Ski Dazzle, the big bargain gear and snow sports show, comes to Los Angeles in early December in a big way. It covers a whopping 160,000 square feet, the equivalent of more than three football fields, with scores of booths touting resorts and other exhibitors, plus $6 million worth of clothing, skis, snowboards, boots and other equipment for sale.
It can be a head-spinning experience for even the most ardent skiers and snowboarders. Judy Gray, who’s been co-directing the show for more than 40 years, offers tips for how to strategize to get the most out of your visit.
1. Make a gear-buying plan. “Bring a wish list of the gear you might need or want to give as presents for the holidays,” says Gray, adding that gear and equipment sales cover roughly half of the main show floor. You can find 30% to 70% discounts on prices for unused gear that’s likely last year’s models and fashions.
2. Spend time on your boots. Boot fitters will be on hand to help with the selection of what Gray described as the most important piece of ski or snowboard equipment a winter sports athlete will buy. “Boots can be tricky,” she says. “If they don’t fit or they hurt, you’re not going to have a good time on the snow. With all the equipment here, they should be able to find the right boots for you, unless you are Sasquatch.”
3. Look for trip and ticket deals. If you’re interested in learning about or getting a ski trip deal, stop by one of the 23 resorts in the West that will be on hand, representing such destinations as Aspen, Jackson Hole, Steamboat, Squaw Valley and Taos. Or check out the display for the IkonPass, which offers one pass that’s good at 41 destinations, including five in California. Also, Southern California areas such as Mt. Baldy, Bear Mountain Resort and Mountain High will be offering deals, Gray says.
4. Discover the esprit de ski. The show’s Fireside Chat series will feature artist James Niehues, who has painted more than 300 ski resort maps over his long career, at 2 and 5 p.m. on Dec. 7. He will also be on hand Dec. 7 at the Ski Utah booth to sign copies of his new “Man Behind the Map” coffee-table book.
5. Take the pitch. Check out Resort Wars, where ski area experts “battle” to woo show-goers to visit their properties. Audience members who ask questions will be entered into a drawing to win gear and lift tickets. The sideshow appears at select times all three days.
6. Lean into learning. Bear Mountain Resort is hosting something called Burton Riglet Park, where children can try out snowboard equipment and be pulled (slowly) over small terrain features. Likewise, novice skiers can get a free lesson sponsored by Snow Summit in Big Bear Lake on a large indoor ramp. And for kids of all ages, the show has a rock climbing wall and obstacle fitness course.
7. Don’t leave without a freebie. Ticket holders should take the special offer they receive at the entrance and redeem it at the rear of the building for free lift tickets at a number of SoCal resorts.
When: 3 to 11 p.m. Dec. 6, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Dec. 7, noon to 6 p.m. Dec. 8
Tickets: $22 and up; children 12 and younger are free