November 5, 2014 / Comments (0)

Portland SkiFever revs up for its 33rd preseason extravaganza

34 years ago, U.S. Freestyle Ski Team veteran Dan Schindler convinced the big Portland ski shops to put aside their differences and work together on a huge preseason ski festival to get people pumped up for good times in mountain snow.

Schindler and his business partner bought the name SkiFever from a Portland shop and got to work setting up booths and tables for a ski sale doubling as a preseason party.

There have been a lot of changes in the ski industry since then, but Schindler’s Portland SkiFever show is still going strong, and its function is pretty much the same as always: tons of great deals and free stuff and fun activities to get people stoked for winter.

The 33rd annual Portland SkiFever and Snowboard Show will run November 14-16 at the Portland Expo Center at 2060 North Marine Drive. There will be ping pong and foosball tournaments, two-for-one lift tickets, a Les Schwab Tire Chain Contest, a K2 New School Indoor Free Ride Show, and a Z100 Hot Dog Skier’s Lounge with libations from Jack Daniels, Laurelwood Brewing and a variety of Oregon wineries. There will also be thousands of new and used gear items at deeply discounted prices from independent local retailers such as the Mountain Shop, Hillcrest, Next Adventure, Mountainology and U.S. Outdoor.

About 26,000 people are expected to attend this year’s show, which will run from 1 pm to 10 pm on Friday, 10 am-10 pm on Saturday and 10 am-6 pm on Sunday.

Independent retailers are facing some tough competition from super-cheap Internet retailers these days, and at least four Oregon shops have gone under in recent years. But Schindler says this year’s retail booths are all sold out.

“The retailers that are left are pretty savvy, and they recognize that this show is a great deal for them,” he says. “But most of all it’s a great deal for the consumer. And it’s the social event that kicks off the season.”

Schindler cut his teeth on hard-core mogul and trick-skiing in the 1970s, long before snowboards and twin-tip rockers hit the big time. As the sport has evolved over the years he has recruited some of the biggest names in freeskiing to past SkiFever shows, including Oregon-raised Sammy Carlson and Olympic halfpipe champion David Wise. That tradition continues this year, as Mount Hood legend and Olympic slopestyle bronze medalist Nick Goepper headlines a Big Air Show and signs posters for fans.

Oregon stalwarts Skibowl, Timberline, Mt. Hood Meadows and Mount Bachelor will all be represented at this year’s show. There will also be plenty of out-of-state resorts in attendance, offering discount deals for winter trips to Jackson Hole, Whistler, Sun Valley, and many more.

There will also be a massive ski swap section for used gear from local shops and the general public. Anyone wishing to sell used gear and get back 80 percent of the sale price can get more swap information here.

Schindler makes the case that for all the growth of online sales of ski and snowboard gear, most consumers still prefer to see what they are buying – and in the case of boots, try them on. He also points out that online sales cannot match local retailers for service. For those reasons and others, he expects attendance at this year’s SkiFever show to be as healthy as ever.

“Our attendance has stayed strong because the show delivers.” Schindler says. “It’s a great deal for the consumer and it’s a lot of fun to go to.”

Admission to the Portland SkiFever and Snowboard Show costs $13 for adults and $3 for juniors 6-12. Children under 6 get in for free. For more information, see the SkiFever website.

Last modified: November 5, 2014

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