THE first snowfall of the year this week was a reminder that the ski season will soon be here. Another sign of the approaching winter is Winnipeg's annual Mid Canada Ski and Snowboard Show and Swap.
This year's show runs next Friday and Saturday at the Winnipeg Convention Centre.
Coinciding with the Winnipeg ski show, look for the annual ski special next Saturday in the Travel section of the Winnipeg Free Press. The section will offer readers a complete look at the upcoming ski season, including a cover feature by Free Press Editor Nicholas Hirst on mountain skiing and snowboarding in Western Canada; information and ratings on the latest new ski equipment; stories by ski writers on the scene in Quebec, Vermont, Colorado, New Mexico and Europe. There will also be a detailed look at major downhill ski facilities in Manitoba.
More than 3,200 square metres of new and used skiing and snowboarding equipment, accessories, and clothing will be on display and for sale at the ski show, said show organizer Hank Hartloper of Runner Productions Ltd.
"Put this together with representatives of ski hills and resorts, showcasing their ski and snowboard facilities and vacations and you have an event for the active outdoor winter sport enthusiast," Hartloper said.
Now in its 11th year, this show will spend its first two days in Winnipeg and conclude with a third day in Brandon next Sunday. The show is sponsored by International Sun & Ski Travel of Winnipeg and the Manitoba Alpine & Cross-Country Ski Association. The show presenter is the Free Press.
One of the most popular draws is the sales area where the public can register their used skis, snowboards, clothing and accessories in advance with the ski associations, stating their price for each item. All products are screened for safety --the rule of thumb is nothing older than five years or in damaged condition.
Register sales items at the Manitoba Alpine Ski Association, 206 - 200 Main St., 925-5715.
A separate swap or sales area for new and used snowboards, displayed and managed by Royal Sports/King Sports of Winnipeg.
Besides used equipment, the sales area offers new product for sale from participating shops at their display booths.
Other attractions include a chance to meet representatives and book winter holidays at ski hills and resorts in Manitoba, Alberta, British Columbia, Minnesota and North Dakota.
A ski auction, hosted by the Manitoba Alpine Ski Division, gives visitors a chance to buy a variety of products and ski packages, donated by participating ski and snowboard shops, ski hills and resorts.
There will also be chances to win prizes, including a five-day-and-night ski holiday for two from Winnipeg aboard Via Rail's "snow train" to Ski Marmot Basin in Jasper, including accommodations, ski lifts and rentals, valued at $3,000.
The Winnipeg show also features its first Powder Party with live music, entertainment and contests on Friday, from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
The Winnipeg show takes place in Hall A, on the third floor of the convention centre. Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and youths (aged 13-17), and $3 for children 6-12 years accompanied by an adult. Children under 6 are free. A family ticket for four is $18.
The Brandon show is at the Keystone Centre Nov. 9 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Hall 23 of the UCT Pavilion at the Keystone Centre. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and youths (ages 13 - 17). Children under 13 accompanied by an adult get in for free.
For more information, contact Runner Productions Ltd. at 925-1620.