Oxygen & Octane Expo welcomes return of winter
Alaska’s premier winter sports and recreation show, the Oxygen & Octane Expo, will make a fifth appearance Oct. 5-7 at the Dena’ina Center in downtown Anchorage. The “Big O” has become a fixture in the outdoor expo arena, and plans are in store to make 2012 the biggest and best event to date.
Having filled the longtime need for a winter sports show, Big O has drawn large numbers of snowsports enthusiasts since its inaugural year, with some 14,000 attendees visiting more than 100 vendor booths. Each year, attendance and vendor participation has grown, and the reasons couldn’t be more obvious. At the top of the list, it’s all about fun and savings.
Oxygen & Octane boasts the largest showroom of all things related to the enjoyment of Alaska’s longest (and, some would argue, most fun) season. The expo incorporates oxygen-related winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding and dog sledding, with octane-induced hobbies such as snowmachining and racing. For three days in October the Dena’ina Center is packed with sports equipment dealers, club representatives, lodge owners and service providers who are all offering some of the best deals on skis, active outerwear, helmets and goggles, lodging and even season passes to ski areas.
“Alyeska Resort, Hilltop and Arctic Valley, as well as a selection of heli-skiing operators, will all have early-bird deals on season passes and ski/snowboard trip packages,” said John Woodbury, expo founder. “Skiing was epic last winter, and the ski areas and heli-guides were having record seasons. You know you are going to ski or board this season, so why not take advantage of the Big O show deals? Your powder smile may just grow a little bit wider knowing you are skiing on the cheap.”
Similarly, all the major snowmachine manufacturers are represented with sales representatives standing by to finalize orders for new machines right there in the expo. PFD checks hit bank accounts just one day before the expo opens, and snowmachine staff is ready to offer great deals for top-of-the-line machines. Some dealers have been known to sell 10 or more sleds in a single day because there’s truly no better place or time to buy. Also standing by are lending institutions who are poised to offer on-site financing so buyers can truly one-stop shop at the Big O.
“All the dealers in the Expo offer up some of the best deals all season,” said Woodbury. “Combine the ease of on-site financing with both the local and national promotions, and you quickly run out of excuses not to buy a new sled this year.
“And hey, if the upcoming winter is going to be anything like last winter, you really, really do not want to be that rider digging out the old short-track Rupp after every powder turn,” he said. “All four snowmachine manufacturers are offering solid early season promos designed to make it as easy and affordable as possible to upgrade your sled this season.”
For those who simply want something fun to do with the family on the weekend, Big O should not be left out of the plans. The expo has always been a free, public event. There’s no cover charge to browse all the winter sports-related displays. Watching the daily stage performances, listening to live music and participating in numerous drawings is also free. Lucky guests will also walk away with free ski passes, winter getaways to lodges and resorts, new snowboards or skis and tons of other prizes. There are also snowmachine and gear raffles at the Expo that benefit clubs and charities.
“We’ve given away tens of thousands of dollars worth of door prizes at the Big O shows, and this year we already have a bumper crop of goodies both vendors and expo-goers will win,” said Woodbury. “It’s ridiculously easy to win. Some contests are based on the whim of the expo DJ, some will be focused on our web and Facebook pages, and some will be enter-to-win offers or doled out during our live radio remotes. The best way to win is to be at the expo, visit the vendor booths and check out their wares – and their contests.”
Multiple clubs and associations raffle snowmachines. The funds raised support club activities, and a couple of lucky expo-goers could be the winners. Visit the Alaska State Snowmobile Association and Alaska Motor Mushers Club booths to see what make and model they’re offering this year.
Kids will love the annual climbing wall, and typically Anchorage Parks and Recreation makes an appearance with games and activities. The sled dog puppies are always a huge hit, and kids can’t seem to get enough of “riding” on the cool, new ATVs, snowmachines and side-by-sides. They love to pretend while mom and dad go over the machine’s specs and sale price.
For a little down time, Oxygen & Octane includes a beer garden, perfectly situated in front of the stage. And for 2012 a new winter sports film festival will be initiated.
“The Big O Film Show focuses on locally filmed or locally produced video shorts, and this year we up the ante with cash awards as well as other prizes,” Woodbury said. “ We already have a few top-notch entries, so I expect the judges will have some tough decisions ahead of them. We are still accepting entries, and the folks at JGS Concepts will be running the film fest this year, while the judges and Adventure Media staff will vet the entries and make selections for the show. The public is also encouraged to vote for the Viewer’s Choice award, and expect some surprise guests at the film show. Audience members and voters will also have a chance to win some fun prizes as well.”
Details on how to submit a video short can be found at www.oxygenandoctane.com, www.coast-magazine.com or www.RideAlaska.com.
For anyone who loves winter sports, and especially for those looking for good deals on equipment and clothing, Oxygen & Octane’s doors will open at 4 p.m ., Friday, October 5, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. October 6 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on October 7. Get there early, stay for entertainment and prizes, and prepare to be impressed by how many ways there are to enjoy winter in Alaska. A vendor will be there to represent your winter interests.