I’m not known for my amazing sense of direction so when I went along to the ISPO Outdoor Adventure Sports Show in Munich, which was 16 footballs fields in size, I KNEW I was going to get lost. However, in terms of places to be lost in, this was a good one. Hundreds of feet of shoes, foothills of ski equipment and enough gadgets to get a SkyNet robot REALLY excited.
Salomon had invited me along as one of the Salomon Insiders, a group of users who signed up on the website to answer surveys which gave feedback and direction to the range of Salomon kit. Three of us were picked, Jean-Francois from France, Frank from Germany ... and me!
Not just entry to the show was included; I also got a sneak peek at the Salomon range and at their new brand positioning – to turn your training into play and use the outdoors as your playground. I could thoroughly relate to this. Why train on a pavement when you could play in the mountains? I was also a bit over-excited to get a peek at the new Salomon Speedcross 4 (although I’m not ready to retire my much-loved and trusty (if well-worn) 7 pairs of Speedcross 3 just yet).
Salomon are also putting some serious work into their road shoes and have launched some real contenders out into the road shoe market. Exciting news for everyone who enjoys their Speedcross 3 as you’re now able to get a road version.
I thoroughly enjoyed the ISPO show and it was quite an experience. Not being a skier, I had no idea of the sheer amount of kit that appears to be required to take part. Mountains of it in a rainbow of colours and sizes and for different types of skiing and different types of snow. There were stands full of headtorches, the brightness of which you could adjust with a touch on your phone or a tap on the front. Shoes with every conceivable tread. Boots with attached spikes and crampons. Clothes in every style and colour. If you wanted a pink padded coat for your dog, you could even get one of those. For the outdoors, stylish pooch, obviously.
And THEN there were avalanche airbag backpacks. I didn’t even know these things existed. You wear a pack on your back, pull a string and a massive orange cushion blasts out of your bag helping you to be found and to survive an avalanche. Not the sort of thing you accidentally want to detonate on the bus. Unless you enjoy firing pensioners through bus windows …
Even Kilian Journet was there, although – gutting! – I missed him. He is an absolute mountain & ultra running legend. Although, I’m not sure I would have done myself any favours with my star-struck look and stupid questions “So you run a bit...?” And after a few of the free beers on the Salomon stand may even have branched out to ask “So ... headphones Vs no headphones? Walking in long races vs running all the way? Forefront running vs heelstrike ...?” And it would all have gone downhill from there.
I loved seeing all the kit (I’m a runner – I always want more kit!), all the different shows and getting a different view of outdoor sports that I wouldn’t normally see in the UK. There was so much to ISPO - a fashion show, an exhibition by children doing flips on skis and snowboards on the snow outside (I can’t even stand up on skis!), a festivals-worth of tents set up, acres of gym equipment, hundreds of gadgets, yoga classes going on ... there was a bit of everything.
However, I did feel a bit patronised by the entry turnstiles. After lugging my bags from the taxi, I’d juggled these around and finally managed to scan my card to let me through the turnstile. However, if you’re too slow – as I was - it turns automatically which shoots you out the other side with a patronising pat on the bum from one of its metal arms.
I had an amazing day despite being a little bit sulky that my coach refused to accept ‘sprinting with luggage through airport as a training session even though I told him I had tried really hard and would definitely have got a Strava segment if I’d remembered to switch my Garmin on.
However, this was more than made up for when Frank and Jean-Francois and I were taken for a run by Philippe of Salomon in the old Munich airfield not far from the exhibition. There was ice on the ground, mountains in the distance and a lovely sunrise, but the paths were very flat. The boys therefore decided that we couldn’t just run around on these so spotting a ski slope in the distance decided we should all run UP it. Then back down again … through the brambles.
Who wanted a flat run anyway? Everyone knows adventures make your breakfast taste better.
Thanks for the invitation Salomon. I loved it.