The Days When Ski Shows Were So Popular I Had To Sell The Shirt Off My Back – Twice!

17th April 2024

London Ski Show 2024

Details are beginning to circulate about this year’s London Snow Show which is taking place at ExCel on 19 & 20 October 2024.

The box office is now open, and the organisers claim they have already had more than 4,000 ticket registrations in the first week.

As well as a chance to chat with ski and snowboard tour operators and retailers, other attractions already announced include:

  • Snow Stage – Olympic Athletes, and other famous names, will reveal what motivates them, and what inspires them to train harder in order to push their boundaries. Visitors have a chance to ask questions at the end of the sessions, get selfies, autographs and meet the legends.
  • Mini Altitude Comedy Festival – Members of the UK’s comedy scene will be performing a gig with a difference…it’s silent. Just like a silent disco, the audience can put on a pair of headphones, but only 30 headsets will be handed out on a first-come, first-served basis at each session.
  • Free lessons on beginner slope – Take a free ski or snowboard lesson on the Crystal Beginners’ Slope with one of the professional instructors.
  • Plus, there will be a Family Zone; Jobworx Rail Jam; Warren Smith ski technique lab; a Biathlon and Nordic laser shooting experience, boot fitting service; and an Alpine Bar.

There have been many London Shows at various locations since the early 70s, put on by several different organisations. This latest one is being hosted by Raccoon Events which in recent years organised a couple of ski shows at Birmingham NEC and held their first London show at ExCel last season.

As far as I am aware this London event is the only major UK ski and snowboard consumer show still running (if someone else knows better please let me know), but did you know there used to be a whole host of shows around the country?

As well as ski and snowboard events at Earls Court, Olympia, The Barbican, and Battersea, in London there were annual shows in Calshot Spit near Southampton, and in Southampton itself, Birmingham NEC, Manchester G-MEX (now Manchester Central), Glasgow, Milton Keynes, and Brighton.

There was also a show organised at the former Sheffield Ski Centre, the largest dry slope in the UK at the time, before it closed down after an arson attack. During the show, Eddie ‘the Eagle’ Edwards ski-jumped over a line of buses.

During their heyday, all these shows were incredibly popular and attracted massive crowds, but they have dwindled away in the last decade or so. Various reasons for this have been put forward, the main one being the increase in availability of online information and online retail outlets.

I’ll be taking a closer look at the possible reasons for the decline and will delve into the history of UK ski shows in a future blog.

But for now, to give you an idea of how popular these shows once were, here is a personal anecdote from when I was running and editing the Skier & Snowboarder magazine.

We had an exhibition stand at all the shows where we would distribute magazines, and other marketing information, and gather subscriptions.

One year we united with a clothing company to have several hundred rugby shirts and sweatshirts emblazoned with the Skier logo. As well as selling them through the magazine, we put them on sale at the shows.

At the Manchester ski show, I was amazed and delighted that the shirts sold like hot cakes and by the final day we had sold out. A man came up to the stand to buy one and was disappointed when I told him we had run out.

I had one of the rugby shirts on myself and the man asked: “What about that one you have on?”

As I had been wearing my rugby shirt for the duration of the show – about four days – I tried to deter him, but he was adamant. So, I stripped off, he paid me, and he walked off a happy man!

The next season at the same Manchester show we had even more shirts printed with the Skier logo – and by the final day we had sold out again!

Another man approached the stand on the final day and asked for a shirt and was miffed when I told him we had none left.

I related the story to him about how the previous year someone had bought the shirt I was wearing, and he said: “Great, can I have your one then?”

So, for the second year in a row, I sold the shirt off my back!


The London Snow Show, set for October 19th and 20th, 2024, at ExCel, is gearing up with over 4,000 ticket registrations within its first week of opening. Promising various attractions like the Snow Stage featuring Olympic Athletes, a Mini Altitude Comedy Festival, free beginner slope lessons, and more, the event is hosted by Raccoon Events, following their successful ski shows at Birmingham NEC and ExCel last season. While once popular UK ski and snowboard consumer shows have dwindled, possibly due to the rise of online information and retail, a future blog will explore this decline. Anecdotes from past ski shows highlight their former popularity, including instances of selling out merchandise, even shirts worn by the organizers themselves, underscoring the fervour these events once commanded.

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