Winter is just around the corner, which can only mean one thing – it’s time to dust off your skis, or snowboard, stretch your legs and pray you’ll remember what to do on that first turn. If like most of the snow-sport enthusiasts in the UK you’ve got a number of ski trips under your belt you may have been lulled into the assumption that your technique simply ‘is what it is’.
The Telegraph Ski & Snowboard Festival, held in London’s Battersea Park from October 24 – 28, is a key date in the diaries of skiers and snowboarders, of all abilities, who are keen to prepare for the winter season ahead. An entry ticket includes a number of services that could help your progress and a visit is guaranteed to leave you feeling inspired to up your game this winter. Tickets available online at skiandsnowboard.co.uk.
Find the perfect fit
A pair of ill-fitting boots can spell disaster. Not only are they uncomfortably painful but they impact your technique on the slopes, according to experts like The Telegraph’s ski technique editor Warren Smith. Finches Ski Emporium is providing a complimentary boot fitting service at the Festival, which will debunk all the myths related to finding the perfect fit. Visitors will be able to try on all the latest styles under the guidance of the expert team, to ensure they’re all set for the winter ahead.
A favourite for keen skiers at the Festival, Warren Smith, founder of the Warren Smith Ski Academy, will be hosting skills workshops across the four days, talking visitors through his groundbreaking technique studies. The hands-on sessions will give skiers exercises to practise at home that Smith guarantees will transform their skills. The event marks the final leg of The Academy’s Ski Technique Lab tour, which travels the country throughout October and is a chance for skiers to attend evening seminars with Smith at their local equipment shop. The team will also be offering free video analysis sessions on its stand, where they will share real-time pointers and instructions.
The Festival’s 50-foot real snow kicker, Mount Battersea, is the event’s centerpiece and with demonstrations and competitions, featuring some of the UK’s best snow-sports talent happening across the four days it’s an opportunity to be inspired. Competitions such at the British Freestyle Ski and Snowboard championships (the BRITS) take place every year and are the breeding ground for the future of Team GB’s Winter Olympic stars.
Start them young
Children aged between four and 10 years old will be able to take to the snow of Mount Battersea as part of a taster experience, which includes mini ramps and slopes, with expert instructors from the Snow Centre in association with Snow Camp. A new attraction for the event, suitable for young children of all abilities, the sessions are designed to encourage youngsters to enjoy their first taste of snow.
Follow in Olympic footsteps
As part of the development of skiing and snowboarding in the UK, Snowsports England, the sport’s national governing body, is bringing its Future Sessions, a program designed to encourage young people to take up freestyle snow sports, to the Festival. Youngsters will have the opportunity to gain their level one off-snow skills certificate with professional coaches in a dedicated freestyle area. The informal sessions involve teaching 10 fundamental movements that help with freestyle skiing and snowboarding, with tips on how to develop further at home.
In addition to this hands-on experience, the Festival will also host a panel discussion with stars of Team GB, Billy Morgan, Peter Speight and Rowan Coultas, about the development of the sport and how the team has managed to become one of the biggest forces on the competitive snow-sports scene. Despite not being blessed with our own natural snow-capped mountain, Great Britain’s freestyle skiers and snowboarders have always been innovative in their approach to training. This is something that has recently been documented in a book by photographer Sam Mellish, Radical Gains. The discussion will be followed by an expert photography workshop where visitors can learn how to capture the perfect shot on the snow.
Get kitted out
From skis to boards, to helmets, jackets and goggles, the Festival is the perfect chance to get yourself kitted out in some go-faster gear before the season begins. Among the exhibitors is Planks Clothing, the British brand that has been chosen to dress Team GB’s athletes next winter. Joining them are a number of independent clothing brands including Dinoski, designers of uber-fun kids suits, McNair, producers of must-have riding shirts, Kymira Sports, whose techy baselayers come with compression and the Old School Ski Company, home to the most out-there retro onesies – plus lots more.
Book a trip of a lifetime
The Telegraph’s ski and snowboard experts, Henry Druce and Cat Weakley, alongside special guests, will be taking to the stage each day to answer your burning ski holiday questions. Whether you’re looking for advice on a resort to suit your ability or to help your progress, or how to make your next trip a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, the experts will be discussing all the best advice you need to book a ski holiday and answering questions from the audience. With representatives from some of the world’s top resorts, including France, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, the US and Japan, also in attendance, plus operators offering exclusive deals, festival-goers will be able to further research and book their dream winter holiday in one visit.