Saturday 22nd October, Earlâ€™s Court, 11:15am: I had just arrived at Metrosnow, billed as â€˜the greatest wintersports show in the worldâ€™.Â It still being relatively early on a Saturday morning, there werenâ€™t many punters hanging around, and the poor people manning some inflatable promotional activity outside Earlâ€™s Court looked bored and cold.Â Once inside the venue, I was confronted with what can only be described as a wall of enthusiasm.Â My friends were running late, and so I plunged into the maze of stalls alone.Â Wrong decision.Â Single drifters are easy prey for those trying to sell something, and before long I was weighed down with more than enough goodie bags containing, among other things, cereal, toothpaste, an energy drink, magazines and a DVD.Â It was the kind of situation where you end up pretending to talk to someone on the phone in order to avoid catching and would-be pushy salespersonâ€™s eye.
While the front section of Earlâ€™s Court was given over to travel companies, resorts, and national tourism boards, the back section was completely dedicated to retail.Â There was everything a wintersports enthusiast could wish for, minus the snow.Â The main reason for my going to the event was to stock up on ski gear, and I was on the lookout for some exclusive deals.Â I was successful in some areas, but none of the bigger brands such as Dakine, Salomon and Atomic were cheaper than normal.
Â One of the more interesting aspects of Metrosnow was that it was one of the few occasions that all types of snow-lovers congregated under one roof.Â From fur-wearing chalet bunnies to â€˜steazyâ€™ snowboard types with hoodies down to their knees and multiple piercings and everyone in between, itâ€™s safe to say that it was a mixed crowd.Â Throw in a few convention-obligatory characters (sexy ski girls, someone dressed up as a mountain goat, and some unfortunate individuals in onesies) and it makes for very entertaining people-watching.
A main attraction was the London Ride competition, which consisted of guys and one girl with little notion of self-preservation hurtling down an artificial slope, flying off a hip kicker and performing some jaw-dropping stunts in the air.Â I couldnâ€™t figure out what was more impressive: the speed and height at which these nutters were turning and flipping, or the fact that most of them were teenagers.Â It made me feel rather self-conscious about my comparative lack of skill with a pair of skis…
Overall, I felt that Metrosnow was a successful event that had something for everyone.Â Children were kept entertained with ice skating, curling, and a huge inflatable slide.Â Die-hard skiers and boarders were in seventh heaven with the mind-boggling array of hardware on offer.Â And for everyone else there was plenty to look at, buy, eat and drink.Â The only thing I would say it was lacking was any kind of atmosphere.Â Granted, Earlâ€™s Court is a fairly dead space to work with, but I think the event organisers could have tried a little harder with what people were greeted with, and also with the music sporadically played over the tannoy system.Â The retail aspect was great: where else would you get everything under one roof?Â But having now kitted myself out with enough ski gear to last several years, my reasons for going to an event of this kind would not balance out the Â£16-Â£18 ticket price.Â It was a good day out and a very successful shopping trip, but not one I see myself repeating next year.
Images courtesy of Charlotte Rottenburg