ISPO 2011

ISPO 2011- It’s not every day you meet Glen Plake (mohawk skier guy)

But then again, ISPO 2011 isn’t exactly your every day trade show. What’s ISPO you ask? Well, it’s the world’s largest sporting goods trade fair, and it’s literally a gear freak’s wet dream. The most extensive ISPO is held in Munich every year, and has grown to a size no less than 12 (Yes 12) massive exhibition halls full of every conceivable brand of sporting goods ranging from winter to summer sports that you can imagine.

The fact that one hall alone was dedicated to Scandinavian outdoor companies, another 3 to skiing, that Moon Boots were having  a revival, and ABS airbags even had a large stand…well, see below, you get the picture.

Hayley Melidonis having dinner with Kenton Cool and the Mountain Hardware, Ice- breaker, Schoffel crowd

Yours truly at the entrance to ISPO in Munich on a sunny winters day

As the CEO of Total Heliski, although we are mad busy during the winter season, I figured it would be great to check out ISPO to take a look at the new products and trends, and network more with contacts from the world’s leading ski and board companies to discuss some partnerships for our members.

However, I wasn’t expecting the sheer excitement, and energy, nor the spontaneous crossing of my path with some of the world’s greatest ski icons.

Norwegian brand Norrona, increasing in popularity had a real ice block display. Impressive!

Not wanting to drop names, but how often do you get to be photographed with skier legend Glenn Plake,  (Mohawk in action), have a drink with his eclectic wife and CEO of  Julbo a major eyewear company?

Tent-esque backpacks from Columbia and bright colours everywhere.

Or when do you get to discuss new material technologies in depth with Tim Boyle (son of founder of Columbia) Sportswear, USA’s

leading sporting goods brand), propose cool marketing ideas to EU’s marketing director for North Face, discuss Chemmy Alcott’s broken leg recovery with Atomic, her sponsor, and then have dinner with 8 times Everest mountaineering veteran and Total Heliski Legend Kenton Cool?

The place was heaving, and thankfully, the words ‘global recession’ or gfc’ seemed far away from the vibe of the place, almost as far as the fresh snow this winter in Europe! (Heli skiing’s still gonna give  guaranteed fresh tracks guys though don’t forget).

But above all, there was one over-arching observation that I took away from ISPO. That this is an enormously vast and high quality industry, that is focussing more and more towards servicing the ‘freeski’ market. It’s doing this, since there are a really high number of people out there, who just want to adventure, explore and feel alive from experiences they can find from engaging closely with nature, and doing their favourite outdoor sports, people like my clients who just want to get above and beyond the resorts.

Moon Boots are seeing a revival. I recall my mother (and maybe me too) wearing these in the 80's.


Yes, ISPO 2011, I felt alive, and I felt at home. As Arnie says ‘I will be back’ (next year), and I am inspired to grow Total Heliski.  Here are a few picture highlights!