By Karen D. Lorentz
If you’re in the market for finding great deals on ski equipment and accessories, rubbing shoulders with Olympians and other snowsport personalities, getting up to speed on U.S and Canadian mountain resorts, and receiving discounts and freebies, don’t miss the 32rd Annual Boston.com Ski & Snowboard Expo.
The Expo runs from Thursday, Nov. 12, through Sunday, Nov. 13, at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston. In addition to the deals, the show is an extravaganza of exhibitors, live entertainment, and an opportunity to learn about the newest technology, fashions, and gear as well as what’s new at resorts.
Killington, Pico and Okemo will be there
As usual, Killington and Pico will have reps and a large display booth, which, if history repeats, will be swamped with people clamoring for a chance at the great promotions. “We will be interacting with show attendees through social media contests, a GoPro photo booth, scratch-off raffle tickets, and a few other on-site promotions,” noted Michael Joseph, Killington’s communications manager.
Asked about the time and expense entailed in such a four-day undertaking, Joseph stated, “Boston is our second largest market behind the New York-New Jersey metro area, so we want to make sure Bostonians are familiar with Killington, the new Peak Lodge, and the other new developments for this season, like expanded snowmaking, trail edge trimming, Terrain Based Learning (TBL) and the expansion of the Discovery programs to include free Burton snowboards.” This season, Killington’s TBL area will be the largest in the U.S., Joseph noted.
“Killington is a key sponsor and supporter at Expo,” stated Kathe Dillmann, Expo media relations director, noting that “Killington is the valued annual sponsor of the exciting aerial trampoline show, a major attraction at Expo that fits in with the positioning of Killington as the go-to place for skiing excitement, so closely associated with ‘The Beast’.”
Okemo’s Bonnie MacPherson calls the Boston ski show “the big stoke-fest before the start of ski season. It reminds me of the raucous pep rally before the big homecoming football game in high school. Everyone is revved up and ready for skiing and riding. It’s not so much an opportunity for us to introduce Okemo to skiers and riders as it is an opportunity to reach out to a large fan base where they live. It has evolved into a pre-game opportunity to lock in some visits with a special deal that is offered exclusively at the show. It’s top secret, but I will tell you there will be a ridiculous deal that must be purchased at the show, and it won’t be offered again anywhere else this year!”
Although she won’t hint at what the deal will be, MacPherson went on to note: “It used to be that the only deals to be found were at the ski market retail area. However, technology has allowed the resorts to get in on the game and the Boston Ski Expo has become a real marketplace for all participants.”
Asked about the effort that show attendance requires of Okemo, MacPherson said, “We have a dozen people making their way to Boston for the ski show. We schedule people for short shifts to help keep the energy level high, and we will be rotating fresh players into the game (to keep that high school football metaphor rolling) for the second half.”
“Okemo is known for its forward-looking booth space at Expo . . . This year they will be touting their amazing new Sunburst Six-seater chairlift, the most modern in New England, with its heated seats and high-speed carrying capacity. It’ll be a busy arena at Expo as people will want to know all the details of this valued addition to the slopes of Okemo this winter,” noted Kathe Dillman. Okemo will have a sample chair at its booth.
The Expo also features media events, where invited journalists learn more about various offerings. The Vermont Ski Areas Association hosts two such events at a test kitchen where chefs feature their culinary expertise as attendees also learn what’s new at all Vermont’s resorts. Okemo’s culinary director and executive chef will be among those making an appearance with delightful delectables.
There’s literally something for all ages, from activities for kids to a beer garden (including a booth sponsored by Vermont’s Long Trail Brewing Company.)
Special activities for kids include a Kids Slope Learning Center, a Burton Riglet learners’ park, and an ELITEAM training center where Olympic ski racer Doug Lewis and his staff offer activities to test fitness. (Adults love this, too!)
Olympians and extreme skier/ski-movie star Glen Plake, sporting his trademark mohawk, will be there, so ask for the autograph or a photo. Donna Weinbrecht, Olympic gold medal winner in moguls, will meet fans on Friday and Saturday and promote her annual winter instruction programs at Killington.
Other features of this year’s show include the Salute to U.S. Paralympians, a Nordic Village Learning Center, and The Skyriders!, who perform competitive trampoline aerial routines on skis and snowboards. There is also a mobile weather lab, a vertical runway fashion show, and a ski chalet and music stage.
U.S. Paralympic Team medalists from the Sochi Olympic Games will talk about their experiences and share information on how those with physical disabilities can participate in snow sports through adaptive sports and Paralympic programs.
There’s the huge ski market where people find deals, so the opening day tends to be mobbed. “If you’re looking for a particular product, it’s the day to go, but for those looking for the best deal, go on Sunday,” advises Bernie Weichsel, founder and president of BEWI Productions, which produces the Expo.
Admission is $15 for adults, children 12 and under are free. Each ticket holder receives a $10 Liftopia gift card and a choice of a year’s subscription to Ski or Skiing magazines.
Additionally, there’s a coupon for $3 off the admission in local newspapers like the Boston Globe. Or pick one up at the show’s retailer, East Coast Alpine, or “get it from our website,” Weichsel said.
As MacPherson indicates, the Boston Ski and Snowboard Expo will “pump you up” for another snow season, so be sure to visit this great and exciting extravaganza!