Annual Nordic Swap returns for 30th year
If you go...
What: 30th annual Vail Nordic Swap.
Where: Vail Nordic Center, downstairs.
When: Saturday, Nov. 23 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with discount prices after 1 p.m.
To sell gear: Bring gear on Friday to the Nordic Center between 4 and 8 p.m.
VAIL — Sure, the snow might be thin on the valley floor, but cross-country skiing enthusiasts are already gearing up for the season with the annual Nordic Swap, held on Saturday at the Vail Nordic Center.
The swap is in its 30th year and serves as a venue for shoppers to pick up new gear, for beginners to get a low-cost setup, and for you to unload those classic skis that have been sitting in your garage. The event is sponsored by the Vail Nordic Ski Club and welcomes non-alpine gear, both new and used, from the community and shops. The selection varies from year to year, said organizer Stephen White, but you can basically plan on finding a slew of cross-country (skate and classic) gear, as well as some ski mountaineering, alpine touring and telemark equipment. Anything with a free heel — even snowshoes — is fair game.
The event is a good opportunity to get started in a sport that can be daunting equipment wise, not to mention tough on the pocket book.
“The whole idea is cheap gear,” said White. “Because the sport is gear intensive, that’s usually a barrier for people to start the sport. At the swap, you can get a setup for as cheap as $70 to $100.”
Many of the organizers of the swap have been in the sport for years, and they will also be on hand to answer questions and help people find the equipment they need.
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Dawes Wilson, founder of the Vail Nordic Club, said the swap is a good meeting place for enthusiasts and cross-country experts.
“I’ve been doing this for 30 years, for example, so there’s quite a bit of knowledge about all the different kinds of gears and what works for people. We’ll give honest recommendations. There’s a chance for great deals,” he said.
Those looking to sell gear should bring their items to the basement of the Vail Nordic Center on Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. There’s no cost to shop the swap or submit items for sale, but if your item sells, the Nordic Ski Club takes 10 percent of the sales.
Earnings go right back into the local Nordic community, Wilson said. Funds help the club hold ski races, including the spring Wilson Cup 20K, and contribute to scholarships for local athletes. This year, the Nordic Ski Club is pitching in to help send local skate ski specialist Sylvan Ellefson to the Winter Olympics.
Looking for new gear or can’t find what you need at the swap? The Vail Nordic Center will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with its entire inventory on sale. You can also buy season passes for a discounted $80 through Dec. 1 and punch cards for ski waxing.
“It works really well to have the swap downstairs, because people can go down there and mix and match new and used equipment,” said Nordic Center owner Mia Stockdale. “For example, we always say to buy good boots, so you could buy boots upstairs and then get skis downstairs. It’s a good start to the season.”
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