Snowbody does it better

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Board sports account for many of the freshest activities around. London plays host to a three- day extravaganza of radical board culture, including the chance to view the capital's first winter snowstorm

Doing anything on Friday? London's spoilt for choice in the entertainment department, but Friday's Board-X Festival '97, at Battersea Park, has set tongues wagging for the past few weeks. Board-X organise the biggest and best skateboarding and snowboarding events in the UK, including the now infamous Board-X '96 (the UK's first public snowboarding exhibition) and The British Snowboard Championships '97 in Les Arcs, France.

Everyone is asking the same questions - "Are they really going to build a skateboard street course complete with vert-ramp and attract skate crews like Blueprint, Dope, Panic, Vans and Brooklyn?" "Are they really going to bring over the best UK, US and European snowboarders, including British Men's Champion Chris Moran?" "Are they really going to build a 40-metre long, real snow quarter-pipe?" The answer seems to be Yes.

The action starts on Friday and runs for three days. Endorsed by the International Snowboarding Federation, Board-X '97 will take up three acres, and will include an exhibition hall.

This event is the only national public snowboarding exhibition in the UK, so board freaks will be arriving from all over Britain for this weekender. Temperatures are currently perfect for snowboarders but Board-X haven't left any detail to chance. We'll have a real snow slope, courtesy of a Danish snow-making machine.

If you've just snapped out of a five-year coma, you won't have much idea what snowboarding is. Deriving from surfing, it has close links with other boards sports like skateboarding and wakeboarding. Basically you surf over snow on an elongated fibreglass skateboard minus the wheels) - it offers converts the wildest, legally available, adrenaline rush.

It is also an astounding spectator sport. More than 15 top pros will be performing all manner of death-defying manoeuvres and mid-air acrobatics. It's one of the world's fastest growing sports and is the coolest winter pastime.

Snowboard fashion has infiltrated urban winter clothing and its association with youth culture has attracted sponsors like Playstation, Bud Ice, Evian and Kiss 100 to the weekend's events. It's a sport that everyone wants to be associated with - even the International Olympic Committee has recently endorsed snowboarding as an event for the forthcoming Winter Olympics.

If you're a novice, Board-X '97 is the perfect opportunity to learn more about snowboarding and skateboarding, with top manufacturers and retailers exhibiting their wares over the course of the weekend.

Too often, adrenaline sports seem too distant, too dangerous or just too expensive, so check out the best boarders and skaters and see if you'd really like to take the plunge.

There will be a host of stalls and distractions around the park to help you part with your hard-earned cash. In addition to the many bars and food stalls, there will also be live music, DJs and other promotions. Watch the pros live outside on the quarter-pipe or check out the latest "White Line" videos, visit the Snowboard Clinic or Playstation Games Room in the main hall - it's all good.

Board-X '97 starts on Friday 14 Nov noon-10pm; Saturday 15 Nov from 10am-10pm Sunday 16 Nov 10am-7pm. Daily tickets for the show will be pounds 7 on the gate and pounds 5 in advance. Entry for the skate competition on Friday after 6pm will be pounds 4. To pre-book tickets, phone the credit- card hotline on 0171-490 4707. For further information, call Board-X on 0171-490 3990

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