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SF Ski & Snowboard Festival 11/5/2011

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks to EpicSki, I had the opportunity to check out the San Francisco SnowFest.  After locating some reasonable parking, my friend and I made our way to Fort Mason's Festival Pavilion to wait on line:

 

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There were a lot of people trying to get into this thing, but the line moved reasonably well. When we left around 3PM, the line was even longer.  Anyway, we eventually got to the front.

 

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In case you're curious, we did try those $2 tacos later.  There was a line for those, too.

 

Once inside, we saw the place was huge and chock-full.  The Jager-Fraulein was probably a bit chilly.

 

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The most civilized part of the event was likely the Mammoth Beer.  Pale Ale and Amber, no charge.  We didn't feel bad that we skipped the wine tasting.

 

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It snowed a bit--enough to keep this one kid interested.

 

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Start Haus was in da house.  I'm not sure who it was manning the booth, but he gave us good information about skis and boots.  This is refreshing in a marketing-heavy trade-show environment.  Also kudos to the Lange guy who was pretty nitty-gritty.

 

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Gotta give a plug to Blizzard.  Pretty skis and great reviews.  Guy didn't even mind much when I tried to topple half the women's skis onto his table.  It was nice that there were pairs of skis so we could put them base-to-base and look at rocker and camber profiles.  Nordica also has some colorful skis on display.

 

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We briefly poked our noses into the fenced-in retail areas.  I personally didn't want to get so close to my fellow man, but then again, I've already got the gear I need.

 

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"Is there a qualified boot fitter in the house?"

 

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I didn't get any pictures, but the Skier's Edge folks were there with their ski simulator exercise equipment.  I tried a few of them.  I like to think that I already know how to ski, but it took a little practice to get the feel of the Skier's Edge.  I can feel how it would get someone in good shape for skiing.  My hip abductors are still sore.  If I had a spare room in my house and money aplenty, I'd consider a Big Mountain.  The QS5 was pretty sweet, but I didn't even dare to ask the price.

 

Basic summary: a snowsports tradeshow with stickers, alcohol, and caged-in retail.  Also, on that day, we got to help High Fives break the world record for most high fives in 24 hours.

post #2 of 8

Nice to see the TR's coming in for this.  I had a great time at the Santa Clara Snowbomb last year, will be sad to miss it this year.

 

 

post #3 of 8

Thanks for the trip report.  I'm hoping maybe we can score some tickets for the Sacramento event.

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

Frankly, I was disappointed not to see you guys and Philpug there.  It would have made the whole thing more fun.  I guess Huddler didn't want to shell out the big bucks just for that.  But, how does one score EpicSki stickers otherwise?

post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xela View Post

Frankly, I was disappointed not to see you guys and Philpug there.  It would have made the whole thing more fun.  I guess Huddler didn't want to shell out the big bucks just for that.  But, how does one score EpicSki stickers otherwise?



 We went last year, had to mind the store this time. For the stickers, come to the house..and bring beer.

post #6 of 8

The guy in the Starthaus tent is Phil's mini-me. Not as friendly and bright, but when he's not playing pocket-pool, he can impart some knowledge.

 

Had you panned right in that Blizzard picture, I might have been in frame. I helped out manning the ski club booth for a couple hours on Sunday. Mostly I just schmoozed with friends who wandered by.

 

I couldn't believe that people were buying boots from Lombardis. I bumped into my next-door neighbor who said he was going to check out boots. I literally grabbed him by the elbow, told him no f'ing way I'd allow that, and marched him over to Starthaus' tent. Disaster averted.

 

Daron Rahlves was there both days signing posters and generally being a cool guy.

 

Lots of stickers to be had, and some other free schwag. I got some cool Squaw shades for the kids.

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

Frankly, I wonder if these "retail frenzy" events don't do long-term damage to the sport.  I mean, what's the chance that someone walks away from the Lombardi or Any Mountain cage with boots or even skis that are right for them?  Once they get on the slopes with this gear, they may find that skiing isn't really very rewarding.

 

Then again, their alternative is rentals, which aren't so great, but can at least be swapped as needed.  I don't think it's the same people.  Buying their own gear, even low-end gear, is still hundreds of dollars and should put them in the category of more serious skiers.  I would think people who ski that much should have gotten the message.

 

The be fair, a lot of people were buying jackets, pants, helmets, gloves, goggles, poles, ski bags, etc.  This is all totally cool.  I didn't check prices to see the quality of the "deals", but there's value to having a large inventory at ones fingertips, even if you have to push and shove to get to it.

 

I do wonder, of the full-price-paying public at the show, who came for the retail and who came for the various tradeshow booths: equipment, resorts, food, etc.

post #8 of 8

I think a lot of people there are typically younger in age and are lucky to ski 7-10 days per year.  These riders have a season that runs mostly from Christmas to New Years.  They don't have the time or experience to become students of the sport.  The opportunity to pick something up at a good price attracts them.  You and I are students of this sport, and know all too well about the virtues of spending money wisely (e.g., finding a great bootfitter).  But most attendees are different.  They may not shop optimally, but my guess is a lot of them do just fine walking away with an older inventory of clothing, goggles, helmets, etc.  The boarders probably figured out what does and does not fit them, and some of the skiers may even get lucky with a good fit.  After all, a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day.

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