By David Schissler – I suspected it was coming but it still hurt. There won’t be any consumer ski shows this year. In the name of safety, and rightfully so, promoters have cancelled both the Boston and Denver shows scheduled for this fall. Here in New England and I’m sure in Denver too, the event is the kickoff, the launch, the first taste of the long-awaited fun and joy to come. The annual trek to the show is pure anticipation. There are so many new products to see and the swag! OMG. Cheap tickets, trip discounts, free posters, stickers, maps, logoed key rings, bottle openers, cozies, sunglasses, frisbees, thumb drives and more all stuffed into a bag like Halloween candy. In addition to the consumer side I have the tough duty of attending the cocktail parties hosted by Ski New Hampshire, Ski Vermont, Colorado Ski Country and Ski Utah among others. That’s where I would normally meet resort marketing and PR people face-to-face to get the inside story on improvements at dozens of resorts. Not this year.
For 30+ years the shows were produced by BEWI Productions, owned by Ski Hall of Famer and all-round good guy Bernie Weichsel. The new owner is the trade organization Snowsports Industries of America (SIA), and is being rebranded as the Snowbound Festivals. This is a tough start in what was to be their first season producing.
In a statement the SIA said, “Due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 virus, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the Snowbound Festivals in both Boston and Denver for 2020. At Snowbound Festival, the health and safety of our attendees, exhibitors, guests, friends and staff is always our number one priority. In speaking with local and state authorities on the latest public health guidelines, we feel that cancelling the events is the best and safest decision for this season.”
Like many promoters and organizations these days the SIA has a plan to go virtual. Their statement goes on to say “While we share this update with a very heavy heart, we also have some good news for you. We are working on some new ways to digitally connect with our consumers this year so they can still score some great deals, get a sneak-peak into new products, and experience some of the amazing winter content we had planned for them – all from the comfort and safety of their homes. There will be a variety of opportunities for you to be involved and engage with our audiences this fall, so please stay tuned for some big announcements about our online plans in the very near future.
We know that the news of the Snowbound Festivals being cancelled this year is very disheartening, but we remain as excited as ever to come together as an online community to officially welcome winter and enjoy all of the incredible content, guests, products, experiences and fun that are the cornerstones of these events.”