ever event featured a unique & progressive freestyle park with a never seen before and custom built DJ booth kicker, firmly putting FBBB on the map — the rest as they say, is history...
FBBB has since gone onto organising a long list of innovative and unique events such as: annual indoor snow dome tours around the UK and Europe, skate jams, art installations at Metro snow, the London Freeze, Boardmasters, Wintersessions, the Big Snow festival, the Reebok Lounge and many more!
Apologies for the language in parts of this clip.
Each year the events these guys put on grow and they are becoming a staple at most UK snow related events, from the slopes and the London Freeze to the ski show. Heading to their events is a fun-filled way of hitting the slopes, and though theey're not cheap, you are paying the same as you would on any slope organised freestyle night and getting a lot more for it.
The For Boarders By Boarders website is filled with the latest news on what events are going down, where they will be entertaining the crowds — from festivals to fridges this summer — and more info on the crew.
If you're planning on heading to any of their events this summer drop us a tweet and send us your pictures. As soon as my ACL is fixed I'll be heading down there to show off my ability to stack it in style.
Ryan Davis showing off his indoor skills.
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