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The Election Is The SECOND Craziest Thing Happening Today

It may be an even dirtier fight than the election.

It's the Aldi snow sale, which is in its 12th year.

Yes,  it's that day of the year when strangers become enemies in the name of purchasing warm winter gear, diving through piles of gloves and jackets and coats which they may or may not wear to the snow -- or even wear at all -- but which they simply MUST have because they're CHEAP, CHEAP, CHEAP!

But this year, two other retailers are taking on Aldi in the narrow window ahead of the short Aussie ski season. And like the Morrison government, the incumbent may struggle to maintain its hold on power in Australia.

Image: Aldi.com.au

Outdoors gear retailer Anaconda has muscled in on the action this year. And there's a third player which could potentially blow the two of them away, with both the quality of its gear and its customer service.

We speak of the French sporting goods retailer Decathlon, which currently has just four stores in Australia (two in Sydney, two in Melbourne), but which is the largest sporting goods retailer in the world  and has over 1500 stores.

"You don’t go to a sports store to buy pasta, so why go to a supermarket to buy ski gear?" a Decathlon spokesperson told 10 daily.

It's a fair question.

Decathlon has its own specialised ski and snowboard brand, Wed’ze, whose design headquarters is in the ski mecca of Chamonix in the French Alps. This is a dedicated brand, made by snow lovers for snow lovers.

Image: Decathlon.com.au

But its dedicated line of snow gear is not Decathlon's only point of difference. Unlike Aldi, Decathlon is also offering its snow gear online. Its in-store lay-out will also be different, with items will be spaced out over a whole aisle, rather than in bins between aisles, Aldi-style.

Aldi no doubt has an eye on the opposition, but appears unworried for now, saying this year's collection is its "biggest and best yet, with high quality, affordable snow gear that has got the whole family covered".

Aldi has never pretended to offer a full top-to-toe kit for experienced skiers and boarders. Its sale has always targeted the less-experienced end of the skier and boarder market.

Last year, there were almost 2.5 million skier days at Australian ski resorts. (That's the number of days on which a skier or snowboarder bought a lift ticket.)

The majority of those visitors were first-time or irregular snow-goers, rather than experienced sliders. While Decathlon is the pick of the bunch for more experienced snowgoers, all three retailers in this lucrative niche market are unashamedly targeting those who are probably heading to the snow for the first time.

Image: Anacondastores.com

SO WHAT ARE THEY OFFERING?

ALDI

Around 150 different items of snow clothing plus cold weather accessories.

We love the look of their kids' thermo boots for $20. They contain a polar fleece lining and and thinsulate layers with a waterproof membrane yet they look like sneakers.

ANACONDA

The Aussie-owned outdoors retailer bills itself as a one-stop shop for outdoor and adventure equipment, and has around 100 snow items on sale right now.

It's called it the  "MASSIVE Snowgear Sale” --  and the prices are comparably low.

Anaconda claims snow-goers can get kitted out from head to toe  (including jacket, pants, gloves, beanie, goggles, fleece neckband and snow boots)  for under $210.

However, the discounted prices are only available to members of Anaconda’s Adventure Club.

DECATHLON

Decathlon's range this year has over 150 items, including pants, jackets, gloves, helmets, goggles, socks -- and even skis and boots.

Their adult jackets starting at $39.99 appear good value.

There are also adult ski pants for $49,  kids ski pants for $29 and men’s ski boots for $150.

Australia's snow gear retail industry is estimated to have annual turnover of more than $400 million.

Let the shopping frenzy begin.

Contact the author asharwood@networkten.com.au