Gear up for winter

When it comes to ski and snowboard equipment and apparel, an event this weekend will provide the best bang for you buck.

This Friday through Sunday, Nov. 3 through 5, is the 45th Annual Ski and Snowboard Expo, formerly known as the Great New York State Snow and Travel Expo. The event is held every year at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in downtown Albany.

This year, there will be more than 150 exhibitor booths from retailers, ski resorts and mountains from all over the USA and Canada.

The cutting edge and high tech, along with equipment of ski seasons past and those not yet begun, skis, snowboard, gloves, boots and apparel will span the entirety of the convention center.

We have all the major retailers. If you want it, come to the show. You won't have to travel, it's one-stop shopping, said Cate Masterson, director of this year's expo.

The expo is the longest running consumer expo in the nation, said Masterson. And the deals this year can't be missed, she said.

Aside from as much as half off for equipment from past seasons, the expo offers complete packages on 2006 equipment from the best manufacturers in the industry.

From Burton Snowboard to Line and Rossignol skis, the complete deals offer savings other retailers simply can't offer, she said.

While the goods might keep exhibitors and visitors coming, a little star power is being added to this year's expo. 2002 Winter Olympic snowboarding gold medallist Ross Powers will be at the show.

The Vermont native won the gold in the Salt Lake City games' half-pipe event. He will be on hand to sign autographs. As far as getting the digs on new equipment and what someone getting into the sport may or may not need, the expo is the way to go, said Powers.

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