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Snow Show 

by Michael Bowen

Take a large measure of Inland Northwest winter sports, sprinkle in some entrepreneurial spirit, mix well, and you've created a delicious marketing event suitable for serving thousands of local skiing and snowboarding fanatics.

Your chefs for this meal, the members of the Inland Northwest Ski Association, have created Snow Show, which debuts this Sunday at the Spokane Convention Center. This is no mere ski swap focused on the trading of used gear. Instead, Snow Show attendees will peruse new inventory in camping, snowboarding, skiing, cross-country, even snowshoeing. You can purchase ski apparel and camping equipment and car racks to haul it all around in.

For a great weekend overall, consider attending the Chiefs' game against the Kootenay Ice at the Spokane Arena on Saturday, Nov. 16, at 7 pm, or either showing of Warren Miller's Storm on Nov. 17 at 5 and 8 pm at the Opera House. Ticketholders from either event will be allowed into the Snow Show at no charge.

On Sunday from 1-9 pm, winter sports enthusiasts can do one-stop shopping: At Snow Show, you can purchase and get your photo taken for your season pass at all five area resorts (INSA members 49 Degrees North, Lookout Pass, Mount Spokane, Schweitzer and Silver Mountain), buy skis and gather up some winter apparel. According to George Green, director of Snow Show and circulation and promotions manager for The Inlander, "This is the only place around to come in and literally walk out with everything you need for the entire ski season -- and maybe pick up a few tips at the same time."

That explains Snow Show's educational component: a series of seminars, headlined by Olympic silver medalist Shannon Bahrke, who will take questions at 1:45 pm, 4 pm and 5:30 pm. At 2:30 pm, Mountain Gear will conduct a seminar on what to do in case of an avalanche, taught by people personally acquainted with snow tsunamis. At 3:30 pm, a backcountry camping seminar will examine methods of packing, different types of sleeping bags, outdoor stoves and the like. Mountain safety and snowboarding presentations follow at 4:30 and 6 pm, followed by an ice climbing seminar at 7 pm focusing on spiked shoes, ice axes and other special gear for ascending those overgrown ice cubes. In addition, hotels and resorts will be selling ski packages throughout the day, so if you're planning a trip to Bend, Ore., or Vancouver, B.C., or Mazama, Wash., you'll be able to get a good deal.

Snow Show also differs from your neighborhood ski swap by providing entertainment. Even if you're not interested in purchasing any equipment, for $5 you can take in the amazing Dave Valenti Extreme Air shows at 3 pm, 5 pm, 6:30 pm and 7:30 pm. In a 25-minute freestyle skiing exhibition, Valenti and four other aerialists will take off from a 30-foot ramp and do flips, twists, off-axis spins and something called "heli-mute grabs" -- then land on an artificial ski slope. Valenti has even landed a double-twisting, double-back somersault onto a sloping air bag. (We're told that his mother is especially proud.)

You'll buy, you'll gape, you'll actually learn a few things. In the fight against frostbite, moguls and obnoxious people in ski lift lines, Snow Show 2002 is your friend.

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