Ski shows around the Midwest are a sure sign that the snowsports season is not far away.

The Windy City Ski and Snowboard Show, Chicagoland's newest consumer snow sports show, will be held Oct. 8-10, at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel and Convention Center.  The three-day show, now in its third season, features lots of prizes and lift ticket giveaways.

"The shows always get me pumped up for the ski season," Chicago area resident Steve Lightbourne enthused when he learned the first Heartland ski show takes place in less than three weeks.

"You can find a lot of information online, but I like being there looking at new equipment and talking with resort reps," said the longtime skier.

You will be able to meet manufacturer reps from the top ski and snowboard companies, and see all the new 2010-11 gear. It's a good time to get advice on new purchases you might be considering. Local Heartland ski areas and top destination resorts from many western states also will be on hand to help plan winter vacations and answer questions.  Pro skiers and snowboarders will be making appearances.

Daily admission is $12.  Kids 11 and under are free.  Present your admission ticket to the "lift ticket redemption area" for discount vouchers to Wisconsin's Devil's Head, Indianhead in Michigan's UP and Chicagoland's Raging Buffalo Snowboard Park.  You can do this each day you attend with the purchase of a full price admission ticket. 

Devil's Head provides a coupon, valid Sunday-Friday, for half-off a daily lift ticket.  Indianhead provides a voucher allowing you to ski free the second day with the purchase of a first full-day lift ticket, and it also offers 10-percent off on lodging.  Raging Buffalo provides a voucher that's good for an afternoon/evening lift ticket valid any day during the season except over Christmas and New Year holiday weeks.

The convention center offers free parking for show attendees, and there's also a free trolley to nearby shopping destinations; in case you have a few non-snow sports people in your group. 

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